Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thinking abstractly may help to boost self-control

Date:
August 9, 2012
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Many of the long term goals people strive for -- like losing weight -- require us to use self-control and forgo immediate gratification. And yet denying our immediate desires in order to reap future benefits is often very hard for us to do. Psychologists now propose that the way people subjectively understand, or construe, events can influence self-control.

Many of the long term goals people strive for -- like losing weight -- require us to use self-control and forgo immediate gratification. And yet denying our immediate desires in order to reap future benefits is often very hard to do.

In a new article in the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers Kentaro Fujita and Jessica Carnevale of The Ohio State University propose that the way people subjectively understand, or construe, events can influence self-control.

Research from psychological science suggests that categorizing things abstractly into broad categories (called high-level construal) allows us to psychologically distance ourselves from the pushes and pulls of the immediate moment. This, in turn, makes us more sensitive to the broad implications of our behavior and leads us to show greater consistency between our values and our behavior.

For example, a dieter choosing based on immediately apparent differences between the choices (low-level construal) might focus on taste and opt for a candy bar over an apple. A dieter choosing on the basis of high-level construal, however, might view the choice in the broader terms of a choice between weight loss and hedonism, and opt for the apple.

The researchers draw together many strands of research to provide evidence for the role of these different kinds of construal in decisions involving self-control. They argue that research investigating the link between construal level and self-control is important and timely as some of the most pressing societal problems -- including obesity, addiction, debt -- are associated with failures of self-control.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Fujita, J. J. Carnevale. Transcending Temptation Through Abstraction: The Role of Construal Level in Self-Control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2012; 21 (4): 248 DOI: 10.1177/0963721412449169

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Thinking abstractly may help to boost self-control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809151351.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2012, August 9). Thinking abstractly may help to boost self-control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809151351.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Thinking abstractly may help to boost self-control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809151351.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) 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:
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