Nav: Home

Strategic indulgence key to maximizing the college experience

August 22, 2018

Washington, DC - Want to maximize the college experience? It's not just about grades. High performing students, as measured by their grade point average (GPA), are also good at making decisions so that they can enjoy college game days without hurting their academic performance. These students make good strategic decisions in their time use, according to new research recently published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Previous research on academic achievement has focused on avoiding temptations to maximize performance results. In the context of college sports, in particular, it has been shown that spending time on game-related activities is related to poor learning outcomes. Yet engaging in non-academic activities, including social gatherings around college sports, can build social identity as well as improve self esteem and psychological well-being.

This study shows that "instead of avoiding temptations like a plague, students can make plans to enjoy them without compromising the overall long-term goal pursuit," says Lile Jia, a social psychologist at the National University of Singapore.

The key to balance, suggests Jia, is being selective about when to indulge, and making plans to compensate for the indulgence.

In their research, Jia and colleagues compared the decision-making process of high GPA students and low GPA students leading up to, during, and after a college basketball game day. In a series of three studies, they compared anywhere from 216 to 530 high and low GPA students.

The experiences represented in the studies included watching the game on television, meeting up with friends or actually attending a game.

The high GPA students in the studies made choices to balance their study time around game days and social activities, while low GPA students did not demonstrate such strategic balancing. While making a "strategic indulgence" choice, the high GPA students reported more enjoyment when they engaged in game-related activities, as they planned other times to study and stayed focused on their long-term academic goals.

Can people who are not great at making these "strategic indulgence" choices learn these habits?

"It's possible," says Jia. He says more studies are needed to see how others can get better at engaging in non-academic activities such as college sports in a "smart" way and be better decision makers in long term goal pursuits.
-end-


Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Related Psychological Articles:

Ritual suffering improves psychological well-being
Extreme ritual practices involving pain and suffering pose significant risks such as injury, trauma, or infection.
Psychological support 'not available' to one in three cancer patients who need it
People with cancer have trouble accessing appropriate psychological support, a new global report by the All.Can international cancer initiative reveals.
Psychological model of defectologist's readiness for professional development
In this new paper, the researchers theorize that professional competences of a defectologist (a Russian term for educators engaged in assisted teaching for disabled individuals) rely on their psychological readiness for such a profession.
When is sexting associated with psychological distress among young adults?
While sending or receiving nude electronic images may not always be associated with poorer mental health, being coerced to do so and receiving unwanted sexts was linked to a higher likelihood of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, according to a new study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Even psychological placebos have an effect
Placebo effects do not only occur in medical treatment -- placebos can also work when psychological effects are attributed to them.
How psychological science is benefiting the world
Technological advances have allowed psychological scientists to measure everything from cognitive impairments to everyday decision-making.
Psychological distress is a risk factor for dementia
A new study suggests that vital exhaustion -- which can be perceived as an indicator of psychological distress -- is a risk factor for future risk of dementia.
New study provides clinicians with better analysis of psychological flexibility
New research from the University of Chichester, published in Behavior Modification, has for the first time analyzed degrees of psychological flexibility and identified three distinct classes.
What influences a person's psychological boundaries?
Professor Sofya Nartova-Bochaver of the Higher School of economics and colleagues from universities in Armenia and China conducted a comparative analysis of the psychological boundaries of individuals living in different countries.
Psychological science can make your meetings better
Meetings are the bane of office life for many professionals but they don't have to be.
More Psychological News and Psychological Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab