OTHER LESSONS FROM MARSHMALLOWS. I derived two other lessons from Jonah Lehrer’s article. First, as an identical twin, I am always interested in the twin studies done to attempt to isolate the role of nature (genetics) in human behavior. I was struck by this quote from Professor Yoshi Shoda in Jonah Lehrer’s article: “We’re incredibly complicated creatures. Even the simplest aspects of personality are driven by dozens and dozens of different genes.” Twin studies would seem to be a blunt instrument to deal with these complexities. Second, I had in this post quoted Jonah Lehrer in his book PROUST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST: “Whenever we pay attention to a specific stimulus—like a pear on a dinner table—we increase the sensitivity of our own neurons.” I drew the conclusion there that “That which directs the attention can be considered the self.” From that point of view, a four old year learning not to pay attention to a marshmallow is shaping the self.

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