Willpower

Friday, November 13, 2009

A study by Northwestern University researchers has found that people trying to end addictions or unhealthy lifestyle choices shouldnt depend on willpower alone to get the job done. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the study in todays 60 Second Housecall.

People who rely on willpower to help them lose weight, quit smoking or stop other bad habits more often than not end up giving in to temptation.

A study by Northwestern University researchers found that people tend to overestimate their ability to resist strong urges, and that those who are most confident about their willpower are most likely to lose it.

A series of experiments was conducted on college students examining their reactions when exposed to temptation.

In one experiment, smokers who most strongly believed they could resist the urge to smoke were twice as likely to light up a cigarette as were smokers who perceived themselves as having low self-control.

In another test, hungry students more accurately predicted their ability to resist a future tempting snack than those who were not hungry, suggesting that the absence of hunger pangs makes people overconfident about their power over food.

Researchers say the findings should be of interest to the millions of people trying to overcome an addiction or living unhealthy lifestyles.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.