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Is willpower a finite resource ?


Posted on Monday, 8 October, 2012 | Comment icon 19 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 2.5 Rainer Zenz

 
Psychologist Roy Baumeister believes willpower is a finite resource that can run out like fuel in a car.

Based at Florida State University, Baumeister set out to investigate this concept by conducting an experiment involving several students and a plate of newly baked chocolate-chip cookies. He sat some of the students down in front of the plate and asked them not to eat any for a period of time while a second group were permitted to snack on them. He then gave all the students a series of difficult puzzles to solve.

The results indicated that the students who had been tasked with resisting the cookies had to bow out of the puzzle solving a lot sooner than those who had been allowed to eat them. Baumeister maintains that this indicates that willpower is a finite resource that can be depleted and it should therefore be reserved as much as possible for when it is needed the most.

"Further studies have suggested that willpower is fueled by glucose—which helps explain why our determination crumbles when we try to lose weight."

  View: Full article |  Source: Wired

  Discuss: View comments (19)

   


 
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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by ouija ouija on 8 October, 2012, 22:20
Well if it is a stamina thing then surely you must be able to train it also. One of the comments after the article mentions just that fact and wonders why it was left out of the article: in the short term will power needs to be conserved, but, it can be trained and strengthened like a muscle.
Comment icon #11 Posted by little_dreamer on 9 October, 2012, 0:15
What cookies? I didn't see no cookies...
Comment icon #12 Posted by csspwns on 9 October, 2012, 0:58
how cruel. we should do the same to Psychologist Roy Baumeister. put 10000s of cookies in front of him and have everyone in UM eat them in front of his face while he is tied up to a chair listening to my algrebra teacher droning on and on about x and y and functions and expressions and blah blah blah, then i might be able to get my teacher to be sued and jailed for murder by talking
Comment icon #13 Posted by Sundew on 9 October, 2012, 2:20
"I can resist everything except temptation." Ocsar Wilde
Comment icon #14 Posted by Melo - on 9 October, 2012, 7:33
Hmm...finite willpower is a really good topic to discuss and talk about with others... Thank you still Waters
Comment icon #15 Posted by Render on 9 October, 2012, 8:05
One of the comments after the article mentions just that fact and wonders why it was left out of the article: in the short term will power needs to be conserved, but, it can be trained and strengthened like a muscle. Excellent.
Comment icon #16 Posted by C235 on 9 October, 2012, 11:29
lesson today is not to have a will contest with diabetic people.
Comment icon #17 Posted by behaviour??? on 9 October, 2012, 14:28
Ummm...Wasnt Green Lantern based on this will power as a source of energy? I think this researcher was into watching a lot of Green Lantern and Ryan Reynolds :{
Comment icon #18 Posted by NikkiAidyn on 9 October, 2012, 20:43
I'll never run out. If I haven't already I never will. XD
Comment icon #19 Posted by 4MinuteNile on 30 October, 2012, 22:40
That is retarded.


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