With mobile phones, streaming video and everything that is needed today, it is widely believed that children’s ability to delay satisfaction is deteriorating. To study this hypothesis, a group of researchers, including Mischel, analyzed American children who tested cotton candy in the 1960s, 1980s, or 2000s. These children all come from a similar socioeconomic background and are 3 to 5 years old when taking the test. Contrary to popular expectations, children’s ability to delay satisfaction in each birth cohort increases. The children who took the test in the 2000s were delayed for an average of 2 minutes longer than those who took the test in the 1960s, and 1 minute longer than those who took the test in the 1980s. Researchers say the results can be explained by an increase in IQ scores over the past few decades, which is related to technological change, global growth and economic change. They also pointed out that the use of digital technology is related to the ability to improve abstract thinking, which may lead to better execution.
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