0 - 12 Months

The Marshmallow Test: What Executive Function Predicts About Babies

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Executive function is a hot topic in brain research. The marshmallow test is a widely referenced study suggesting that the ability to delay gratification is an indicator of success in life. Impulse control is one of a suite of skills associated with executive function. 

Jessica Rolph is accompanied by an expert in this field, Dr. Melissa Clearfield, a professor of psychology at Whitman College. In this episode, Melissa shares her research on executive function in babies, along with some grounding advice for parents on connecting with their babies. That connection, she explains, is the foundation for the relationships that your baby will have later on in life.

Key Takeaways

[1:46] Melissa defines executive function and its link to success later in life.

[3:08] Signs of executive function in the baby’s first year of life.

[4:21] Melissa shares interventions that can boost executive function.

[6:25] The importance of parents giving baby their undivided attention.

[8:17] Electronic toys and babies.

[9:40] Simple toys promote learning, exploration and cognitive development.

[10:06] When is it beneficial to offer your child multiple levels of stimulation?

[12:13] How to model good executive function for children.

[13:50] The attachment style that you have with your infant sets the stage for that child’s attachment style later in life in their romantic partnership.

[14:50] Play for Success.

Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Dr. Melissa Clearfield


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Kate Garlinge Avatar

Kate Garlinge

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Posted in: 0 - 12 Months, Object Permanence, Memory Development, Real World Play, Free Play, Child Development

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