Learning! Roundup: Debunking the Marshmallow Test, Rejection and School Shootings, Time Pressure Reduces Productivity, and More!

Photo by Ruffa Jane Reyes.

The Marshmallow Test Debunked

It turns out that the famous marshmallow test - a test of delayed gratification where kids are given one marshmallow and told that if they wait 15 minutes to eat it, they will get a second one, but if they eat it, they won't get anymore - isn't really testing self-control. It's testing for wealth.

School Shootings Aren't All About Rejection

After most school shootings (it's still weird to me to talk about school shootings as a thing so regularly occurring that you can use a word like 'most' in association with them, by the way), people look at the peer rejection and/or isolation of the shooter to explain why they may have done what they did. The problem with this is that about 25% of kids experience peer rejection across the globe, and yet less than that number pick up a gun, and this mostly just happens in the United States. So there are other factors at play.

Time Pressure and Productivity

You might think that having an appointment in an hour would help you focus in and make the most of the time you do have to get work done, but according to recent research, free time seems shorter when there is an appointment on the other end of it. Even when we could earn more money by doing a little more work, we don't perceive ourselves as having the time that we objectively have.

Real Apologies

It's always good to remember the steps in a real apology. There are three: acknowledge that you hurt someone, say you are sorry, tell them how you will make it right/not do it again. Excusing your behaviour is not part of the steps.

Can You Shape Your Children?

Should parents be trying to shape their children into a particular kind of adult or to keep them safe and alive and see what happens? According to one scientist, it's the latter.

Decoy Sanitation

The 'decoy effect' in psychology refers to the fact that a pre-existing option will seem more desirable when compared with a decoy option that is less-convenient or favourable. This was recently tested with employees in food services, and they did find that they could increase use of hand sanitizer simply by putting a second, harder-to-use hand sanitizer option next to the one that already existed.


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