Tag Archives | Self-control

It’s not a lack of self-control that keeps people poor

The Sleeper
When considering poverty, our national conversation tends to overlook systemic causes. Instead, we often blame the poor for their poverty. Commentators echo the claim that people are poor because they have bad self-control and therefore make nearsighted choices. But psychology research says the opposite might be the case: poverty makes it hard for people to care about the future and forces them to live in the present.

As a researcher who studies goals and motivation, I wanted to know how self-control works and if science can help us get better at it. Poverty seemed like a good place to start, because greater self-control could be especially helpful there. In fact, the federal Administration for Children and Families is adding character-skills training to its programs in efforts to improve self-control among children.

But as I started this work I was surprised by all the reasons that it’s so hard for people in poverty to have good self-control.… Read the rest

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Is Willpower a Limited Resource Which Can be Cultivated with Exercise?

Picture: Robbin Cresswell (PD)

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” – Aiwass

New developments in biological science suggest your willpower is drawn from a limited supply of chemicals which accumulate in the brain over time.

According to Wired willpower is:

a measurable form of mental energy that runs out as you use it, much like the gas in your car.

Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University, calls this “ego depletion,” and he proved its existence by sitting students next to a plate of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. Some were allowed to snack away, others ordered to abstain. Afterward, both groups were asked to complete difficult puzzles. The students who’d been forced to resist the cookies had so depleted their reserves of self-control that when faced with this new task, they quickly threw in the towel. The cookie eaters, on the other hand, had conserved their willpower and worked on the puzzles longer.

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