Experiments – Coursework Example

Marshmallow experiment Walter Mischel first conducted the Marshmallow experiment in 1960s while serving as a at Stanford University. His aim was to deduce individual differences in delayed gratification whereby, he conducted his experiment on children aged three to six years (kindergarten aged children). He promised the subjects the multiplication of their choice of reward if they were able to desist from instantly gratifying themselves with the reward left in their presence. Since then, researchers such as B. J. Casey, and Moffit replicated the study and further investigated brain differences and emotional cues pertaining to delayed gratification respectively.
The experimental design used in the Marshmallow experiment was the within-subject design. The subjects of the experiments were exposed to all the treatment conditions. The design enabled the researcher to keep on going records of the subjects, which were useful in future follow up studies. In addition, it ensures perfect matching since the subjects remain the same throughout the experiment enabling researchers to
The scientific method furnishes researchers with systematic, reliable and general of principles of behavior. It encompasses observation, which is the systematic noting and recording of data. In addition, it also entails measurement, which is the systematic estimation of quantity, or size of an observable event. Finally, it entails experimentation, which entails the manipulation of the independent variable to assess its effect on the dependent variable.
The independent variable in the experiment was the reward offered to the participants. The initial step entailed the presentation of the reward concurrently with instructions of the experiment. The researchers would then leave the room and observe the subjects behaviors returning after 15 minute to either multiply the reward for subjects who displayed delayed gratification. Conversely, the dependent variable in the experiment was delayed gratification. Different subjects responded differently to the presentation of the reward (independent variable).
Subjects in the experiment were young; therefore, those who failed to follow instructions might have felt victimized or discriminated against for not receiving promised rewards. In addition, the 15-minute wait might have heightened stress levels of the young subjects.
One third of the participants proved successful. Follow up studies conducted on the subjects revealed they had better life outcomes. For example, they had better education attainment whereby, there SAT scores were higher than those of their counterparts who were more likely to have behavioral issues, drug addiction problems and obesity.
The experiment was ethical, as no physical or psychological harm befell the subjects.