Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Cookie Experiment

So, to make up for my silly “Hunger Games” blog post I am posting this video of Ben that I’ve been meaning to post for two months.  It is a very long video and I had to post it in 2 parts.  I didn’t cut it down because it’s kind of an experience but I definitely won’t be offended if people don’t watch it in its entirety.

Basically, I don’t remember why, but I was thinking about the experiments that sociologists and psychologists have done about delayed reward with kids.  President Uchtdorf, a leader in the LDS church, gave a talk mentioning it, so I looked into it.  Basically, they put small kids (most of the studies had kids between 4 and 5) in a room with some treat (a cookie, marshmallows) and told them not to eat it until they came back.  If the kids did not eat it, they were given twice as much of the treat.  They followed the kids in the study and found that the children who had waited tended to be more successful, better test scores, etc. . . Anyway, it sparked my curiosity.  Does Ben understand delayed reward well enough to resist a treat right in front of him?  I decided to put it to the test.

I put Ben at the kitchen table with a cookie and told him that if he didn’t eat it until I was done putting Penny to bed that he would get two cookies.  My little experiment differed from the studies in a couple of important ways, but I wasn’t looking to prove anything other than Ben’s understanding of a principle so I wasn’t too meticulous about following experimental protocol.  First, Ben was kind of stuck in his seat with the cookie right in front of him.  It is my understanding that the kids in the study could roam the room.  Also, I am his mom and he probably trusts me more than he would trust a stranger.  I was in ear shot of him as well and responded to him a couple of times when he called for me.  I even came back into the kitchen for a bit.  So for those of you scientists out there, I know that my little case study doesn’t prove anything in relationship to the other studies.

Still, it did make for a pretty cute video.  I set up our camera to capture the whole thing.  It’s a hoot watching him try to resist a delicious cookie for 15 whole minutes.

The first 9 minutes of my experiment with Ben
The second half of Ben’s cookie experiment

So there you have it, Ben didn’t eat the cookie and got the two cookies.  Way to go little dude!


Lauren said...

This is so funny. Ben shaking his head 'no' is my favorite part. There is no way Luke would wait like that.

Geri said...

Ben did better than I can do. What a smart precious little guy!

court said...

Oh my gosh! Sometimes I bake cookies for myself and I can't even wait until they cool off a little to eat them. And he was so pleasant the whole time--no whining or anything! I love your captions and I love when he keeps telling himself not to eat the cookie. Classic!