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双语阅读:从吃货实验,看自控秘诀

2014-10-16    来源:21世纪    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语阅读:
Minds over matter


The marshmallow, a white, cottony, sweet confection is synonymous with “temptation” in the US. This all began 50 years ago when psychologist Walter Mischel sat 5-year-old children down at a table and gave them a simple choice: they could eat one marshmallow now or, if they wait, receive two marshmallows later.
棉花糖——这种白色、松软的甜食——在美国却是“诱惑”的同义词。这一切源于50年前心理学家沃尔特•米歇尔的一个实验,他让一些5岁小孩子做出选择:是立刻吃掉一块棉花糖,还是等一会儿,然后得到两块棉花糖。

Mischel and his colleagues at Stanford wanted to understand the nature of self-control. If children could refrain from eating the marshmallow over a set period of time, they were told they’d receive two as reward. If they couldn’t resist temptation, they wouldn’t get the second treat.
米歇尔和自己斯坦福的同事这么做,只为了解自控的本质。如果孩子们能够忍一会儿不吃第一个棉花糖,那么他们就能额外得到一个棉花糖作为奖励。如果他们不能抵御诱惑,则不会获得奖励。

The Marshmallow Test became famous due to a remarkable discovery made some years later. Those children who were able to resist temptation for the reward of two marshmallows grew into adults who were more successful in school, work and relationships. They were also thinner, calmer, more sociable, better at managing their money, and less likely to be addicted to any substances.
棉花糖实验因为数年后的神奇发现而名声大噪:当年实验中那些抵御诱惑获得两块棉花糖的孩子长大成人后,在学校、工作以及感情中都更为成功;他们也更加苗条,更加冷静,更善于社交,精于理财,不会沉迷于某物而不能自拔。

It seems having the capacity to wait for two marshmallows is quite important. In the US, there are “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow!” T-shirts, and investment companies have used the marshmallow test to encourage retirement planning, according to The Atlantic.
这样看来,“能够等得了两块棉花”是一种十分重要的品质。据《大西洋月刊》报道,在美国,不仅可以看见印着“不要吃棉花糖!”的T恤,还有投资公司利用这一实验推行其退休计划。

Many people have interpreted the results of the Marshmallow Test to mean fate is predetermined by one’s biology. But Mischel has just published a new book — The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control — which claims the true meaning of the experiments is just the opposite.
很多人将棉花糖实验的结果看做是基因决定命运的明证。但是米歇尔却在自己的新书《棉花糖实验:学会自我控制》中称,这项实验的真正意义却恰恰相反


Learning restraint
学会克制

“The most important thing we learned is that self-control — the ability to regulate one’s own emotions — involves a set of skills that can be taught, and learned,” Mischel told journalism website Vox.com. “They’re acquirable. Nothing is predetermined.”
米歇尔在接受美国一家新闻网站的采访时说,“我们最重要的发现是关于自控——这个人们控制自我感情的能力,其实是可以被教导和学习的。这些都可在后天获得,没有什么是命定的。”

What’s more, he says, these experiments provide concrete lessons about self-control we can use as adults. Grown-ups can use these methods to quit smoking, or stick to a diet, or save money.
此外他还说,这些实验还为成年人如何自控提供了具体的指导。成年人可以用这些方法戒烟、控制饮食或是省钱。

Mischel and other psychologists argue that the battle between instant gratification (one marshmallow now) and long-term gratification (two marshmallows later) is really a battle between two different systems in the brain. “There’s the more primitive brain, which responds immediately and emotionally,” Mischel says. “Then other parts of the brain, concentrated in the prefrontal cortex, allow us to do things like control our attention, and think about the future, and delay gratification.”
米歇尔和其他心理学家都认为,即时满足(立刻得到一块棉花糖)与长期满足(过一会儿得到两块棉花糖)间的“斗争”事实上是大脑中两套系统间的“斗争”:大脑中更原始的部分会反应迅速,更加感性;而大脑中还有一些部分(主要集中在额前叶皮层)则让我们得以控制注意力,思考未来,延迟满足感。”

In the book, Mischel likens the impulse-driven system to “hot” thinking, and the slower, more rationally-driven executive function to “cool” thinking. The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.
在书中,米歇尔将基于冲动的系统比作“热”思考,而将更缓慢、更理智的系统比作“冷”思考。而自控的秘诀,正是训练大脑让额前叶皮层能够首先做出反应。

Various experiments have also shown that exposure to the sight, smell, or taste of a temptation activates the “hot” thinking that makes us most likely to give in to it. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, surrounding yourself with food and snacks will inevitably drain your willpower and make you more likely to eat a lot.
很多实验也证明,视觉、嗅觉、味觉的诱惑会激活我们的“热”思考,让我们难抵诱惑。比方说,你正在减肥,那么如果你周围有很多食物和小吃无疑将会消耗你的意志力,更容易让你吃多。


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