Can marshmallows be the link that helps explain falling crime rates and increased environmental cleanliness? It seems that falling environmental lead levels may lead kids to have have more activity in their brains' frontal cortices. After following the kids from the marshmallow experiment for over 40 years, Walter Mischel found that those that could resist immediately eating the marshmallow were more likely to have increased activity in that area of their brains. These kids were also more likely to later exhibit such things as increased SAT scores and fewer anger management issues. [more inside]
"Research has shown that numerous psychological interventions are efficacious, effective, and cost-effective. However, these interventions are used infrequently with patients who would benefit from them, in part because clinical psychologists have not made a convincing case for the use of these interventions ... and because clinical psychologists do not themselves use these interventions even when given the opportunity to do so." In Psychological Science in the Public Interest, psychologists Timothy Baker, Richard McFall, and Varda Shoham argue that clinical psychology needs to embrace its status as a science in order to save itself as a profession. If that's too long, Walter Mischel -- yes, the marshmallow guy -- writes an accompanying editorial. : "The disconnect between much of clinical practice and the advances in psychological science is an unconscionable embarrassment..."
In the late 1960s, Walter Mischel conducted a series of experiments on delayed gratification in preschoolers that became known as the Marshmallow Test. A recent New Yorker article talks about the eventual path that his research took and its wider implications. New research points to specific differences in brain activity between people with good self control and people with poor self control. Promising scientific findings aside, it's the (adorable) movie re-enactment of the marshmallow tests that is making news recently.