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  1. #11
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    Thank you for sharing this, I've been looking for a bridge between psychology and exertion of will power (which amounts to self discipline)

  2. #12
    ThatGirl
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    I have a tendency to minimize other areas of my life in order to avoid this. As mentioned in the article, I wear mostly black or white, never have to put much thought into how I dress, look, which route I will take to work, what my duties will be once I get there. Etc.

    I thrive on routine so that I have to capacity to maintain mental will power longer, and with exceeding strength. I mostly buy things that last, I eat the same foods day in and out.

    If I become too exhausted to make a decision, I usually take a step back. Car salesmen panic when five hours into it, I tell them I need to go get lunch.

    When worst comes to worst, I simply shut off the chatter, and don't allow my mind to evaluate the what ifs. I had a good idea of where I stood in the beginning, I remind myself of it, and can usually see whether the point of confusion I have been led too outweighs the starting conviction. Is it worth it or not.

  3. #13
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    I think I might have a case of decisionitus

  4. #14
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Default Decision Fatigue

    This is an interesting article that examines the issue of decision fatigue. We don't always realize what impacts our ability to think and choose. This came to my mind after reading one of the threads about free-will. This article examines one kind of constraint on our will.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/ma...pagewanted=all
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  5. #15
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I remember reading this when it came out, and finding it really interesting myself.

    Several years ago I participated in a ‘self-actualization’ group, in which we had to choose one task (usually somewhat mundane, such as making sure there were absolutely no dishes in the sink before going to bed, or cleaning the cat litter every single night, doing at least 10 sit-ups, etc) and make an agreement to do it every single day- without fail, and there were no valid excuses for neglecting it (outside of actual inability, like being in the hospital or some such). It really is amazing- at the end of three months- how much willpower builds as a result. It isn’t just about that specific task, it builds a discipline/endurance for mental energy that branches out into other areas. I was really hoping, when I read the article, they’d also done some kind of study about this- whether more endurance could be built slowly and consistently like muscle (because that seemed to be my experience, and the experience of others who participated). But nothing of the sort is mentioned.

    I almost started a ‘will power challenge’ thread- like exercise challenge thread- to see if anyone was interested in that ‘take up one mundane task that you don’t usually do, and do it every single day’ exercise. But I didn’t really feel committed enough to have kept it going. Or something. (Plus I had mixed feelings about the support for a will-power exercise coming from the very source where my will-power seems weakest: wasting time online.)

    Spears and other researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major — and hitherto ignored — factor in trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. […] Lapses in self-control have led to the notion of the “undeserving poor” — epitomized by the image of the welfare mom using food stamps to buy junk food — but Spears urges sympathy for someone who makes decisions all day on a tight budget.
    I found this^ the most important point in the article. Because I've long suspected the 'anyone can rise above it' mentality to be a lazy projection of people who are just.....more fortunate.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  6. #16
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I stumbled across an additional study, worth mentioning (even though this thread didn't seem to catch much interest in the first place). This one tested the effect of rinsing the mouth out with sugar water and found out that it didn’t really matter whether someone actually ingested the glucose or not- which is different from the original study, the original study proposed ‘will-power’ came directly from the glucose entering and fueling physiological processes.

    Of course, there’s probably some Pavlov’s stuff going on here- tasting the glucose makes the body feel like a surge of mental energy is about to happen, and if a person were to do nothing but rinse glucose to get a burst of will-power then the affect of rinsing would probably decline after a while (I would think, anyway). It seems kind of strange to me this isn’t mentioned/taken into account.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-h...b_1279704.html

    The results again challenged the energy model. As reported in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, those who rinsed with the artificially sweetened drink were much less persistent -- consistent with the idea that self-control is mentally depleting. However, rinsing with the sugary solution appeared to restore the volunteers' lost willpower -- significantly more than rinsing with the artificially sweetened drink. The rinse is crucial here, and a departure from the original lab work: In the earlier experiments that led to the energy model, the volunteers had to actually ingest the sugar to get mentally replenished. But this study showed that merely rinsing with the sugary mouthwash had the same effect, restoring self-discipline. What's more, it had this effect immediately. The experiment allowed no time to metabolize the sugar and make it into brain fuel.

    So what's happening here? If mental exertion is not depleting blood sugar, but is compromising subsequent self-discipline, then what's the mechanism? And what's restoring self-control, if not metabolized carbs? The scientists believe the mechanism is motivation. They believe that the mouth "senses" the carbohydrates in the mouthwash, and this sensation signals -- likely through the brain's dopamine system -- the possibility that a reward is coming. Sensing that an energy boost is coming, the brain is motivated to put in extra effort. In short, the sugar motivates -- rather than fuels -- willpower.

    The scientists ran two different versions of the rinsing experiment. One demonstrated the effect of the mouthwash on physical persistence; the other on cognitive persistence. But one important question remained unanswered: Is it possible that even rinsing one's mouth with sugar might boost blood glucose -- drawing out the body's supplies? If so, this would revise -- but support -- the energy model of self-control. To address this, the scientists directly tested the effect of carbohydrate rinsing on blood glucose levels. They had a group of volunteers rinse repeatedly with a carbohydrate solution that was much stronger than the usual rinse -- to make the standard of proof as rigorous as possible. Others drank the same concentrated solution. The results gave further support to the new motivational model of self-control. Blood glucose levels jumped in those who drank the sugary drink, but didn't budge for those who rinsed.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

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