Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does clenching your muscles increase willpower?

Date:
October 19, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
The next time you feel your willpower slipping as you pass that mouth-watering dessert case, tighten your muscles. A new study says firming muscles can shore up self-control.

The next time you feel your willpower slipping as you pass that mouth-watering dessert case, tighten your muscles. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says firming muscles can shore up self-control.

Authors Iris W. Hung (National University of Singapore) and Aparna A. Labroo (University of Chicago) put study participants through a range of self-control dilemmas that involved accepting immediate pain for long-term gain. In one study, participants submerged their hands in an ice bucket to demonstrate pain resistance. In another, participants consumed a healthy but awful-tasting vinegar drink. In a third experiment, study participants decided whether to look at disturbing information about injured children devastated by an earthquake in Haiti and donate money to help. And in a final study, researchers observed actual food choices people made as they shopped for lunch at a local cafeteria.

"Participants who were instructed to tighten their muscles, regardless of which muscles they tightened -- hand, finger, calf, or biceps -- while trying to exert self-control demonstrated greater ability to withstand the pain, consume the unpleasant medicine, attend to the immediately disturbing but essential information, or overcome tempting foods," the authors write.

The authors found that the muscle tightening only helped when the choice aligned with the participants' goals (for example, to have a healthier lifestyle). They also found that the tightening of muscles only helped at the moment people faced the self-control dilemma. (If they did it beforehand, they felt depleted by the time it was time to make a choice.)

For example, in one study, health-conscious participants drank more of a health tonic (one part vinegar, 10 parts water) while they were tightening their muscles and drinking the healthy tonic. Those who were less health conscious were not affected by muscle tightening.

"The mind and the body are so closely tied together, merely clenching muscles can also activate willpower," the authors write. "Thus simply engaging in these bodily actions, which often result from an exertion of willpower, can serve as a non-conscious source to recruit willpower, facilitate self-control, and improve consumer wellbeing."


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. Iris W. Hung and Aparna A. Labroo. From Firm Muscles to Firm Willpower: Understanding the Role of Embodied Cognition in Self-Regulation. Journal of Consumer Research, 2010; (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Does clenching your muscles increase willpower?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018163110.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2010, October 19). Does clenching your muscles increase willpower?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018163110.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Does clenching your muscles increase willpower?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018163110.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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