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."
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