Exerting too much self-control could backfire

Exerting too much self-control could backfire

Even imagining someone else using self-control weakens resolve.
source-image
Aug 11, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Go ahead. Let go every once in awhile. Otherwise you may end up going overboard at just the wrong moment.

A recent study published in Psychological Science suggests expending self-control and even imagining someone else using self-control “could result in small breakdowns of self-control, such as employees speaking out improperly during a meeting, to catastrophic ones, such as police officers responding to an emotionally charged encounter with deadly force,” according to the study’s authors.

Psychologists from Yale University and the University of California Los Angeles explored what effect thinking about other people’s self-control has on thoughts and behavior.

The results revealed that participants who imagined someone showing restraint were more willing to splurge for themselves. The study’s authors deduced that the participants “had exhausted their capacity for self-control and restraint, leading them to spend more money.” Imagining someone else using self-control also diminished participants’ ability to perform word game and memory tasks.

Hot topics on dvm360

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.