Giving Compass' Take:

• David Cantor reports that research has indicated that children today have better self-control than their peers 50 years ago.

• What does self-control mean for children's success? How can this progress be continued? 

• Find out how the original conclusions of the  'marshmallow test' have been disproven.

The folks who brought us the marshmallow test have some unlikely news: Children today have more self-control than ever.

That conclusion is based on more than 50 years of results from the iconic test, which allows a preschooler to eat one treat immediately or two if she can wait 10 minutes.

Led by psychologist Walter Mischel, who created the experiment — one of the most famous in developmental psychology — a research team found that children tested between 2002 and 2012 held out for two minutes longer on average than the original test-takers in the 1960s, and one minute longer than participants in the 1980s.

A 4-year-old in the earliest group waited as long as a child between 2½ and 3 in the most recent tests, and 4-year-old test-takers in the 1980s waited as long as a child who was 3½ in the 2000s.

A survey conducted by the researchers predicted far different results: 75 percent of adults said they thought children today have less self-control than children a half-century ago and believed they themselves would have waited “significantly” longer as 4-year-olds than would their own children.

It’s not clear why the current generation is better at delaying rewards, but Carlson says it may be due in part to a greater ability to think in the abstract — part of a broader rise in intelligence, as measured by IQ scores, during the last century (sometimes called the Flynn effect — although more recent research shows IQs may now be trending downward).

Read the full article about self-control by David Cantor at The 74.