Only Willpower Counts As Self-control - Deepstash
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Only Willpower Counts As Self-control

Using a multifactorial research design, the researchers sought to decontaminate cases of self-control to test how people viewed synchronic and diachronic regulation as separate entities.

What they found was that when the two forms of regulation were pulled apart, participants thought only willpower counted as self-control; pure diachronic strategies did not. And in mixed cases involving both forms of regulation, participants rated the cases as involving the exercise of self-control, only because they involved synchronic regulation, not the more behavioral framework of temptation avoidance.


308 reads


Self-control, Willpower And Temptation

Researchers have long wondered what tools people successfully use to resist temptations—like eating another bag of potato chips or checking Facebook one more time before bed. And while no one really knows why some of us have more self-control than others, psychologists and behavioral econ...


602 reads


I can resist anything except temptation.



359 reads

When Does Willpower Come In?

But researcher Jordan Bridges and her colleagues hypothesized that such assessments of synchronic regulation rested on a faulty interpretation of the data, that supposed examples of effective purely diachronic strategies involved the use of willpower to impl...


385 reads


I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.



363 reads

So, What Is Best? Over Time Or In The Moment?

Psychologists and economists have increasingly argued that because willpower is difficult to exercise, diachronic regulation is more effective than synchronic regulation. This conclusion is based in part on the failure of willpower-driven campaigns (such as Nancy Regan’s...


478 reads

Odysseus And The Sirens

In Greek mythology, the story of Odysseus and the Sirens illustrates a paradigmatic example of self-control.

When the hero of Homer’s epic prepares to travel past the Sirens, mythical creatures who lure sailors with their enchanted singing, he instructs his crew to plug their ears with wax...


714 reads

Only “In The Moment” Counts As Self-control

The research’s final experiment found that self-control in a diachronic case depends on whether a person uses synchronic regulation at two moments: when they a) initiate and b) follow-through on a plan to resist temptation.

Taken together, the results strongly sugge...


265 reads

Our Methods To Resist Temptation

Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have reached the consensus that we can use two different kinds of regulation to achieve self-control: synchronic regulation and diachronic regulation.

Synchronic regulation relies on deliberate, effo...


488 reads

The Popular, Or “Folk”, View Of Willpower

Bridges said these findings are important for the study of self-control, and for how psychologists, philosophers, economists and clinical practitioners discuss these concepts.

“Scientific discussion, and science communication, can often involve debates over terms that don’t track ho...


278 reads

(Active-Current) Resistance Over (Passive-Future) Avoidance

“People often infer that it’s the diachronic strategy doing the self-control work, when really, moments of synchronic regulation are being amplified with diachronic strategy.

Specifically, people typically use willpower (synchronic regulation) to achieve their ...


234 reads


I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.



310 reads




“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

It seems we either avoid temptation or resist it. So, in effect, we either lack strategy or willpower. But is it really as black and white and as fair and square as that?

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Research on Self-Control

  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to ...


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