Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess

Temptation : Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess ebook
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NEW or Recently Added! A Secure Site. This book is a call to arms for us to exercise more self-control against all the temptations that constantly surround us -- and enable us to be happier and healthier. All rights reserved. Akst manages to cover an astonishing amount of ground in this, his study of self-control. He draws from the ancient Greek poets and philosophers, the Judeo-Christian tradition, enlightenment thinkers, psychologists classical and modern, founding fathers, novels, and lots of contemporary psychology, sociology, and neuroscience.

The sheer amount of information he brings in is staggering, and he manages to keep all of it engaging and pertinent to the subject and the reader.

Why won't you like this book, though? Two reasons: the first is if you'd like to gain more selfcontrol. You're not likely to find much here in the way of practical advice here, unless you'd like to hear the song of the sirens as you sail past them without throwing yourself into the sea. The final chapter gives a few pieces of advice, but this is by no means a self-help book.

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If that's what you're looking for, you'll be disappointed. Despite inequitably distributed chemical and neurological advantages and disadvantages Akst insists that humans bear some responsibility for the choices they make and the situations in which they find themselves, whether that is poverty or obesity. Lest you cheer at the thought of someone championing personal responsibility, though, be forewarned that Akst would also like to see the government step in to curtail humans' environmental impact, to make healthy foods cheaper and unhealthy foods more expensive, and is a fan of universal, governmentprovided health care.

Why, then, should you read this book? If nothing else, it is a delightful read, and will help you dust the cobwebs off of your liberal-arts education. By tying together millenia of brilliant thought through the thread of self-control Akst humanizes some of that vast body of knowledge to which many of us committed ourselves for years. Review 4: Good read but at the end of the day nothing astonishing.

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On the basis of theories of automaticity, drinking that the study would involve several tasks as well as various questionnaires cues should trigger the intention to drink in heavy drinkers assessing demographic information, drinking behavior, and attitudes. Each Tiffany, All participants were tested between 2 p. In these experimental situations, the participants do not concentration was measured using an alcohol breath analyzer Intoxilyzer; drink, however e.

Overriding an urge to drink produced by exposure to a tempting Before the cue exposure paradigm, participants completed a demo- substance likely requires the individual to exert self-control, which graphic questionnaire that included information about drinking behaviors should lead to a loss of self-control strength. The scale also measured typical use of drugs other impair subsequent self-control performance. More specifically, the than alcohol.

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Re- sponses were made on a 9 point-scale from 1 never to 9 always. The to drink should be related to self-control outcomes above and TRI has five factors, which combine to form two higher order factors: beyond the effects of mood or arousal.

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Because we were was composed of five blocks, each consisting of 64 trials, with a short primarily interested in how resisting the temptation to drink alcohol relates break between blocks. Consistent with previous work with the stop signal, to subsequent self-control outcomes, we focused on the TRI-CEP factor.

After completing the preexperimental questionnaires, to the square was recalculated within the stop signal program on each trial. Participants were exposed to water and blocks. Mean reaction time was used to ensure that the difficulty of the task alcohol the order of exposure was counterbalanced across participants. Participants then listened to a 4-min prerecorded tape with a series of and presentation of , , , and ms trials was randomized bell rings the duration between rings varied, with a mean of 15 s. Every within each block.

The number of correct responses no key hits when the time the bell rang, the participants were to lift the glass and smell the tone sounded was the outcome of this measure minimum of 0, maximum beverage for a few seconds before putting the glass back down. Participants of Participants were instructed to squeeze a handgrip the drink, in order to increase the self-control demands of the task. In a exerciser and try to maintain their grip for as long as they could. The idea is to resist if you can.

Previous research has suggested that handgrip squeezing No participant drank. Immediately after each cue exposure trial, partici- duration correcting for physical strength is strongly related to perfor- pants completed three questionnaires. This Thornton, Responses were made on a 7-point scale squeezing the handles is tiring for the hand muscles, participants must exert ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. The scale has self-control in order to overcome the urge to release the grip. Furthermore, the Alcohol-Urge Questionnaire has been handgrip longer than individuals low in self-control capacity.

The Results scale loads on two factors: valence pleasantness— unpleasantness and arousal aroused— calm. Items consist of 16 adjectives depicting various Response to Alcohol and Water mood states e. The manipulation check consisted The self-reported urge to drink of nine questions designed for this experiment to assess interest, difficulty, after sniffing alcohol correlated significantly with both temptation and pleasantness of the task.

In other words, the urge to Items were measured on a point response continuum ranging from 1 drink was stronger after sniffing alcohol than after sniffing water, not at all to 30 very much.

The results also indicate that the stronger the urge, the erized self-stopping task and a physical handgrip measure. The order of more effort participants reported exerting at resisting the tempta- these two measures was counterbalanced. Self-stopping task. The stop signal task is a self-stopping cognitive test For these and all subsequent analyses, there was no main effect of inhibition that requires participants to respond as quickly as possible to for order e. Hence, the square that appeared on the screen, relative to an initial fixation point.

If the different order of tasks was pooled in the analyses.

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Similarly, there square appeared on the right of that point, they were to press the question were no main effects or meaningful interactions with demographic mark key? Participants were asked to respond as quickly and analyses were not separated by subgroup. That is, if they heard the tone, they should not hit any key on the keyboard when the Stop Signal square appeared.

This further supports the idea that performance on the stop signal task is related to how hard participants worked at 0. Percentage of responses inhibited on stop signal task after temptation to drink split at the median. Individuals who were sniffing alcohol and water based on the interval of the stop signal tone higher in trait temptation and thus drank more on average, had a before mean reaction time. No tone trials reflect percentage of correct higher SMAST score, and were more likely to binge performed responses. The effect of temptation on performance after sniffing water was much weaker.

Although there was a significant difference the results presented above: The stronger the temptation to drink, in performance at each stop signal tone interval, multivariate F 1, the less likely that the person could inhibit a response. On the other hand, if trials ing alcohol and stop signal performance. Controlling for order of task sound, participants were less able to stop themselves from hitting e. Controlling for gender in an analysis of covariance to right side of the screen , performance is unaffected by sniffing alcohol.

Temptation : finding self-control in an age of excess, Daniel Akst

Steven Pinker. Customers who bought this item also bought. Michael Wolff. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change. Your inbox is analogous to a cocaine pellet dispenser, says Ferriss. Temptation reminds us that while more calories, sex, and intoxicants are readily available than ever before, crucial social constraints have eroded, creating a world that sorely tests the limits of human willpower. Item s unavailable for purchase.

Only when the task requires self-control preventing one- self from responding is performance affected by sniffing alcohol. The results discussed below were largely the same when After alcohol exposure each stop signal interval was considered separately. As shown on Table 1, urge to Step 2.

Indeed, performance on the stop signal task was unrelated to mood and arousal but was related to urge. The results Step 1. Stop signal performance after sniffing water was similarly un- Note. Implications 55 The present findings may help explain how resisting temptations affects performance on a variety of tasks.

Being exposed to a tempting substance, like when social drinkers have to look at, sniff, and imagine drinking their preferred alcoholic beverage without drinking it, likely triggers an automatic inclination to drink it Tiffany, Making the decision not to drink under such 50 Water Alcohol competing responses may require self-control Heather, , and this exertion of self-control may deplete self-control capacity. Figure 2. Correct responses on stop signal measure after sniffing water In other words, fighting against a temptation, such as the urge to and alcohol for individuals high and low in trait temptation to drink alcohol drink or smoke, may put individuals at risk for a subsequent loss Temptation and Restraint Inventory—Cognitive and Emotional Preoccupa- of self-control.

For example, drinkers who suppressed their urge to tion, split at median. Similarly, research has found that smokers who had ab- alcohol and water on subsequent self-control performance do not stained from cigarettes for 24 hr ate more ice cream than partici- appear to be moderated by mood or arousal. Urge to drink the water did not eating i.

Unlike the same amount. The increased eating that occurred only in the stop signal, trait temptation did not moderate handgrip perfor- dieters suggests that controlling the urge to smoke undermines mance after sniffing alcohol. No other individual difference mod- self-control. Discussion Table 2 After sniffing alcohol, social drinkers performed more poorly on Multiple Regression Predictors of Handgrip Squeezing two different and otherwise unrelated tasks than after sniffing Performance After Sniffing Water and Alcohol water.

That is, after being exposed to the sight and smell of their Predictor B SE t R2 typical alcoholic beverage but not drinking it, social drinkers were less able to stop themselves from responding when a tone sounded After alcohol exposure and were less able to overcome physical fatigue and discomfort to squeeze a handgrip. These effects were stronger for people who are Step 1. The results are in agreement with the arguments of the Step 2.

After water exposure Further analysis indicated that the negative relationship between resisting a temptation and subsequent self-control performance Step 1.


The within-person design participants sniffed both water and alcohol further reinforced the Note. Journal of Person- regulation of alcohol intake emerges. Resisting the urge to drink ality and Social Psychology, 74, — Losing control: self-control performance. At the same time, individuals lower in How and why people fail at self-regulation. Bensley, L. The heightened role of external responsiveness in and are more likely to drink to excess and violate self-imposed the alcohol consumption of restrained drinkers.

Cognitive Therapy and drinking limits. This presents a troubling model of how fighting a Research, 13, —