8 Facts About Self-Control Reply

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

From Reflectd:  Psychological Insights & Perspectives

“… Overcoming the self’s natural, impulsive nature requires self-control … Without this capacity, we would be slaves of our emotional impulses, temptations, and desires and thus unable to behave socially adequately.” (pp. 128-132).

Self-control is delaying short-term gratification in favour of long-term outcomes. It is the investment of cognitive, emotional and behavioural resources to achieve a desired outcome

Self-control often involves resisting temptations and impulses, and habits often undermine self-control. Humans are relatively successful at exerting self-control to achieve long-term outcomes (Hagger et al., 2009).

However, people are better at exerting self-control when it comes to making decisions that are distant in time compared to near (Fujita, 2008). Eight facts about self-control are presented in this article.

1. Self-control is a limited resource

According to the self-control strength model, exerting self-control at one time or over one set of behaviours may deplete the ability to exhibit subsequent self-control over another set of behaviours. A study by Shmueli & Prochaska (2009) supports this idea.

In this study, smokers who resisted sweets were more likely to smoke a cigarette during a break compared to smokers who resisted raw vegetables. Participants, whose self-control strength was depleted (due to temptation resistance), were more likely to smoke compared to those who had not depleted their self-control strength.

A study by Vohs & Heatherton (2000) also supports the idea of a self-control strength model. The study draws three conclusions:

  • Perceived availability and proximity of tempting snacks undermined subsequent self-control among dieters
  • Exerting self-control in one domain leads to subsequent reductions in self-control in another domain
  • Asking dieters to suppress their emotional reactions to a movie depleted their self-control resources

Another study found that people’s ability to exert self-control and resist temptation decreases gradually throughout the day (Kouchaki & Smith, 2014). This finding also suggests that self-control is a limited resource.

Hagger and colleagues (2009) found that breaks in exerting control (since it is a limited resource) and training in self-control makes people better at exerting self-control.

Feature continues here:  Self-Control 

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