The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control

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Renowned psychologist Walter Mischel, designer of the famous Marshmallow Test, explains what self-control is and how to master it.

A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behavior later in life?

The world's leading expert on self-control, Walter Mischel has proven that the ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life, predicting higher SAT scores, better social and cognitive functioning, a healthier lifestyle and a greater sense of self-worth. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught?

In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life--from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way you think about who we are and what we can be.



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About the author

Walter Mischel holds the Robert Johnston Niven chair as professor of humane letters in psychology at Columbia University. He is the author of more than two hundred scientific papers as well as the coauthor of Introduction to Personality, now in its eighth edition. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of APA and the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. He lives in New York.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Little, Brown Spark
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Published on
Sep 23, 2014
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780316230858
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Developmental / Child
Science / Cognitive Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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After many "out-of-print" years, this volume has been reissued in response to an increasing demand for copies. This reflects that the fundamental questions that motivated this book thirty years ago are still being asked. But more important, the answers -- or at least their outlines -- now seem to be in sight. In 1968, this book stood as an expression of a paradigm crisis in its critique of the state of personality psychology. The last three decades have been filled with controversy and debate about the dilemmas raised here, and then with renewal and fresh discoveries. It therefore seems especially timely to revisit the pages which posed the challenges.

Mischel outlined the need to encompass the situation in the study of personality, but with a focus on the acquired meaning of stimuli and on the situation as perceived, viewing the individual as a cognitive-affective being who construes, interprets, and transforms the stimulus in a dynamic reciprocal interaction with the social world. He focused on the idiographic analysis of personality that had originally motivated the field, and the complexity, discriminative facility, and uniqueness of the individual, and sought to connect the expressions of personality to the individual's behavior -- that is, to what people do and not just what they say. Even the intrinsically contextualized "if...then..." expressions of the personality system -- its essential behavioral signatures -- were foreshadowed in this book that fired the opening salvo in a search for "a truly dynamic personality psychology."
In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of "madness" along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.

Dutton argues that there are indeed "functional psychopaths" among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more "psychopathic" people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world's most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.

As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused—qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it's our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.

Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. For example, readers will learn:
Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep.Willpower is not an unlimited resource. Too much self-control can actually be bad for your health.Temptation and stress hijack the brain's systems of self-control, but the brain can be trained for greater willpowerGuilt and shame over your setbacks lead to giving in again, but self-forgiveness and self-compassion boost self-control.Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control.Willpower failures are contagious—you can catch the desire to overspend or overeat from your friends­­—but you can also catch self-control from the right role models.In the groundbreaking tradition of Getting Things Done, The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.
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