Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New York Times columnist John Tierney and the director of the social psychology program at Florida State University, Roy F. Baumeister, explore the neglected power of self-control, new studies that show it can be strengthened like a muscle, and other ideas from their book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.


Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Comments [17]

Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

@udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Yeah, never mind.

Sep. 28 2011 12:42 PM
udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Never mind, I just think that its interesting to think about race and social difference.

The book seems great . It would be great to know how to optimize use of will power!

Sep. 28 2011 12:27 PM
udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Hi Amy,

Yes, there are probs with IQ tests, but whether or not we take a nature or nurture or mixed view of the cause of the scores, they are correlated with a host of other social facts from health to income, so it is not obviously false to think that IQ scores could be positively correlated with will power. So since East Asians have an above average score, why not think that they could have an above average will power.

Sep. 28 2011 12:22 PM
udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Hi Sophie!

They said that willpower was correlated with scores on IQ tests, so why is it strange to think that East Asians -who do well on such tests- would also score high on will-power? This could then be used as part of an explanation of their success.
What is unreasonable about this hypothesis? It might be false, but its not irrational as you seem to think.

Sep. 28 2011 12:15 PM
Amy from Manhattan

udo, seriously? Where did you get the idea that IQ had anything to do w/will power? I didn't hear either of the guests say that.

And I was going to put that in terms of intelligence & say it was a racist characterization, but I reread your comment & realized you only talked about IQ scores. I hope you realize that measured IQ isn't the same as actual intelligence & that those tests can be biased & performance on them can be influenced by the conditions people grow up in.

Sep. 28 2011 12:13 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I thought addiction recovery programs taught that it doesn't work to decide you won't drink/take drugs "any more"--that it's a day at a time, & you decide each day that you won't drink/take drugs that day.

Sep. 28 2011 12:01 PM
Nick from UWS

When addicts give their recovery over to "a higher power", they may think they are letting "God" take over their recovery.

What actually happens is that when they do this, they by default stop taking drugs, thinking that they themselves don't have the will power to do it, only God does.

That's what matters, that they physically stop doing it. If they want to think that God is doing it and later attribute it to God, it doesn't matter. But actually they did it themselves, all the while thinking God was doing it.

Sep. 28 2011 11:58 AM
Thomas from Nj

How does glucose leveLS in diabetics affect self control?

Sep. 28 2011 11:57 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

@udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Seriously? What planet did you step off of?
Obviously you're trying to provoke with such a stupid statement.

Sep. 28 2011 11:56 AM

Confused about what willpower actually is? Can you define it?

Is it the power to say "No I won't!" or, the power to say, "Yes I will!"?

Sep. 28 2011 11:55 AM
Jwb from NYC

What about ADD/ADHT medications? How do they factor into "impulse-control" and willpower "boosting"?

Sep. 28 2011 11:54 AM
Ilene from Weehawken

Are there tools to develop self-control/will power for a middle aged person with a history of not developing these powers very well?

Sep. 28 2011 11:53 AM
udo dirkenschneider from Fort Greene


Has there been any studies about race and will power?
East Asians score high on IQ tests, are not overweight as muchetc. and e.g. Blacks score low on IQ and are more overweight, so can we predict that East Asians have MORE will power?

Sep. 28 2011 11:53 AM
JWB from NYC

What about ADD/ADHD and "impulse-control" medications? How do they factor into it?

Sep. 28 2011 11:52 AM
Gabriel Hunter from NYC

What does this mean for diabetics?

Sep. 28 2011 11:50 AM
R from manhattan

I read about the cookie experiment ....could it have been that the cookies were more filling than the radishes?

I'm a vegetarian, but if I'm hungry and I pass the Halal food cart, I don't care what species that meat is, it makes me run to get food!

Sep. 28 2011 11:49 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

I have no interest in willpower--life is too short! I want it and I want it NOW! ;~)

Sep. 28 2011 11:46 AM

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