As counterintuitive as it sounds, according to a new study, parents can measure the future intellectual capacity of their toddlers using nothing but a dried up fruit.
Recent research carried out by the University of Warwick – where 20-month-olds were asked to abstain from eating a raisin placed under a plastic cup until they were permitted to do so – has shown that those tots who demonstrated Herculean willpower and waited to eat the snack had an IQ of 7 points higher than those who weren’t able to hold off noshing when they got to 8 years old.
A total of 558 children formed part of the longitudinal study – which is still under way – in Germany in 1985.
The delayed gratification raisin test is similar to the (much tastier) Marshmallow test devised in the 1960s, where kids were told if they waited 15 minutes to eat a marshmallow they would get two instead of just one. Follow-up studies from that experiment also suggested those children who didn’t give in to temptation were more likely to be successful.
Professor Dieter Wolke at the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick says, “The raisin game is an easy and effective tool that is good at assessing inhibitory control in young children, takes only 5 minutes, and can be used in clinical practice to identify children at risk of attention and learning problems.
“Better inhibitory control at age 20 months predicted better attention regulation and academic achievement at age 8 years.”
If you try this at home, however, don’t get despondent should the results be less-than-stellar; IQ might have a genetic component, but the key to unlocking your kiddo’s potential is taking the time to provide him with the necessary stimuli for learning.
In other words, if your tyke exhibits little patience and regard for the DIY raisin test, take it as a cue to show a little more patience and attentiveness of your own — the effects will go way beyond his one-day report card.