In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a psychologist named Walter Michel conducted a series of delayed gratification experiments. Michel was interested in whether the ability to delay gratification could predict future success in life. In experiments, children between the ages of 3 and 5 were placed in a room with treats.
Before leaving the room, the experimenter told each child that they would get a second treat if the first treat was still on the table after 15 minutes. Follow-up studies many years later showed that children who were able to delay gratification excelled in various areas, including academically. Those who were able to wait 15 minutes for the second treat tended to have higher SAT scores and higher academic achievement.
The results show that this ability to wait for gratification is not only an important skill for success, but one that is formed at an early age and persists throughout life.