Long termism – Global Themes in Asset Management

Suitable for private investors as well as advisers

By Aberdeen Asset Management

American academic Walter Mischel conducted one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology back in the 1960s. Nursery school children were each given a choice: they could have a reward immediately (marshmallows were popular) or, if they waited alone in the room for a few minutes, they could eventually have two treats when a researcher returned.

What would later become known as the Œmarshmallow test showed that many children couldn't resist the temptation of instant gratification (a sweet was left in the room with the child), even though they knew that delaying that gratification would lead to an even bigger reward.

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