Posts tagged "Ego Depletion"

Another (Holy) Week Ends: Unachievement, Damsels Reviews, Gastrodad Confessions, Youth Ministry, Music Snobs, Girls and Darth Vader

Another (Holy) Week Ends: Unachievement, Damsels Reviews, Gastrodad Confessions, Youth Ministry, Music Snobs, Girls and Darth Vader

1. At this point, you’ve likely seen Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek cover story on the “Crisis in Christianity”. While there’s regrettably little talk of salvation – which I’m not sure is really within the purview of such a piece – and the reference to Jefferson is a bit dubious, the overall diagnosis strikes me as sound. Sullivan’s conclusion is particularly stirring:

The crisis of Christianity is perhaps best captured in the new meaning of the word “secular.” It once meant belief in separating the spheres of faith and politics; it now means, for many, simply atheism. The ability to be faithful in…

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Part of the Machine Itself: Steven Pinker on Willpower

Part of the Machine Itself: Steven Pinker on Willpower

If you find yourself “fatigued” by all our recent talk of ego depletion – the discovery that self-control essentially functions like a muscle – I don’t blame you. The reason for all the hubbub is the release of Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s book, Willpower, which renowned Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker reviewed in this past Sunday’s NY Times. His take is pretty similar to ours, believe it or not, that the book (and accompanying research) represents a helpful re-conception of willpower, one that largely rejects the “free” part of modern notions of “free will.” As Pinker also notes, Baumeister and…

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Go Boost Yourself!

Go Boost Yourself!

Or don’t.

A little article from Everydayhealth.com, entitled “Boosting Your Willpower,” caught my eye the other day, and, lacking the willpower to resist reading articles about boosting my willpower, I read it. It reminded me of some of the stuff that we’ve been posting about ego depletion recently.

The gist of the article is: do these things (start small, start slow, build a support network, change your environment), and you will slowly boost you willpower, until, subsequently, you can conquer bad/develop good habits. It’s that easy. Period. A total “duh.”

But is it that easy?

As a theologian of the Cross, I can’t help…

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Understanding Decision Fatigue: Dieting, Shopping, Poverty and Willpower

Understanding Decision Fatigue: Dieting, Shopping, Poverty and Willpower

A veritable goldmine of relevant material in John Tierney’s “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?” in The NY Times Magazine this past week. We’ve written about “ego depletion” a number of times before – the verified psychological phenomenon of self-control being a depletable resource – but Tierney does a fine job of drawing out the implications, both positive and negative. Of particular note is the way compassion so automatically flows out of an understanding of the human will as having (severe) limitations. It comes through loud and clear, especially when he talks about how trade-off-related decision fatigue informs the cycle…

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Another Week Ends: Online Echo Chambers, Deathbed Regrets, Dylan at the Cross, MJ’s Bad, Singing Spiderman, Penmanship Psychology & Seinfeld

Another Week Ends: Online Echo Chambers, Deathbed Regrets, Dylan at the Cross, MJ’s Bad, Singing Spiderman, Penmanship Psychology & Seinfeld

1. A couple of articles that follow-up on the filter bubble phenomenon we posted on last week, both from The NY Times. The first is an editorial by Eli Pariser, “When The Internet Thinks It Knows You” and the second a slightly broader look at the issue, “The Trouble With The Echo Chamber Online.” While the issue is clearly an important one, the solutions being proposed – i.e. programmed diversity  – strikes me as a tad shallow. That is, there’s clearly a resistance to the idea that we might actually be culpable in our selective listening/browsing in a way that…

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Controlling Your Self Control: Temptation, Ego-Depletion and the Limits of Willpower

Controlling Your Self Control: Temptation, Ego-Depletion and the Limits of Willpower

 One of the main limits on willpower, though, turns out to be…willpower. Exerting self-control in one domain makes it harder to exert self-control in another, at least right away.

Thus reads a line from the article “Resisting Temptation” in The Observer (the magazine put out by the Association of Psychological Science). The piece summarizes some of the most interesting research in psychology. Another excerpt:

In a study led by APS Fellow Roy Baumeister (Florida State University), a group of hungry participants was forbidden from eating freshly baked cookies sitting on a plate in front of them and made to eat radishes instead….

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