Peter Gollwitzer at the University of Konstanz. In one recent study he tested students’ ability to persevere with anagram tasks after they’d resisted laughing while watching comedy clips, thus leaving their willpower depleted. Those who followed the vague plan ‘I will find as many solutions as possible’ performed poorly on the anagram tasks as expected. However, willpower depletion had no such adverse effect on students who followed the additional, more detailed plan: ‘...And if I have solved one anagram, then I will immediately start work on the next!’. [For further information, visit Prof Gollwitzer's website where you will find links to many of his articles]
This post is part of the Research Digest's Sin Week. Each day for Seven days we'll be posting a confession, a new sin and a way to be good. The festivities coincide with the publication of a feature-length article on the psychology behind the Seven Deadly Sins in this month's Psychologist magazine.