Walter Mischel was born in Vienna, Austria on February 22, 1930. After his family fled the Nazis in 1938, they eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York in 1940. He received a bachelor's degree in psychology at New York University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He joined the Harvard University faculty in 1962, the Stanford University faculty in 1977, and the Columbia University faculty in 1983. He was best known for the marshmallow test, which challenged children to wait before eating a treat. This study of delayed gratification in young children clarified the importance of self-control in human development. His book, The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, was published in 2014. He died from pancreatic cancer on September 12, 2018 at the age of 88.