February 19th, 2015



Self-control as a Limited Resource
For years, the Baumeister and Tice Social Psychology Lab at Florida State University, headed up by the husband and wife team of Roy Baumeister and Dianne Tice, has conducted groundbreaking research on the nature of willpower. The couple propose that willpower or self-control is akin to energy: the more you use it up in one situation, the less you have left over for other situations (they call this process ego-depletion). In 1998, for example, the pair published a paper (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/74/3/774/) with co-author Mark Muraven, that showed people's ability to sustain a tight grip was curtailed after they'd suppressed their emotions during an upsetting movie. Aspects of their theory, including the idea that sugar can boost willpower, have recently been challenged. Collapse )