You have big decisions to make. Whether to put in an offer on a house, or change jobs. Which of the following will help you make the right choice: being in a state of sexual excitement or having a full bladder?
Most likely, it is not something you have pondered.
Sexual excitement, hunger, thirst! Psychological scientists have found that activation of just one of these bodily desires can actually make people want other, seemingly unrelated, reward more. Mirjam Tuk, from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, worked on one such subject.
A man finds himself searching for a bag of potato chips after looking at sexy photos of women. If this man were able to suppress his sexual desire in this situation, would his hunger also subside?
In the process of such findings, Tuk found that one seems to make better decisions when their bladder is full. The brain area sending this signal is activated not only for bladder control but for all sorts of control. People are more able to control their impulses for short-term pleasures and choose more often an option that is more beneficial in the long run.
So maybe you should drink a bottle of water before making a decision about your stock portfolio!
So what’s going on in the case of a full bladder prompting better decisions?
Tuk’s hypothesis is that—because feelings of inhibition all originate from the same area of the brain, self-control in one area can affect self-control in others. Therefore, people who are experiencing higher levels of bladder control should be better able to control other unrelated impulses.
From a theoretical point of view, other researchers supported this concept of ‘ego depletion’. That is, the mind struggles to restrain a bodily function, making it easier to exert self-control in other areas. Tuk further explains about the control-signals and it’s mechanism to prove her findings. You might want to read more of it here.
Wondering what prompted Tuk to study the subject?