Researchers gain new insight into self-control using neuroimaging


Grocery shopping while hungry is a bad idea, often leading to regrettable surrender to momentary cravings. Yet we fall victim to this pitfall time and again, despite our rational mind knowing better.

ASU Associate Professor of psychology Samuel McClure and researcher Ian Ballard wanted to know why. Their paper, "More is meaningful: The magnitude effect in intertemporal choice depends on self-control," published today in the journal Psychological Science, may provide some answers. In it, the duo detail how they were able to use neuroimaging to show that self-control varies depending on how important a decision is, and that it can be augmented when people are asked to justify their decision.

"I think it's exciting because once you have a handle on the neuro systems, once you have a way of measuring them, you can start really asking interesting questions," McClure said. Superior to