That Explains the Ice Cream and Beer August 11, 2014Posted by geoff in News.
Cool (but old) column on the way willpower and mental work tap the same finite resource in your brain, so you can’t think deeply and exercise self-control at the same time.
In 1999, Professor Baba Shiv (currently at Stanford) and his co-author Alex Fedorikhin did a simple experiment on 165 grad students.They asked half to memorize a seven-digit number and the other half to memorize a two-digit number. After completing the memorization task, participants were told the experiment was over, and then offered a snack choice of either chocolate cake or a fruit bowl.
The participants who memorized the seven-digit number were nearly 50% more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.
Researchers were astonished by a pile of experiments that led to one bizarre conclusion:
Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources.