Chapter

The Self Out of Control

Mark R. Leary

in The Curse of the Self

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172423
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786756 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172423.003.0008
 The Self Out of Control

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Most people believe that they can solve many of the problems discussed in the book through self-control, making themselves behave in ways that are conducive to their health and happiness by force of will. Of course, people sometimes exercise sufficient self-restraint to override the self's natural maladaptive inclinations. Yet, as we all know, there are limits to what people can make themselves do, and people are often unable to control their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as they desire. Many personal and social problems (such as aggression, addiction, unprotected sex, overeating, and deindividuation) result from self-regulation failure. This chapter deals with the nature of self-regulation and with the question of why people are often unable to control themselves no matter how hard they try. Topics include self-regulation, self-control strength, and ego-depletion. Implications of research for enhancing personal self-control are discussed.

Keywords: self-control; ego-depletion; self-control strength; self-regulation; self-awareness; deindividuation

Chapter.  9472 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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