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Monday, August 22, 2011

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? -

Really interesting research at the New York Times on decision fatigue. Basically, it's just as dangerous as I thought for me to make decisions when I'm hungry, and I'm not wrong when I say that my brain -- and the rest of me -- are exhausted by grading and other things that sap mental energy. Some of it I feel like I already knew from experience, but it surprises me to see what normally feel like separate problems all inked together. It's a bad idea to grade too many papers at once for reasons that relate to why it's hard to stick to a diet, both of which relate to why I crave cookies when I'm doing certain types of work (like packing). I think the segments about decision fatigue and class are especially interesting.

Spears and other researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major — and hitherto ignored — factor in trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. It’s hard to know exactly how important this factor is, but there’s no doubt that willpower is a special problem for poor people. Study after study has shown that low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health.

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