Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Overdoing It? Simple Techniques Can Help Avoid Overindulgence

Date:
March 2, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Some people overindulge on junk foods or needless shopping sprees when they feel depressed. Others lose control the minute they feel happy. Is there a way to avoid such extreme actions? A new study demonstrates simple techniques that can help people act in their long-term interests rather than indulging in immediate pleasures.

Some people overindulge on junk foods or needless shopping sprees when they feel depressed. Others lose control the minute they feel happy. Is there a way to avoid such extreme actions? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates simple techniques that can help people act in their long-term interests rather than indulging in immediate pleasures.

"The recipe is simple," write authors Aparna A. Labroo (University of Chicago) and Anirban Mukhopadhyay (University of Michigan). "If you are feeling happy, focus on reasons why those feelings will last, and if you are feeling unhappy, focus on reasons why those feelings will pass."

The authors explain that indulgence is often a result of people trying to improve their mood. People tend to indulge themselves when they believe their happy feelings might pass unless they do something to prolong the good feeling. Others feel miserable and believe they'll be stuck with the blues unless they do something to improve their mood.

"People strategically manage their actions both to accomplish their long-term interests and to attain immediate pleasures. If they believe they need to take action to regulate their feelings in the here and now, they tend to indulge in immediate pleasures. In contrast, if they believe such actions are not required, they act in their long-term interests," write the authors.

In one study, the authors presented participants (who were dieters) with line drawings of either smiley or frowny faces. "The results revealed that simply associating a smiley with less transience (coloring with a superfine micro tip, which takes a long time to color, rather than a sharpie, which colors the face in a few short strokes) resulted in people becoming more likely to act their long-term interests and choose an apple as a snack rather than a chocolate," write the authors.

Next time your misery makes you reach for the hot fudge, take a moment to think about how the feelings will pass. "Simply thinking life is not so bad might actually help you make your life a little better by helping you make a healthy food choice," the researchers conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aparna A. Labroo and Anirban Mukhopadhyay. Lay Theories of Emotion Transience and the Search for Happiness: A Fresh Perspective on Affect Regulation. Journal of Consumer Research, 2009; 0 (0): 090114112928060 DOI: 10.1086/597159

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Overdoing It? Simple Techniques Can Help Avoid Overindulgence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223221445.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, March 2). Overdoing It? Simple Techniques Can Help Avoid Overindulgence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223221445.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Overdoing It? Simple Techniques Can Help Avoid Overindulgence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223221445.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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