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There are Free Lunches: Behavioral Clues to Live Happy in the Economic World is a blog that intends to present updated and relevant information about the "hidden" and only recently uncovered dimensions of the economic science: the behavioral factors. With this blog we intend to promote in Europe and in the rest of the World, the top research articles and perspectives on behavioral economics, decision making, consumer behavior, and general behavioral science. We aim to be followed by journalists, academics, managers, civil servants, and everyone who wishes to improve their daily interaction with the economic world and consequently, their lives' happiness.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Willpower: It's in Your Head (via NYT)

IS willpower an illusion? Is the traditional notion of a deep mental reservoir of strength a fiction?

In recent years, the popular answer has been yes. Our abilities, according to this argument, are constrained by the narrow limits of our biology. In her 2008 book, “Health at Every Size,” the nutritionist Linda Bacon argues that, because of how the brain’s hypothalamus works, it is a “myth” that anyone can will himself to lose weight by maintaining a diet. “It’s not your fault!” she writes. “Biology is so powerful it can ‘make’ you break that diet.”

This year, in their book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” the social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and the New York Times science writer John Tierney survey a large body of scientific research to conclude that willpower is limited and depends on a continuous supply of the simple sugar glucose. When glucose is depleted, you fall prey to impulse shopping, affairs and cookies. The solution? “Try to get some glucose in you,” Mr. Tierney told NPR.

Such theories have an obvious appeal: attributing failures of willpower to our fixed biological limits justifies our procrastination as well as our growing waistlines. Not only that, we also get to consume more sugar. But are these theories correct?

You can check everything here, if you have 5 minutes- Willpower: It's in Your Head

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