A lot of you may remember the Stanford Marshmallow Test. Researchers gave preschoolers a marshmallow with the promise of a second one if they waited to eat it. It was an experiment in delayed gratification, and some kids passed… and some failed. It turns out that certain species are better at delayed gratification than others. Apes and crows, for instance — and recently a study was done showing that cuttlefish are good at it too. But what about cats? My human decided to put me to the test.
The first step was deciding which treats to use. The cuttlefish had to choose between a lesser prey that was easy to get versus a more desirable one that took longer to attain. So my human decided to do something similar with me.
The plan was to pick the treat I liked the best and the treat I was the least enthusiastic about. This was a little difficult since I was pretty enthusiastic about all of them!
Eventually we settled on these two treats. The freeze dried chicken was my favorite, and the piece of meat stick was my least.
So my human put the piece of meat stick near me… but before I could snatch it, she waved the freeze dried chicken in my direction.
She held that piece of freeze dried chicken for hours! Okay, maybe it was only like 30 seconds or so.
And then I had to give a high five to get the better treat. But it was worth it! We did the experiment several times, just to make sure my human got the shot. But I aced it every time. Even better, after I did the high five, I got both treats! So that is proof that delayed gratification pays off.
My human was very proud of me! She said this means I’m at least as smart as the average cuttlefish.
So how about you kitties? Do you think you could pass a delayed gratification test? Let me know in the comments.
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