The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, AKA Mischel’s delayed gratification experiments, investigated attentional mechanisms in the delay of gratification. The basic design was to show children a snack (such as a marshmallow) and tell them that they would get a greater number of snacks later if they didn’t eat the one they could see while the experimenter was out of the room.
While the age of the children had an effect on their ability to wait until the experimenter reappeared, there were also effects of whether they could see the immediate or delayed reward, and follow up studies have shown correlations with later SAT scores, reaction times in a response inhibition task, and differential activation in the prefrontal cortex.
But we haven’t found any mention of participants stealing all the rewards.
Caption: 15 cat years ago...
Scientist 1: Experiment number 45. Subject 1314-C has been trained to understand that resisting the temptation to eat will pay off with a greater amount of food over time.
FX: NOM NOM NOM
Scientist 1: Experiment number 45 failed after 20 seconds. Return subject to holding cage.
FX: NOM NOM
Scientist 2: Where did he get all those marshmallows?
Scientist 1: Catch him!