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Research Proves that Self Control or Lack of it is Contagious

Being responsible for one’s own behavior is a good practice. But there are reasons to believe that the behavior of the people around us do influence ours in a potent way. Especially when we are dealing with a very important virtue of gentlemen, Self control.

According to latest research studies (dated January 18th 2010), at the University of Georgia, self control, or lack of it, in people is quite contagious. The conclusion is based upon studies carried out on hundreds of volunteers. The potency of the contagiousness can be made out from the fact that mere flashing of names of people with self control for milliseconds, changed behaviors. The study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

To give an idea about the impact of public behavior on ourselves, we have rising numbers of obese people and smokers in our society. The government declared Obesity and Type 2 diabetes as national epidemics last year in the United States. Researchers have also reported a nexus between physical disorders like obesity, diabetes and harmful habit of smoking.

There cannot be any other deadly combination of health threat than this to grip our society. However, latest reports suggest that there has been a slight decline in obesity, thanks to the wide spread awareness all over. In the present situation, research findings, like on self control being contagious, provide a new ray of hope and inspiration to millions of desperate people who want to get rid of their vices.

According to researcher Michelle vanDellen, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Georgia, the study confirms that picking up good habits from people improves our self control. The effect is true vice-versa too, as exhibition of self control by us helps people around us to acquire it easily than attaining through rigorous self discipline and perseverance. Her study is first of its kind in behavioral science.

However, the results of this study cannot be used to propagate blame- game. We cannot start passing our bucks to others and hold them responsible for our shortcomings or failures. Researcher vanDallen reminds us that effect is not more than a nudge towards or away from temptation. The decision ultimately rests on us and is subjected to our will power.

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