Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Average Person Spends Four hours of their Day Battling Temptation

I am reading a new book by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister & journalist John Tierney entitled Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. According to the authors, the average person spends four hours or more each day resisting temptation: Temptation to slack off at work and check facebook, to eat unhealthy foods, or even to engage in sex or other activities.

Does surfing the web to look for blog-fodder count as temptation? What if blogging is your job? Does it count as willpower then?

What temptations have you resisted lately, and which ones have you given in to?

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17 Comments:

Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

I've been a fan of the Baumeister/Tice team for a decade. I've emailed him at FSU for his insights, and have his book Losing Control, the classic work on self-regulation. If understanding the chemical mechanics of willpower is what you want to know, Roy is your man.

8:55 PM, August 31, 2011  
Blogger vanderleun said...

Well that would mean that the way to save 4 hours a day is to give in to temptation.

But seriously, that's the sort of claim that smacks of "We've got to say something attention getting no matter how bogus to get people to pay attention to our book" quote.

And I guess, in this case, it has worked briefly.

All I can say is that I am not going to be reading it. That sort of temptation I can resist in something under a nanosecond.

8:56 PM, August 31, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Sorry, both lists are too long and too personal.

Only 4 hours? Guess I'm above average.

11:09 PM, August 31, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Cigarettes.

8:58 AM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Stosh2 said...

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13)

Is this guy a science writer or a religion writer?

It appears he's talking about decision making.

I think pyschology has been trying to science-ify the insights of religion and philosophy for a long time.

Sometimes it is successful, sometimes not, but it's always brings a smile when they fall back on biblical language to make their points.

9:02 AM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

@Stosh2: It's called English. You don't own a copyright on it. Put away your sky fairy entitlement and grow up.

10:15 AM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Some of us can resist everything but temptation. (Including the temptation to read this blog. :-] )

12:13 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Stosh2 said...

ZP: I don't know what a sky fairy entitlement is. Me thinks thou speakest in tongues.

If you look at the history of psychology, it more or less tossed out 5,000+ years of human learning because it was not scientific in the modern European sense and started re-inventing the wheel. Sometimes with good results, sometimes with disasterous.

Freud's major battles were in the area of establishing the legitimacy of his approach, as were those who came after him in the field - pretty much up to the present.

They set themselves up in opposition to traditional learning and often attacked it quite vociferously and completely.

Looking at the history of the field and knowing their battles, I find the injection of old timey language into the 'science of decision' making sort of fun and a more than a little ironic.

My Matthew quote was meant to be an attention grabber. It worked. xpected.

12:46 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

my oldest boy's name is matthew but i'm not an advocate of sky fairies....and his middle name is blake, but not because i'm a luddite.

maybe we do struggle with temptation as much as that, i know i should be finishing my deck right now, but blogging can be distracting at times!

ok! enough, where's my hammer?

2:10 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Stosh2 --
"ZP: I don't know what a sky fairy entitlement is. Me thinks thou speakest in tongues."

Baloney. You brought religion into it.

"My Matthew quote was meant to be an attention grabber. It worked. xpected."

Ah... Just got to last line and now understand. You're the annoying thirteen year old Halo geek who flames in the background.

Mute.

2:10 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Mary said...

IF the work is getting done, the smartest employers know not to question one's personal choices.

Your "temptations" are another person's lifestyle, afterall.

The real shame is, in making your choices and directing your journey, when you look back at someone who has chosen differently -- and you are so jealous of their freedoms and path, that you try to cripple them with your own definition of "temptations".

(ie/ Think, the person who can manage a healthy diet without denying themselves. The person who can have successful relationships without all the traditional baggage that some embrace, in terms of children, roles, and family expectations. The person actually happy at work, despite not having the accolades or paychecks of others competing in the same field. If... )

Good luck with your blog, dr. helen! I enjoy reading, and commenting here too.

3:09 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Mary said...

ps. And I never think of (reading) you as an illicit temptation either, fwiw.

3:10 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It was a hellavu fight again today and I lost again. Twice.

10:34 PM, September 01, 2011  
Blogger Mary said...

Hm ... care to share what temptation that was DaDvocate?

And twice, at that?

:-)

6:45 AM, September 02, 2011  
Blogger Brother J said...

Lead me not into temptation for I can find it myself.

6:14 PM, September 02, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Four hours? Wow are most people lazy these days. I swear, I spend all day. See, can't even go a second without swearing. Doh! Did it again.

9:11 PM, September 02, 2011  
Blogger Stosh2 said...

Oligonicella: *Shrug* Ask yourself what issues does psychology / psychiatry deal with. What other fields of study deal with the same concerns and which dealt with them before there was such a thing a the field of pyschiatry.

Compare the profundity of each.

The point is understanding, not maintaining a bais.

The default lowest common denominator response these days is god-obsession - one way or the other. You're a good example.

The ability to quote scripture is known as 'general culture'. You may wish to look up the term and then try get some.

1:55 AM, September 04, 2011  

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