All About Self-Control

Self-control separates us from our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom, thanks to our large prefrontal cortices. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions, and we can refrain from doing things we'll regret. We can also take advantage of these innately human abilities by developing wisdom and willpower.

Recent Posts on Self-Control

The Curious Connection Between Distraction and Impulsivity

By David DiSalvo on August 01, 2015 in Neuronarrative
Science is steadily uncovering a link between handicapped working memory resources and handicapped impulse control, with all its unfortunate shortcomings.

The Archeology of Misbehavior

Archeology is the study of human activity in the past. The archeology of misbehavior is studying current behavior to uncover hidden sources. The “ruins” of misdeeds are built upon personality architecture and cultural landscapes.

Improving Self-Control by Enhancing Working Memory

Successful self-control involves the active maintenance of goals and goal-relevant information in working memory.

No Regrets

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on July 24, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
What regrets do you have? Although I’ve heard that we should live with “No Regrets,” I suspect we all have a list of regrets. Regrets invade our thoughts, occupy our minds, and keep us thinking about the things we wish we had done differently. But there may be ways to barricade your mind and stop ruminating about your regrets.

5 Things We Know for Sure About Raising Great Kids

Research has been following children from babyhood to adulthood for decades, so we actually know what works to raise great kids. Here are the five most important things.

There Must Be a Good Reason

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 22, 2015 in On Having Fun
A game to play with yourself before you start hating people.

Why "Making Learning Fun" Fails

What happens if we teach children that learning is supposed to be fun?

Tribes Always Triumph

By Paddy Steinfort on July 19, 2015 in Quick Wins
In adversity, tribes support each other in many ways - some of which research has shown increase willpower and resilience

When Your Child's Anger Triggers You

When tempers are fraying at your house, who has the power to calm the storm? You. But you can't do that if you're in a state of emergency. Unfortunately, many of us forget that parenting is rarely an emergency. When our child gets defiant, we feel an urgent need to take action. So we rush in, sirens blaring, and instead of a minor squall, we create a tsunami.

5 Reasons We Act Impulsively

We need to treat willpower as a limited and important resource.

The Double-Edged Sword of Self-Control

For some people, self-control may act as a “double-edged sword" that leads to external success but speeds up the aging process at an epigenetic level.

Three Tips for Discipline Without Desperation

You may feel that no discipline of any kind has ever worked with your child. If so, you are certainly not the only one who feels that way.

How Zoning Out Benefits Your Present and Your Future

By Josh Davis Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 in Your Mental Toolkit
Contrary to what we've always been told, we don't mind-wander enough. Research shows a number of benefits to mind-wandering in the realms of creative problem solving, planning, and holding out for something better in the future. With our devices pouring information into us constantly, we block out the important background processing that occurs when we mind-wander.

Color Me Bored and Creative and Calm

Relearn the art of art and the ability to just sit and be.

The Teen Brain

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on July 09, 2015 in The Teenage Mind
Recent brain scan imaging research explains risky behavior in adolescents as a failure of emotional and logical centers of the brain to communicate with each other. Normal adolescent growth improves neural connectivity explaining improved self-control by the middle twenties.

Dysregulation: A New DSM Label for Childhood Rages

The disorder, which is meant to distinguish intense temper outbursts from bipolar disorder, describes children who lash out for a host of reasons.

Arousal: Must It Mean Fear and Danger?

We can feel fear when safe. We can feel no fear when in danger. It takes more than feelings to determine whether we are safe or not. A sophisticated system hosted in the pre-frontal cortex does that.

You Will Get Closer to Your Children By NOT Doing This.....

The best discipline you can give your child is having the self-discipline to not make this very common parenting mistake.

Parenting Without Punishment: A Humanist Perspective, Part 3

Tragically, since recorded history corporal punishment has been the “default” system for disciplining children. In the past century, however, evidence demonstrating its ineffectiveness has mounted to the degree that it can no longer—whether ethically or pragmatically—be justified. It’s therefore regrettable that today it's still common in the U.S.

You Are Your Child’s “First Verb”

"First Verb Parenting" sees parents as a “child’s first verb”---loving action figures giving meaning, direction, guidance, and linking---to children, their attentive subjects.

Do Boys Need Rough and Tumble Play?

Why do boys wrestle and play pretend fighting? Do all boys do this? Should we view it as violence or innocent fun?

How to Finish What You Start

Practically everybody has started something that they've put off finishing. What's your main unfinished task? Can you use extra help?

What's the Real Purpose of Classroom Management?

By Alfie Kohn on June 25, 2015 in The Homework Myth
Is it possible that "managing" the classroom -- that is, controlling the students -- isn't always done in order to facilitate teaching but instead has become (for some educators) the ultimate goal, with the academic content chosen to achieve that goal?

Parenting Without Punishment: A Humanist Perspective, Part 2

Given the particular situation, children (like all the rest of us) are doing the best they’re capable of. So what are some ways that parents might effectively confront their child’s annoying, hazardous, or otherwise troublesome behavior—without, that is, having to punish them for it?

ART in ASD, Part One

Could imbalance in the autonomic nervous system explain the complexity and heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Could teaching kids and families affected by ASD skills in autonomic regulation broadly improve comfort and functioning? This is the first of three blog posts on our work at the Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation at RIT.

Behavioral Economics—An Exercise in Design and Humility

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in Consumed
What's the state of your bad decision making? Read Dan Ariely's exclusive take on irrationality and its consequences.

Feeling Bad? Here's What You Shouldn't Do.

Overcompensating for failure could be your downfall.

Preparing to Serve

All sub-disciplines of psychology are represented in the general field of military psychology. Thus, the field offers opportunities for psychologists with interest in clinical practice, teaching, basic and applied research, and consulting.

9 Scientific Strategies for Healthy Weight Without Dieting

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on June 20, 2015 in Living Single
The best way to achieve your "leanest livable weight" is to forsake dieting, give up on summoning that elusive willpower, and use the findings from social science to change your environments and your ways of thinking about food. The strategies are based on research, not some bogus fad.

How Do You Handle Money?

By Michael F. Kay on June 18, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
Do you get your financial information from the ACME School of Investing and Planning?