The Restraint Bias

The Restraint Bias is the tendency to overestimate one’s ability to show restraint in the face of temptation, or the “perceived ability to have control over an impulse,” generally relating to hunger, drug and sexual impulses. The truth is people do not have control over visceral impulses; you can ignore hunger, but you cannot wish it away. You might find the saying: “the only way to get rid of temptation is to give into it” amusing, however, it is true. If you want to get rid of you hunger, you have to eat. Restraining from impulses is incredibly hard; it takes great self-control. However, most people think they have more control than they actually do. For example, most addicts’ say that they can “quit anytime they want to,” but this is rarely the case in real life.

Interesting Fact: unfortunately, this bias has serious consequences. When an individual has an inflated (perceived) sense of control over their impulses, they tend to overexpose themselves to temptation, which in turn promotes the impulsive behavior.

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  1. keagananfuso posted this