Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Got Sugar? Glucose Affects Our Ability To Resist Temptation

Date:
December 4, 2007
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Self-control takes fuel -- literally, and it turns out to be one of the same things that fuels our muscles: sugar, in the form of glucose. When we exercise self-control, resisting temptations to misbehave, our fuel tank is depleted, making subsequent efforts at self-control more difficult.

New research from a lab at Florida State University reveals that self-control takes fuel-- literally. When we exercise it, resisting temptations to misbehave, our fuel tank is depleted, making subsequent efforts at self-control more difficult.

Florida State psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and his colleagues Kathleen D. Vohs, University of Minnesota, and Dianne M. Tice, Florida State, showed this with an experiment using the Stroop task, a famous way of testing strength of self-control. Participants in this task are shown color words that are printed in different-colored ink (like the word red printed in blue font), and are told to name the color of the ink, not the word. Baumeister found that when participants perform multiple self-control tasks like the Stroop test in a row, they do worse over time. Thus, the ability to control ourselves wanes as it is exercised.

Moreover, Baumeister and colleagues found that the fuel that powers this ability turns out to be one of the same things that fuels our muscles: sugar, in the form of glucose.

The researchers measured the blood glucose levels of participants before either engaging in another self-control task or a task that did not involve self-control. They found that the group performing the self-control task suffered depletion in glucose afterward. Furthermore, in another experiment, two groups performed the Stroop task two times each, drinking one of two sweetened beverages in between. The control group drank lemonade with Splenda, a sugar-free sweetener; the test group got lemonade sweetened with real sugar. The sugar group performed better than the Splenda group on their second Stroop test, presumably because their blood sugar had been replenished.

The results as reported in the December issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, suggest the possibility of psychological interventions for helping people achieve greater self-control. For one thing, like muscles, self-control may be able to be strengthened through exercise. Results so far are inconsistent, Baumeister says, and some regimens work better than others, but he envisions that greater understanding of the biological and psychological underpinnings of our ability to control ourselves will have important real-world application for people in the self-control business, such as coaches, therapists, teachers, and parents.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Got Sugar? Glucose Affects Our Ability To Resist Temptation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071203121430.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2007, December 4). Got Sugar? Glucose Affects Our Ability To Resist Temptation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071203121430.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Got Sugar? Glucose Affects Our Ability To Resist Temptation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071203121430.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins