Study uncovers the intricacies of the pursuit of higher self-control

March 26, 2018

Self-control is a central human capacity associated with a wide range of personal and societal advantages. In view of its benefits, increasing self-control among children and adults has been advocated as a remedy to many of society's ailments, from childhood obesity to adulthood criminal behavior.

Although widely considered highly beneficial, a recent review uncovers some disadvantages to high self-control. The review, published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science by Dr. Liad Uziel, of Bar-Ilan University's Department of Psychology, explores the intricacies of the pursuit of higher self-control.

"Not acknowledged enough are potential undesired personal and societal consequences associated with high self-control and with the pursuit of higher self-control. Examples include inflexible behavioral patterns, over-emphasis on norm-adherence at the expense of personal discretion, and strict emphasis on cold and rational thinking while overlooking intuition and emotional inputs. These tendencies carry all sorts of potentially problematic implications on information processing, decision-making, as well as social and interpersonal behavior of individuals high in self-control" says Dr. Uziel.

Uziel's review builds on his earlier empirical research, which concluded that wanting to have more self-control can actually be an obstacle to achieving more self-control. "There are studies showing that it is challenging to maintain high self-control over time. Intensive self-regulatory efforts can lead to all sorts of problems, including health problems associated with intense stress. On that background, wanting to have more self-control contributes additional stress, and, in the short-run, demotivates one and reduces one's belief that she or he can actually demonstrate good self-control," he says.

"Examining potential shortcomings of high self-control (and of the pursuit of higher self-control) will provide informed knowledge about what self-control can (and cannot) offer in terms of solving society's weaknesses," adds Uziel. "Adopting a such a broad and balanced perspective on self-control holds the promise to advance more effective approaches to utilize self-control in the service of individuals and societies," he concludes.

Bar-Ilan University

Related Childhood Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

A novel approach to childhood obesity prevention
A novel taxonomic approach to obesity prevention using existing U.S.

Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity
Probiotics may help children and adolescents with obesity lose weight when taken alongside a calorie-controlled diet, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020.

Study: COVID-19 lockdowns worsen childhood obesity
Lockdowns implemented across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted diet, sleep and physical activity among children with obesity, according to University at Buffalo research.

COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate childhood obesity
Public health scientists predict that school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States.

Biomarker in saliva predicts childhood obesity risk
The intriguing discovery, reported in the journal BMC Medical Genetics, supports ongoing efforts to identify biomarkers associated with the emergence of childhood obesity before body mass index (BMI) is designated as obese, said Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS, director of Pediatric Obesity Research at Monroe Carell Jr.

Does antibiotic use during pregnancy and infancy impact childhood obesity?
New findings published in Obesity reveal that use of antibiotics during pregnancy does not appear to affect children's weight in subsequent years, but use during infancy may increase their risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Study examines childhood weight and obesity in adolescence
A new Pediatric Obesity study reveals how excess weight at age 3 years was associated with a higher risk of being overweight or obese at age 15 years in a study of adolescents in Japan.

New study unravels the complexity of childhood obesity
In a new study led by the University of Notre Dame, researchers examined how various psychological characteristics of children struggling with their weight, such as loneliness, anxiety and shyness, combined with similar characteristics of their parents or guardians and family dynamics affect outcomes of nutritional intervention.

Impact of lifestyle behaviors in early childhood on obesity
Adhering to a healthy lifestyle at age 4 years is associated with a decreased risk of overweight, obesity, and abdominal obesity at 7 years, according to a study published in Pediatric Obesity.

Gut bacteria is key factor in childhood obesity
New information published by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health suggests that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.

Read More: Childhood Obesity News and Childhood Obesity Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to