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Old 08-26-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
taosaur
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"Familiar fictional worlds" help restore willpower

Several psych studies have made the news these last couple years with findings that self-control and decision making are limited resources that suffer badly if we 'use them up.' Some newly published research suggests that one way to fill the tank is by returning to "familiar fictional worlds," re-reading or re-watching favorite books, films and television, or new episodes in a favorite series. Study participants were found to perform better on tasks requiring effortful self control if they spent time with familiar works the night before, rather than watch or read something new.

The laypeoples version: http://io9.com/5937626/watching-reru...tore-willpower

The research paper: http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early...54889.abstract
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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mind picture of someone behind his favourite book subtitled *out for vacation*
I always knew rereading 's a good thing.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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One group lists the items in their room and the other is asked to talk about their favorite TV show. It seems to me that the first requires more effort and is less interesting. Maybe the study is measuring fatigue levels instead of willpower levels. Maybe the second group should be asked to list all the major and minor characters from their favorite TV show.

To me willpower is forcing yourself to do what you'd rather not do. Put the two groups on a diet and show me if there is any difference.

Since children will watch the same DVD 90 billion times, why are they not an unlimited font of self-control?
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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The funny thing is:
The 1st question (room) I'd have answered with: "It's none of your business." the 2nd (TV) with: It's none of my business."
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:58 PM   #5
Andrew H.
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I clicked through to the articles, and while they used the term "familiar fictional worlds," the study itself seemed to only involve people who watched television reruns. Which is similar in some ways and quite different in others from rereading.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew H. View Post
I clicked through to the articles, and while they used the term "familiar fictional worlds," the study itself seemed to only involve people who watched television reruns. Which is similar in some ways and quite different in others from rereading.
True. The extent to which you can turn your brain off while not only staring at the boob tube, but also watching something you've seen before, may just be effective relaxation. The researcher's analysis was that the restorative effect came from familiar fictional characters serving as "social surrogates," without the logistics and potential ill effects (lost sleep, hangovers, an argument) of actual socialization.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:55 AM   #7
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It would usually require self control to start with to only watch reruns for me anyway.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:13 PM   #8
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The familiar fictional worlds didn't have to be repeats, new episodes of your favorite shows showed the same effect. So, for reading, the same effect might arise by reading the next book in a series rather than re-reading. I can have fun on vacation, but it also can be draining. I like getting back to my own house and my own couch. Sometimes you expand your horizons, sometimes you just need to tend your garden, so to speak. It doesn't mean your mind is turned off.
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