Conducted by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel in 1972, it has proven to be a solid predicator of success in life and is used by elite preschools to screen their young candidates.
Now, a new study has shown that the ability to delay gratification for adults can also predict credit scores, arguably a metric of financial success in the United States.
Professors Stephan Meier of Columbia University and Charles Sprenger of Stanford University recruited 437 low-to-moderate income people in Boston for an experiment.
Each was asked whether he prefers smaller, more immediate rewards versus larger, more distant awards. The professors found that those who opted for the larger, more distant awards also happened to have better credit scores.