One of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century, Walter Mischel, visits the RSA to explore the nature of willpower, and the implications it has for everything from parenting to public policy.
Walter Mischel’s now iconic ‘marshmallow test’ is one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology. It showed that the ability to delay gratification is absolutely critical to living a successful and fulfilling life: self-control not only predicts academic success, better social and cognitive functioning, and a stronger self-esteem; it also helps us deal with stress, pursue goals more effectively, and cope with difficult emotions. But is willpower pre-wired, or can it be taught?
Mischel draws on decades of compelling research and life examples to explore the nature of willpower, identify the cognitive skills and mental mechanisms that enable it, and show how these can be applied to life’s challenges – from self-care to public policy.
Speaker: Walter Mischel, author and professor of human letters in psychology at Columbia University
Chair: Hannah Devlin, science editor, The Times