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Eugen Tarnow


    Snooze Button

    Eugen G Tarnow  May 2 2019 07:22:29 AM
    “‘Al mattino ha l'oro in bocca’—the morning has gold in its mouth.”

    “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and need like a bandit” (Proverbs 6:10).

    The marshmallow test was invented in 1960 to study the self control of little children. The children had a choice – either take a marshmallow right then or wait fifteen minutes and get two marshmallows. Supposedly the choice was correlated with future success – if the child could wait they would turn out more successful than if the child could not wait. It may be yet another psychology finding that will be relegated to the dustbin – apparently the choice is more immediately correlated with parental income, which then in turn correlates with future success.

    But why give up? I decided to invent another test of self control.

    This new test is the snooze button test – does a person use the snooze button to wake up or not? Just like the marshmallow test there is a tinge of morality in it– using the snooze button might bea sign of laziness or an inability of accepting the inevitable.

    I surveyed my college class, the MIT Class of '83 to see what I could find.

    Thus I find that 29% of the Class of ’83 uses the snooze button. There is no difference in the amount of sleep reported (p=0.924). However, users of the snooze button tend to make less money (median$165,000, average $180,000) than those who don’t (median $245,000, average $280,000; p=0.051). There was no difference in the number of children (p=0.83), when the MIT loans were paid off, or in the amount of money spent on kid post-secondary education.  There was no difference in the number of patents (p=0.75) nor publications (p=0.58).

    Most disappointingly, there was no difference between users of the snooze button and non-users and the delay in filling out the survey.

    So using the snooze button may be a life style choice that does not impact much of anything except, perhaps, the not unimportant issue of salary.

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