You have a finite fuel tank for control

Study: Take a bunch of people and put them in a movie theater. Then, play the nastiest movie possible. In this case it was the Japanese horror film “Audition” (I had personally never heard of it but from the description, am actually scared to watch the trailer, haha).

Anyways, tell half the audience to do what they normally would: squirm, scream, close their eyes, shudder, whatever. Tell the others to sit on their hands and try as hard as possible to endure the movie without flinching.
Then stick ’em all in a room with a bunch of booze. Guess what happens? The people that had to force themselves to not react, the ones that had to control themselves, have about 2 times more drinks than the other group.

The study gets at the fact that the human brain has a finite amount of ‘control energy’ and when it’s been expended in stressful situations, the tank becomes empty. So ya, da’s coooo.

But what’s more interesting about this is its implications on the decisions based around stress in our lives. Most people want to lead better lives in some respect. But doing so requires controlling those unwanted impulses. And control requires a tank with some gas in it. So to be a better person, the first step is to decrease stress in your life, then use the resulting gas in the tank to be a badass, haha.

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1 Comment

Filed under All posts, Thoughts, studies and science

One response to “You have a finite fuel tank for control

  1. Elizabeth

    An example that comes to my mind are people that are very controlled in their public lives and then blow their fuse in their personal life. It’s like they’ve used up their ability to control themselves and then lose it for some insignificant matter. Or road rage. Another example is Japanese culture where the rules of public etiquette are very strict, but it is also known for some very odd behaviours in private life where one would least expect it. This study can reminds those of us that are people-pleasers of the importance to speak one’s mind and be assertive in daily life so as to have the patience and self-control for the important things when those qualities are truly needed. An excellent illustration and reminder.

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