The Science of Self-Control

You know what it takes to forgo dessert or resist the urge to buy that bauble you can't afford: self-control. That sounds simple, but self-control can be a slippery thing. A study in the current issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research sheds some light on why. According to the study's author, Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, self-control is neither an acquired skill nor a logical cognitive process. Rather, he says, it's an exhaustible resource that operates like a well: it is emptied with use and refilled with rest. To test this theory, Baumeister gave subjects a...

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