Oct 15, 2010
Fate may not be written in the stars, but what if it’s written in our genes? First, Paul Auster raises the specter of "rhyming events," his term for those spooky coincidences that seem more than ordinary mathematical flukes.
Then, a seemingly simple experiment devised by Walter Mischel to test will power: put a kid in a room with a marshmallow, and tell her if she can resist eating it for 15 minutes, she can have 2 marshmallows. It turns out the kids who could wait were much more likely to be successful as adults. Jonah Lehrer helps make sense of the implications.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the kids who performed better on the marshmallow test had higher GPAs in high school and went to better colleges. Those elements were not a part of Mischel’s original study. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.