Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Giving in to sin
Ever wonder what makes you more likely to give into temptation? What makes you eat sweets on your diet, or break that promise to yourself not to gossip? Researchers at Duke University, the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania have been looking at the power of suggestion, and how having mixed feelings on a subject (i.e., wanting to do something but knowing you shouldn't) affects your ability to resist giving in. What they found is that simply being asked questions about something that tempts you can significantly increase the chances you will give in to it.

For example, the researchers looked at two groups of college students. The first group was asked how often the students intended to skip class the next week. The control group was asked how often they intended to floss. At the end of the week, students from the first group had an average of one more absence from class compared with the second group. Slackers.

The researchers theorize in next month's Journal of Consumer Research that seemingly harmless questions about intention can be more powerful than we imagine, and that these kinds of queries lower our guard and make us feel freer about giving into our desires. That could explain how some TV ads are more effective than others, and probably how some people are more likely to get you to do what you know you shouldn't.

Fortunately, the researchers also noticed that thinking about how to avoid temptation ahead of time, and deciding on a reward for sticking to your guns does help thwart the power of temptation.

What is your personal vice, and how do you avoid the temptation to indulge? Have you noticed that being asked about it makes you more likely to think about it and thus makes it harder to resist? Have you found that self-rewards and other pre-meditated plans help? If not, what does?
Hey Shahreen,
Interesting article. The second I read that the research was done on college students, a red flag went up! I have been around a lot and I mean a LOT of college students and I here to tell you that if you want them to do something, just suggest they don't! Don't you remember being that age? Rebell, rebell, rebell! For that reason, this research may be a little flawed in my opinion.
My personal vices? Alright, coffee and hell, sometimes I cuss too much. That is all I want to admit to right now!! ;-)
When I have been a good girl I self reward. A new pair of shoes, a massage, pedicure, etc.
I do believe that human nature makes us want to do what we are told is taboo. For example: have you ever been dining with someone and they say,"Don't look now, but that person behind you is. . . .
You just can't WAIT to turn around, can you?
As mature adults we try to control ourselves, but it isn't easy!
Not sure. I try to avaoid sweets but have a serious sweet tooth. I also enjoy a cooking show that features desserts and do not find myself any more or less able to resist the lure of sweets after watching - even though I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the dessert after watching.
The problem with our culture is that we are too passive. We don't stop to think "why the sweets are the first thing we see when walking through the grocery store" or realize that "there will be more PS3's, so we shouldn't stand in line for hours when the store might only have 8 of them on the first day." Businesses hire psychologists and even colors are used to make you feel hungry, energized, etc. I have a sweet tooth and once in awhile I indulge it, but I am also aware that it could get out of control so I actively am aware of that as I walk through a store. Think, people, think!
My vice is overeating, especially at social gatherings. My nutritionist suggested that when at a buffet, be the last person through the line. I don't know why it works, but it does --- can't argue with positive results! Also, she suggested that when in a room full of appetizers (my major Achilles' heel), visit with folks in another room, or turn my back to the table. In other words, eliminate the temptation. That one only sort of works, becuase my sneaky brain knows the cheese and crackers are right behind me.
Hi Shahreen,

For me temptations for sugary and fatty foods happens during times of stress. Usually to replace an unfulfilled desire. Sometimes destressing techniques work for me not to overindulge, for example:
If I crave cheesecake, I replace it with 0% greek yogurt and strwberries. Or if I am overstressed, I reward myself on spa-treatment, foot-massage, pedicure, facial, instead of spending it on empty calories. Keeping a snack and a waterbottle at hand does a lot of wonders.
It's coffee! I love coffe of all kinds.I can't avoid it,so I don't even try, though I'm not supposed to have alot of cafine because I have Fibrocystic(sp?) Breast Disesse (you can find info at Web MD). I do drink 1/2 caff coffee (decaf tea and no sodas) and try to cut back on that a couple of weeks before my period, or I'll suffer painful consequences.
It seems to me that Mr. Speaker is receiving an awful lot of preferential treatment. Less than 2 months ago a "less well-educated", "less intelligent" and "less successful" man of European descent was arrested by federal authorities in, I think Arizona, and thrown in solitary confinement in prison where he is languishing and being treated worse than an animal. Anyone thought to write about this poor man's plight? And yes, he is infected with TB.

Could the fact that Speaker's father-in-law is affiliated with CDC have anything to do with it.
Actually, it's a really easy answer. We're selfish by nature. Whether we like that assessment or not, it's true. It's part of the survival instinct. Someone can suggest chocolate to me all day long; but if it's not in my paradigm for survival, the little selfish flicker will not alight to make me want it.

Selfishness. For survival, it's a beautiful thing.
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