Have you ever had a rough day at work and then just decided to treat yourself to multiple hours of reality TV with your best friends, Ben and Jerry? What about those days from H-E-double hockey sticks that makes you want to go out to the bar and grab a drink? Are these just methods for you to relax or are they neurological functions that are being expressed after strenuous activity?
In my last post, I talked about having the free will to do what you want to do. This week, Jonah Lehrer from WIRED talked about where bad moods come from. He explained that an urge to indulge at the end of the day is from a psychological condition known as ego depletion. Ego depletion occurs after continuous self-control. So if you’re working really hard all day, this gives you the want to treat yourself right. I mean, you’re worth it, right?
Having more self control can lead to becoming irritable more easily. Current research shows that when given the choice between a chocolate bar and an apple, the subjects who chose the apple were more likely to watch movies (Anger Management compared to Billy Madison) often associated with anger.
But the real problem with this study is two-fold. Anyone who would ever choose an apple over a bar of chocolate has serious psychological issues in the first place. Moreover, let’s take a step back and examine their choice in movies. Anger Management? Billy Madison? Who conducted this study? Middle school boys?
All in all, we can still learn something from this. We can learn that ‘giving in’ to the cast of Jersey Shore each night could have beneficial affects on your neuropsychological being by freeing up ‘will power’ for when you might actually need it. Looks like it’s T-Shirt Time!