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A trio of researchers from China and the U.S. has conducted a study that offers possible evidence of a way to improve self-control—by consistently engaging in self-control acts. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jianxin Wang, Yulei Rao and Daniel Houser describe experiments they carried out with volunteers meant to test the idea that people could improve their willpower regarding one activity by periodically engaging in another.

Most people have a reasonably clear idea of how good they are at resisting temptations—some are able to have a single beer at a bar before heading home, for example, while others cannot seem to resist having many. In this new effort, the researchers have designed an experiment to find out if practicing impulse control might make people better at it.

The experiment consisted of enlisting two types of volunteers to serve as measures—those who were tolerant of alcohol and those who were not. Those who were tolerant were considered the norm, while those who were intolerant were the kind of people who find themselves wobbling around after just one drink. Prior research has shown that people who are intolerant often find themselves saying no when offered a drink because of the known repercussions—thus, because of their nature, they have had to practice a form of self-control on a fairly regular basis.

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https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-self-control.html

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