Want to resist temptation? Just don't think about it!
Thinking versus temptation; one serves your long-term interest and the other provides immediate gratification, the questions is how do we control it?
chocolate hearts Photo: Courtesy
While women are sometimes accused of over-thinking certain decisions and men
are thought to sometimes rush straight in, a new study recently threw up a surprising
conclusion for both women and men everywhere: Don’t stop and think.
treats, beer, wine, potential partners; the list of temptations could go on, but at some point or another we
have the desire to not give in to our impulses and to adhere to the long-term
goals we have set ourselves.
The hardest part, of course, it not giving
in to temptation. It is here, however, that
we need to make sense of two contradictory bodies of literature according to a study by Loran Nordgren and Eileen Chou at
Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. "One shows that
the presence of temptation contorts cognition in ways that promote impulsive
behavior” and the others, says Nordgren shows that “temptation engages
protective [thought] processes that promote self-control.
Researchers have looked at the different tools we use,
including attention and “motivated valuation” – if the reward is high then our motivation should also be high.
In one experiment, 49 male students (in
committed relationships) were put in either a “hot” or “cool” state to see if
this had an effect on their temptation. The men were shown erotic films, to
create the “hot” effect, or a filmed fashion show to create the “cool” effect.
Researchers then observed how long they gazed at the images of attractive women.
Just a week later the men were told that the women were incoming students –
therefore, potentially available. The findings show that this time the men gazed
longer, leading to the conclusion that more temptation promoted less fidelity.
So what does this tell us
exactly? “When you’re craving and being tempted, your rationalization succumbs
and so, in a hot state, you have the devil on both shoulders” says