Search the Site

Search Results for: willpower



Episode 200

When Willpower Isn’t Enough

Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn’t always work out. That’s where “temptation bundling” comes in.

Episode 200

When Willpower Isn’t Enough (Replay)

Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn’t always work out. That’s where “temptation bundling” comes in.

Episode 89

How Valuable Is Enthusiasm?

What’s the difference between willpower and eagerness? Is there a lifehack that can make you zestier? And could it help Stephen improve his golf game?…

Because Parenting Is Hard Enough on Its Own

Photo: iStockphoto We’ve blogged before about the limits of willpower, the idea that “willpower itself is inherently limited.” A new essay by Sendhil Mullainathan and Saugato Datta speculates on the…



The Menstrual Theory of Impulse Buying

Recent research on willpower suggests that it’s a limited resource that can be depleted. Now there’s evidence that something else affects willpower: women’s menstrual cycles. A new study by Karen…



How Not to Keep a Resolution

Before you commit to those New Year’s resolutions, you might want to read Jonah Lehrer‘s recent article on the limitations of willpower. “Most of us assume that self-control is largely…



Daylight Savings Time and "Cyberloafing"

…research adds on to an existing body of work on willpower as a limited resource, which we’ve blogged about before. Open question: does reading Freakonomics at work count as cyberloafing?…



Episode 417

Reasons to Be Cheerful (Replay)

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?

Episode 83

Can You Change Your Mind Without Losing Face?

What is the cost of admitting you’re wrong? How can intellectual humility make you more open minded? And will Stephen finally persuade Angela that rum-raisin is the best flavor of…

Episode 417

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?

Episode 9

Why Is It So Hard to Be Alone With Our Thoughts?

Also: how do you avoid screwing up your kids?

Episode 113

How Can You Improve Your Mental Endurance?

Why do some activities tire your brain more than others? How exhausting is poverty? And could most of the world’s problems be solved with a sandwich?…

Drunk Driving: Is the Glass Half-Empty?

…civilizations hadn’t come crashing to the ground thanks to less drinking and driving. More could be done if we really had the willpower, and next time I’ll discuss some measures…






For Self-Control, Try a Dog Biscuit?

New research indicates that dogs and humans have some things in common in the willpower department. Psychologists found that for dogs, as for humans, “self-control is a limited resource, one…



Did March Madness Make You More or Less Productive?

…research on the limited nature of willpower, and suggests occasional brief “Internet breaks” for employees. Readers, what do you think? Does the internet make you more or less productive at…



Selling My Addiction

…for taking this risk.?? Behavioralists tend to think that the only people who would sign up for a stickK contract are those people who have a willpower problem AND are…




Episode 207

Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?

One man’s attempt to remake his life in the mold of homo economicus.

Episode 38

The Church of “Scionology”

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

Episode 38

The Church of “Scionology” (Replay)

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

Episode 72

Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors

What do you do when smart people keep making stupid mistakes? And: are we a nation of financial illiterates? This is a “mashupdate” of “Is America Ready for a “No-Lose…

Episode 339

The Future of Freakonomics Radio

After eight years and more than 300 episodes, it was time to either 1) quit, or 2) make the show bigger and better. We voted for number 2. Here’s a…

Episode 60

Save Me From Myself (Replay)

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode 60

Save Me From Myself

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode 58

What Do Hand-Washing and Financial Illiteracy Have in Common?

Education is the surest solution to a lot of problems. Except when it’s not.