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elharo 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: elharo 04 July 2013 08:11:49PM 6 points [-]

I am not claiming that breastfeeding does increase both trust and academic performance. I am simply pointing out that it is not hard to imagine a characteristic that improves both trust and life outcome, without trust improving life outcome or life outcome improving trust. I could equally well have substituted family size, parental education, the presence of pets in the home, or any other characteristic for breast feeding. My apologies if that wasn't clear.

Until now the claim has been that the marshmallow experiment and its followup show higher self-control leads to preferable life outcomes. This study casts a lot of doubt on the causality of those conclusions. What's significant here is that it shows that "self-control" is itself a dependent variable of other causes. Once that's shown, what looked like causation is no longer so obviously causal.

Comment author: [deleted] 04 July 2013 09:05:39PM 2 points [-]

Thanks for clarifying, that removes my worry.