Mischel followed up years later, looking into how the kids who participated in the study ultimately turned out. There was a remarkable amount of correlation with this simple test and success later in life — kids who were able to hold off at age 4 for the second marshmallow turned out years later to have higher SAT scores and generally seem more competent. The hypothetical explanation is that our personalities are strongly influenced by our attitude toward time — whether we are focused primarily on the past, the present, or the future.
I had run across the Zimbardo video before, and put it in a post, and in that context, it’s not surprising that future-oriented people would appreciate, and possibly have an extra affinity for, education. Or maybe it’s the other way around.