- 1:32 pm - Tue, Oct 23, 2012
- 5 notes
A re-examination of the famous “marshmallow test,” which tests children’s willpower and patience, may have startling implications for public policy:
Consider the mindset of a 4-year-old living in a crowded shelter, surrounded by older children with little adult supervision. For a child accustomed to stolen possessions and broken promises, the only guaranteed treats are the ones you have already swallowed. At the other extreme, consider the mindset of an only-child in a stable home whose parents reliably promise and deliver small motivational treats for good behavior. From this child’s perspective, the rare injustice of a stolen object or broken promise may be so startlingly unfamiliar that it prompts an outburst of tears.
What do you think? When conservatives and libertarians disavow the “welfare state,” dependency on government entitlements, or the proverbial 47%, are they taking into account this kind of rational short-term psychological conditioning among the desperate and needy? Or are they hamstrung by the limits of their own experience?
Via Eve (fine, whatever, and Sullivan too, we guess).
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