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PECOS-9 comments on A New Interpretation of the Marshmallow Test - Less Wrong

73 Post author: elharo 05 July 2013 12:22PM

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Comment author: PECOS-9 04 July 2013 05:14:51PM 2 points [-]

Agreed, but I think the reason this experiment is interesting is that it previously didn't occur to people (or at least to me) that trustingness is a possible alternative explanation of the classic marshmallow experiment, rather than self control. It was a blind spot.

Comment author: framsey 04 July 2013 05:23:39PM 3 points [-]

It didn't occur to me either, but ironically it was the first thing my wife suggested when I told her about the marshmallow experiment yesterday (it came up in the context of that professor's comments about fat people, self control, and PhD programs recently). This post's timing was thus quite serendipitous.

It probably occurred to her because she is a doctor who works with primarily poor patients, many of whom are black and hispanic, and so is used to the associated mistrust when crossing cultural and socio-economic lines.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 05 July 2013 08:51:37AM *  0 points [-]

I'm not so trusting, and it occurred to me.

EDIT: The key is to focus on what the experimental subjects observe, not the rules the experimenters intend to follow. The kid is promised another marshmallow, he doesn't know that he is going to get one, and he doesn't know that the one he has now won't be taken away. With priors associated with abuse, the kid should eat the marshmallow as soon as possible.