Monday, August 20, 2012

decision-making fatigue: fact or perception?

Last year New York Times Magazine featured this article* [*this link is inconsistent and sometimes directs to NYT sign-in page; if it doesn't display the article, see the text below questions] about the effects of decision-making, and it got me thinking about how students take exams. I read a little deeper and began to think that ego depletion may have physical foundations; then I read this Stanford study and found myself wondering whether decision fatigue is actually in our heads or whether it's all in our heads, if you know what I mean. When you add modern technology and the concept of multi-tasking (courtesy of this article), 21st century concentration becomes a rather complex topic. Comment to this post with answers to the following four questions:

1. Based on your personal experience, these readings and our in-class study, do you think decision fatigue is a self-fulfilling prophecy (i.e., an outcome created by an expectation of the outcome) or a physiological condition? Is technology enabling you to achieve your goals or just distracting you from them? Make sure to support your ideas with reasons/evidence (one point from each article, and at least one point from your own experience.
2. On a scale from 1-10 (1 being least able and 10 being most able), how able are you to concentrate for long periods of time on tasks you don't really want to do in the first place?
3. Are you prepared for the possibility that you may be able to concentrate much more effectively than you previously believed?
4. How can you use what you've learned to increase your capacity for concentrating over an extended period of time?

________________________________________

Text of NY Times article:

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: August 17, 2011

Three men doing time in Israeli prisons recently appeared before a parole board consisting of a judge, a criminologist and a social worker. The three prisoners had completed at least two-thirds of their sentences, but the parole board granted freedom to only one of them. Guess which one:

Case 1 (heard at 8:50 a.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

Case 2 (heard at 3:10 p.m.): A Jewish Israeli serving a 16-month sentence for assault.

Case 3 (heard at 4:25 p.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

There was a pattern to the parole board’s decisions, but it wasn’t related to the men’s ethnic backgrounds, crimes or sentences. It was all about timing, as researchers discovered by analyzing more than 1,100 decisions over the course of a year. Judges, who would hear the prisoners’ appeals and then get advice from the other members of the board, approved parole in about a third of the cases, but the probability of being paroled fluctuated wildly throughout the day. Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.




The odds favored the prisoner who appeared at 8:50 a.m. — and he did in fact receive parole. But even though the other Arab Israeli prisoner was serving the same sentence for the same crime — fraud — the odds were against him when he appeared (on a different day) at 4:25 in the afternoon. He was denied parole, as was the Jewish Israeli prisoner at 3:10 p.m, whose sentence was shorter than that of the man who was released. They were just asking for parole at the wrong time of day.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior, which was reported earlier this year by Jonathan Levav of Stanford and Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University. The judges’ erratic judgment was due to the occupational hazard of being, as George W. Bush once put it, “the decider.” The mental work of ruling on case after case, whatever the individual merits, wore them down. This sort of decision fatigue can make quarterbacks prone to dubious choices late in the game and C.F.O.’s prone to disastrous dalliances late in the evening. It routinely warps the judgment of everyone, executive and nonexecutive, rich and poor — in fact, it can take a special toll on the poor. Yet few people are even aware of it, and researchers are only beginning to understand why it happens and how to counteract it.

Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain. You start to resist any change, any potentially risky move — like releasing a prisoner who might commit a crime. So the fatigued judge on a parole board takes the easy way out, and the prisoner keeps doing time.

Decision fatigue is the newest discovery involving a phenomenon called ego depletion, a term coined by the social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister in homage to a Freudian hypothesis. Freud speculated that the self, or ego, depended on mental activities involving the transfer of energy. He was vague about the details, though, and quite wrong about some of them (like his idea that artists “sublimate” sexual energy into their work, which would imply that adultery should be especially rare at artists’ colonies). Freud’s energy model of the self was generally ignored until the end of the century, when Baumeister began studying mental discipline in a series of experiments, first at Case Western and then at Florida State University.

These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. When they forced themselves to remain stoic during a tearjerker movie, afterward they gave up more quickly on lab tasks requiring self-discipline, like working on a geometry puzzle or squeezing a hand-grip exerciser. Willpower turned out to be more than a folk concept or a metaphor. It really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. To study the process of ego depletion, researchers concentrated initially on acts involving self-control ­— the kind of self-discipline popularly associated with willpower, like resisting a bowl of ice cream. They weren’t concerned with routine decision-making, like choosing between chocolate and vanilla, a mental process that they assumed was quite distinct and much less strenuous. Intuitively, the chocolate-vanilla choice didn’t appear to require willpower.

But then a postdoctoral fellow, Jean Twenge, started working at Baumeister’s laboratory right after planning her wedding. As Twenge studied the results of the lab’s ego-depletion experiments, she remembered how exhausted she felt the evening she and her fiancé went through the ritual of registering for gifts. Did they want plain white china or something with a pattern? Which brand of knives? How many towels? What kind of sheets? Precisely how many threads per square inch?

“By the end, you could have talked me into anything,” Twenge told her new colleagues. The symptoms sounded familiar to them too, and gave them an idea. A nearby department store was holding a going-out-of-business sale, so researchers from the lab went off to fill their car trunks with simple products — not exactly wedding-quality gifts, but sufficiently appealing to interest college students. When they came to the lab, the students were told they would get to keep one item at the end of the experiment, but first they had to make a series of choices. Would they prefer a pen or a candle? A vanilla-scented candle or an almond-scented one? A candle or a T-shirt? A black T-shirt or a red T-shirt? A control group, meanwhile — let’s call them the nondeciders — spent an equally long period contemplating all these same products without having to make any choices. They were asked just to give their opinion of each product and report how often they had used such a product in the last six months.

Afterward, all the participants were given one of the classic tests of self-control: holding your hand in ice water for as long as you can. The impulse is to pull your hand out, so self-discipline is needed to keep the hand underwater. The deciders gave up much faster; they lasted 28 seconds, less than half the 67-second average of the nondeciders. Making all those choices had apparently sapped their willpower, and it wasn’t an isolated effect. It was confirmed in other experiments testing students after they went through exercises like choosing courses from the college catalog.

For a real-world test of their theory, the lab’s researchers went into that great modern arena of decision making: the suburban mall. They interviewed shoppers about their experiences in the stores that day and then asked them to solve some simple arithmetic problems. The researchers politely asked them to do as many as possible but said they could quit at any time. Sure enough, the shoppers who had already made the most decisions in the stores gave up the quickest on the math problems. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

Any decision, whether it’s what pants to buy or whether to start a war, can be broken down into what psychologists call the Rubicon model of action phases, in honor of the river that separated Italy from the Roman province of Gaul. When Caesar reached it in 49 B.C., on his way home after conquering the Gauls, he knew that a general returning to Rome was forbidden to take his legions across the river with him, lest it be considered an invasion of Rome. Waiting on the Gaul side of the river, he was in the “predecisional phase” as he contemplated the risks and benefits of starting a civil war. Then he stopped calculating and crossed the Rubicon, reaching the “postdecisional phase,” which Caesar defined much more felicitously: “The die is cast.”

The whole process could deplete anyone’s willpower, but which phase of the decision-making process was most fatiguing? To find out, Kathleen Vohs, a former colleague of Baumeister’s now at the University of Minnesota, performed an experiment using the self-service Web site of Dell Computers. One group in the experiment carefully studied the advantages and disadvantages of various features available for a computer — the type of screen, the size of the hard drive, etc. — without actually making a final decision on which ones to choose. A second group was given a list of predetermined specifications and told to configure a computer by going through the laborious, step-by-step process of locating the specified features among the arrays of options and then clicking on the right ones. The purpose of this was to duplicate everything that happens in the postdecisional phase, when the choice is implemented. The third group had to figure out for themselves which features they wanted on their computers and go through the process of choosing them; they didn’t simply ponder options (like the first group) or implement others’ choices (like the second group). They had to cast the die, and that turned out to be the most fatiguing task of all. When self-control was measured, they were the one who were most depleted, by far.

The experiment showed that crossing the Rubicon is more tiring than anything that happens on either bank — more mentally fatiguing than sitting on the Gaul side contemplating your options or marching on Rome once you’ve crossed. As a result, someone without Caesar’s willpower is liable to stay put. To a fatigued judge, denying parole seems like the easier call not only because it preserves the status quo and eliminates the risk of a parolee going on a crime spree but also because it leaves more options open: the judge retains the option of paroling the prisoner at a future date without sacrificing the option of keeping him securely in prison right now. Part of the resistance against making decisions comes from our fear of giving up options. The word “decide” shares an etymological root with “homicide,” the Latin word “caedere,” meaning “to cut down” or “to kill,” and that loss looms especially large when decision fatigue sets in.

Once you’re mentally depleted, you become reluctant to make trade-offs, which involve a particularly advanced and taxing form of decision making. In the rest of the animal kingdom, there aren’t a lot of protracted negotiations between predators and prey. To compromise is a complex human ability and therefore one of the first to decline when willpower is depleted. You become what researchers call a cognitive miser, hoarding your energy. If you’re shopping, you’re liable to look at only one dimension, like price: just give me the cheapest. Or you indulge yourself by looking at quality: I want the very best (an especially easy strategy if someone else is paying). Decision fatigue leaves you vulnerable to marketers who know how to time their sales, as Jonathan Levav, the Stanford professor, demonstrated in experiments involving tailored suits and new cars.

The idea for these experiments also happened to come in the preparations for a wedding, a ritual that seems to be the decision-fatigue equivalent of Hell Week. At his fiancée’s suggestion, Levav visited a tailor to have a bespoke suit made and began going through the choices of fabric, type of lining and style of buttons, lapels, cuffs and so forth.

“By the time I got through the third pile of fabric swatches, I wanted to kill myself,” Levav recalls. “I couldn’t tell the choices apart anymore. After a while my only response to the tailor became ‘What do you recommend?’ I just couldn’t take it.”

Levav ended up not buying any kind of bespoke suit (the $2,000 price made that decision easy enough), but he put the experience to use in a pair of experiments conducted with Mark Heitmann, then at Christian-Albrechts University in Germany; Andreas Herrmann, at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; and Sheena Iyengar, of Columbia. One involved asking M.B.A. students in Switzerland to choose a bespoke suit; the other was conducted at German car dealerships, where customers ordered options for their new sedans. The car buyers — and these were real customers spending their own money — had to choose, for instance, among 4 styles of gearshift knobs, 13 kinds of wheel rims, 25 configurations of the engine and gearbox and a palette of 56 colors for the interior.

As they started picking features, customers would carefully weigh the choices, but as decision fatigue set in, they would start settling for whatever the default option was. And the more tough choices they encountered early in the process — like going through those 56 colors to choose the precise shade of gray or brown — the quicker people became fatigued and settled for the path of least resistance by taking the default option. By manipulating the order of the car buyers’ choices, the researchers found that the customers would end up settling for different kinds of options, and the average difference totaled more than 1,500 euros per car (about $2,000 at the time). Whether the customers paid a little extra for fancy wheel rims or a lot extra for a more powerful engine depended on when the choice was offered and how much willpower was left in the customer.

Similar results were found in the experiment with custom-made suits: once decision fatigue set in, people tended to settle for the recommended option. When they were confronted early on with the toughest decisions — the ones with the most options, like the 100 fabrics for the suit — they became fatigued more quickly and also reported enjoying the shopping experience less.

Shopping can be especially tiring for the poor, who have to struggle continually with trade-offs. Most of us in America won’t spend a lot of time agonizing over whether we can afford to buy soap, but it can be a depleting choice in rural India. Dean Spears, an economist at Princeton, offered people in 20 villages in Rajasthan in northwestern India the chance to buy a couple of bars of brand-name soap for the equivalent of less than 20 cents. It was a steep discount off the regular price, yet even that sum was a strain for the people in the 10 poorest villages. Whether or not they bought the soap, the act of making the decision left them with less willpower, as measured afterward in a test of how long they could squeeze a hand grip. In the slightly more affluent villages, people’s willpower wasn’t affected significantly. Because they had more money, they didn’t have to spend as much effort weighing the merits of the soap versus, say, food or medicine.

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. Lapses in self-control have led to the notion of the “undeserving poor” — epitomized by the image of the welfare mom using food stamps to buy junk food — but Spears urges sympathy for someone who makes decisions all day on a tight budget. In one study, he found that when the poor and the rich go shopping, the poor are much more likely to eat during the shopping trip. This might seem like confirmation of their weak character — after all, they could presumably save money and improve their nutrition by eating meals at home instead of buying ready-to-eat snacks like Cinnabons, which contribute to the higher rate of obesity among the poor. But if a trip to the supermarket induces more decision fatigue in the poor than in the rich — because each purchase requires more mental trade-offs — by the time they reach the cash register, they’ll have less willpower left to resist the Mars bars and Skittles. Not for nothing are these items called impulse purchases.

And this isn’t the only reason that sweet snacks are featured prominently at the cash register, just when shoppers are depleted after all their decisions in the aisles. With their willpower reduced, they’re more likely to yield to any kind of temptation, but they’re especially vulnerable to candy and soda and anything else offering a quick hit of sugar. While supermarkets figured this out a long time ago, only recently did researchers discover why.

The discovery was an accident resulting from a failed experiment at Baumeister’s lab. The researchers set out to test something called the Mardi Gras theory — the notion that you could build up willpower by first indulging yourself in pleasure, the way Mardi Gras feasters do just before the rigors of Lent. In place of a Fat Tuesday breakfast, the chefs in the lab at Florida State whipped up lusciously thick milkshakes for a group of subjects who were resting in between two laboratory tasks requiring willpower. Sure enough, the delicious shakes seemed to strengthen willpower by helping people perform better than expected on the next task. So far, so good. But the experiment also included a control group of people who were fed a tasteless concoction of low-fat dairy glop. It provided them with no pleasure, yet it produced similar improvements in self-control. The Mardi Gras theory looked wrong. Besides tragically removing an excuse for romping down the streets of New Orleans, the result was embarrassing for the researchers. Matthew Gailliot, the graduate student who ran the study, stood looking down at his shoes as he told Baumeister about the fiasco.

Baumeister tried to be optimistic. Maybe the study wasn’t a failure. Something had happened, after all. Even the tasteless glop had done the job, but how? If it wasn’t the pleasure, could it be the calories? At first the idea seemed a bit daft. For decades, psychologists had been studying performance on mental tasks without worrying much about the results being affected by dairy-product consumption. They liked to envision the human mind as a computer, focusing on the way it processed information. In their eagerness to chart the human equivalent of the computer’s chips and circuits, most psychologists neglected one mundane but essential part of the machine: the power supply. The brain, like the rest of the body, derived energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. To establish cause and effect, researchers at Baumeister’s lab tried refueling the brain in a series of experiments involving lemonade mixed either with sugar or with a diet sweetener. The sugary lemonade provided a burst of glucose, the effects of which could be observed right away in the lab; the sugarless variety tasted quite similar without providing the same burst of glucose. Again and again, the sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The glucose would at least mitigate the ego depletion and sometimes completely reverse it. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions: they resisted irrational bias when making choices, and when asked to make financial decisions, they were more likely to choose the better long-term strategy instead of going for a quick payoff. The ego-depletion effect was even demonstrated with dogs in two studies by Holly Miller and Nathan DeWall at the University of Kentucky. After obeying sit and stay commands for 10 minutes, the dogs performed worse on self-control tests and were also more likely to make the dangerous decision to challenge another dog’s turf. But a dose of glucose restored their willpower.

Despite this series of findings, brain researchers still had some reservations about the glucose connection. Skeptics pointed out that the brain’s overall use of energy remains about the same regardless of what a person is doing, which doesn’t square easily with the notion of depleted energy affecting willpower. Among the skeptics was Todd Heatherton, who worked with Baumeister early in his career and eventually wound up at Dartmouth, where he became a pioneer of what is called social neuroscience: the study of links between brain processes and social behavior. He believed in ego depletion, but he didn’t see how this neural process could be caused simply by variations in glucose levels. To observe the process — and to see if it could be reversed by glucose — he and his colleagues recruited 45 female dieters and recorded images of their brains as they reacted to pictures of food. Next the dieters watched a comedy video while forcing themselves to suppress their laughter — a standard if cruel way to drain mental energy and induce ego depletion. Then they were again shown pictures of food, and the new round of brain scans revealed the effects of ego depletion: more activity in the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s reward center, and a corresponding decrease in the amygdala, which ordinarily helps control impulses. The food’s appeal registered more strongly while impulse control weakened — not a good combination for anyone on a diet. But suppose people in this ego-depleted state got a quick dose of glucose? What would a scan of their brains reveal?

The results of the experiment were announced in January, during Heatherton’s speech accepting the leadership of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the world’s largest group of social psychologists. In his presidential address at the annual meeting in San Antonio, Heatherton reported that administering glucose completely reversed the brain changes wrought by depletion — a finding, he said, that thoroughly surprised him. Heatherton’s results did much more than provide additional confirmation that glucose is a vital part of willpower; they helped solve the puzzle over how glucose could work without global changes in the brain’s total energy use. Apparently ego depletion causes activity to rise in some parts of the brain and to decline in others. Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects.

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control — and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.

2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

As the body uses up glucose, it looks for a quick way to replenish the fuel, leading to a craving for sugar. After performing a lab task requiring self-control, people tend to eat more candy but not other kinds of snacks, like salty, fatty potato chips. The mere expectation of having to exert self-control makes people hunger for sweets. A similar effect helps explain why many women yearn for chocolate and other sugary treats just before menstruation: their bodies are seeking a quick replacement as glucose levels fluctuate. A sugar-filled snack or drink will provide a quick improvement in self-control (that’s why it’s convenient to use in experiments), but it’s just a temporary solution. The problem is that what we identify as sugar doesn’t help as much over the course of the day as the steadier supply of glucose we would get from eating proteins and other more nutritious foods.

The benefits of glucose were unmistakable in the study of the Israeli parole board. In midmorning, usually a little before 10:30, the parole board would take a break, and the judges would be served a sandwich and a piece of fruit. The prisoners who appeared just before the break had only about a 20 percent chance of getting parole, but the ones appearing right after had around a 65 percent chance. The odds dropped again as the morning wore on, and prisoners really didn’t want to appear just before lunch: the chance of getting parole at that time was only 10 percent. After lunch it soared up to 60 percent, but only briefly. Remember that Jewish Israeli prisoner who appeared at 3:10 p.m. and was denied parole from his sentence for assault? He had the misfortune of being the sixth case heard after lunch. But another Jewish Israeli prisoner serving the same sentence for the same crime was lucky enough to appear at 1:27 p.m., the first case after lunch, and he was rewarded with parole. It must have seemed to him like a fine example of the justice system at work, but it probably had more to do with the judge’s glucose levels.

It’s simple enough to imagine reforms for the parole board in Israel — like, say, restricting each judge’s shift to half a day, preferably in the morning, interspersed with frequent breaks for food and rest. But it’s not so obvious what to do with the decision fatigue affecting the rest of society. Even if we could all afford to work half-days, we would still end up depleting our willpower all day long, as Baumeister and his colleagues found when they went into the field in Würzburg in central Germany. The psychologists gave preprogrammed BlackBerrys to more than 200 people going about their daily routines for a week. The phones went off at random intervals, prompting the people to report whether they were currently experiencing some sort of desire or had recently felt a desire. The painstaking study, led by Wilhelm Hofmann, then at the University of Würzburg, collected more than 10,000 momentary reports from morning until midnight.

Desire turned out to be the norm, not the exception. Half the people were feeling some desire when their phones went off — to snack, to goof off, to express their true feelings to their bosses — and another quarter said they had felt a desire in the past half-hour. Many of these desires were ones that the men and women were trying to resist, and the more willpower people expended, the more likely they became to yield to the next temptation that came along. When faced with a new desire that produced some I-want-to-but-I-really-shouldn’t sort of inner conflict, they gave in more readily if they had already fended off earlier temptations, particularly if the new temptation came soon after a previously reported one.

The results suggested that people spend between three and four hours a day resisting desire. Put another way, if you tapped four or five people at any random moment of the day, one of them would be using willpower to resist a desire. The most commonly resisted desires in the phone study were the urges to eat and sleep, followed by the urge for leisure, like taking a break from work by doing a puzzle or playing a game instead of writing a memo. Sexual urges were next on the list of most-resisted desires, a little ahead of urges for other kinds of interactions, like checking Facebook. To ward off temptation, people reported using various strategies. The most popular was to look for a distraction or to undertake a new activity, although sometimes they tried suppressing it directly or simply toughing their way through it. Their success was decidedly mixed. They were pretty good at avoiding sleep, sex and the urge to spend money, but not so good at resisting the lure of television or the Web or the general temptation to relax instead of work.

We have no way of knowing how much our ancestors exercised self-control in the days before BlackBerrys and social psychologists, but it seems likely that many of them were under less ego-depleting strain. When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue. Today we feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices. Your body may have dutifully reported to work on time, but your mind can escape at any instant. A typical computer user looks at more than three dozen Web sites a day and gets fatigued by the continual decision making — whether to keep working on a project, check out TMZ, follow a link to YouTube or buy something on Amazon. You can do enough damage in a 10-minute online shopping spree to wreck your budget for the rest of the year.

The cumulative effect of these temptations and decisions isn’t intuitively obvious. Virtually no one has a gut-level sense of just how tiring it is to decide. Big decisions, small decisions, they all add up. Choosing what to have for breakfast, where to go on vacation, whom to hire, how much to spend — these all deplete willpower, and there’s no telltale symptom of when that willpower is low. It’s not like getting winded or hitting the wall during a marathon. Ego depletion manifests itself not as one feeling but rather as a propensity to experience everything more intensely. When the brain’s regulatory powers weaken, frustrations seem more irritating than usual. Impulses to eat, drink, spend and say stupid things feel more powerful (and alcohol causes self-control to decline further). Like those dogs in the experiment, ego-depleted humans become more likely to get into needless fights over turf. In making decisions, they take illogical shortcuts and tend to favor short-term gains and delayed costs. Like the depleted parole judges, they become inclined to take the safer, easier option even when that option hurts someone else.

“Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there,” Baumeister says. “It’s a state that fluctuates.” His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out. That’s why the truly wise don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. They don’t make major commitments during the cocktail hour. And if a decision must be made late in the day, they know not to do it on an empty stomach. “The best decision makers,” Baumeister says, “are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.”

John Tierney (tierneylab@nytimes.com) is a science columnist for The Times. His essay is adapted from a book he wrote with Roy F. Baumeister, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” which comes out next month.

68 comments:

  1. 1. I believe that decision making gets harder later in the day because we are tired, not just because we are told it gets hareder. Last year I began getting up at 3am to do my homework rather than stay up until around 4 am to do it. I am a terribly slow worker. I found when I started doing this my work pace increased. I always thought it was because I had had a whole day to process information before doing the assignment and that I was working at a more frantic pace because the deadline was closer (my homework would be due in a matter of hours versus a matter of days). I never considered that depletion of willpower or low glucose levels were making me work slower. I always thought it was the fact that I had been given a whole day to think about the information in the assignment before completing it.
    I believe technology is a handy tool in completing tasks and making decisions. However, things such as computers and smartphones are still relatively new. I believe over time they will become more efficient and we will develop tricks to use technology more efficiently.
    2. I would say my self control is about a 1. I have never been very good at making decisions. I will try and get more sleep and consume more glucose as this articles suggests and see if that improves my decision making abilities at all.
    3. Yes. I would be very happy to learn that these scientists have discovered a way to increase will power and improve decision making abilities.
    4. As stated in response 2. I can alter my sleep and eating habits and try to improve my decision making.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think ego fatigue is physiological because the experiments continually proved that after making a lot of decisions, subjects were more mentally fatigued and less likely to make good long-term decisions. Nearly all subjects (the Israeli judges, the dogs, the shoppers, and Baumeister's test subjects) reported and showed increased fatigue. I think technology hinders our good judgement if we use is extensively throughout the day, mostly because it presents us with more decisions than we would need to make if we didn't use it. O the other hand, if we crave the use of say, our smart phones, and we suppress the urges, that might be worse than actually giving in and using the phone, according to some of the studies. I know that after a long day of shopping and deciding if things are worth buying or not and which pair of shoes is cuter etc., I feel mentally drained and I just want to buy something and get out of there.

    I feel like I'm decent at doing things I don't want to do. I concentrated long enough to read the huge article above, a task I didn't particularly want to do. I took a break about halfway through because it got overwhelming and it's getting late and I'm tired of doing homework. But I stuck with it long enough to complete it. Enough. I'd rate myself a 7.

    I guess I could be prepared. I'm open to new ideas and it would be cool to be able to accomplish more with less down time in between working on tasks. I'm interested how, though.

    I can now use the excuse to eat. I wont be eating out of boredom anymore, I'll be "eating to keep up my mental stamina". The perk will be less fatigue, but my motive will be to eat guilt-free.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1) I think that decision fatigue is a self-fulfilling prophecy for those who can't seem to get what they read out of their heads. For me though, I believe it all depends on how interested I am with something. For example, today I was staring off into space thinking about unimportant things and feeling like I just wanted to go to sleep, when I remembered a book that I had been wanting to read for a while, might have recently been published. All of a sudden, I was awake and interested in what the day had in store for me. But if I was to shop for clothes for an hour I would feel drained, whereas if I were to shop for books for six hours I'd feel happy. For me, technology constantly distracts me from what I need to be doing, but I find that I'm fine if I go for days or weeks without a cellphone or a computer.

    2) On tasks that I don't particularly want to do, I can focus on them for long periods of time as long as I have a certain attainable goal that I accomplish by doing them. I read the article and am doing these questions right now because I know that I'll have a lot of homework tomorrow. I'd rate myself as a 5 because it all depends on if I can find a goal that will make a tedious task worthwhile.

    3) I'm prepared for the possibility that I could accomplish more than I've previously thought, but I like how my mind works now. . .well maybe not right now, I'm tired.

    4) I can use what I've learned to increase my capacity to concentrate over long periods of time by snacking and by giving myself breaks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1) Honestly,I believe that ego depletion/decision fatigue is neither your own doing or a psychological condition. Because why would you put yourself into a position like this? Also for it to even be considered a condition it has to be defective to your health,which granted it is,but it is not constant. It's not like we choose to do this. Fatigue is simply fatigue. We all get it every once in a while(like I have now from writing these questions 3 times)but we are all different. You can not simply put us into a "one size fits all" category.Our apperance, our ideas, our minds Their all individual. For example, when I work full time. Granted I make it through the day with ensuring the best decisions for the customers, but by the time I get home I forget to make the crucial decisions I need to make for myself. Like if I should study,if I should take a shower, or if I should even eat. All of these questions are being passed over due to pure exhaustion. But I get what I need to ,done, to better my future.
    2)I would give myself a solid 8. Because on full work days or even part time days with school, there are rushes. All in which are handeled professionally and accordingly. They all have me make many decisions and think thouroughly about what I am doing. But I have learned through my past that patience is key. Because like I said, everyone is different, we all have different levels of tolerance. But we need to realize this before we can make the best of our situtaion. For instance my past was very difficult for me. Especially when my everyday decisions could of saved my mothers life, and sometimes it did. (Aswell as my friends) But through all of this, I forgot to save my own life. I never once made the appropriate choices for myself, because I was to busy taking care of the one person who was supposed to be taking care of me. Luckily (somewhat) my mother went to prison and I was sent away, after another year of hell, my life finally began to regain structure. I now have a job, my permit, and amazing grades. And yes this may sound selfish, but with what I have beem through ,I know I deserve this. Because now that I have finally focused on myself, I can take on the world. Although technology has a bit a tug and pull to it aswell. For instance, right now it is almost 5 in the morning I started writing these questions at 3 because I didnt have time to do them due to work last night and my parents rule about no electronics after 9.Anyways I have written them three times and the fatigue I have from making these decisions, have led me to accidently erase these comments twice. But even though I wanted to cry because the last one was so perfectly written, I keep patience, and do what must be done, and I strive to still do my best under any condition.
    3)I am definatley prepared to be able to concentrate better then I can already. I mean look at what I have originated from, compared to then I didn't even believe in possibilites. Now look at me . But granted It always depends on the subject aswell. For instance, I absolutley hate shopping. There are always so many choices. But who knows..you may love to shop.I just have no idea how you manage.
    4)Patience is the key to your problems.It can help you distinguish the differenct between fatigue and happiness. If you have patience then the choices you make will be better thought through, and your life will go along more sufficiently. For example -- my managers. They are very rude, but like they say if they didn't pick on me then they wouldn't like me. Well at first this killed me inside, I would literally go home crying because I couldn't understand why they hated me . After awhile though I learned patience. I learned that each one has their own personality, and their own way of being. I now realize they can actually be nice and caring. Now I can brush off their comments, or laugh along with them too. Life has surely changed for me through this knowledge. I hope yours can too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. P.S sorry about the no spaces, I went over the limited character amount. Also I wanted to apologize if this sounds rushed. I definatley tried but after re-writing it 3 times I got annoyed. But I focused, stayed calm and did my best. It didn't turn out aswell as I had hoped but I hope you enjoy it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not feel like it was rushed. You made some very good pionts that I did not think about while answering these questions. It turned out pretty well but that is only my thought. Enjoyed it quite much.

      Delete
  6. 1) I think that decision making fatuge is more of a physiological believe. When u believe you are tired of doing something, will soon find that shortly after you will be. Getting yourself to feel away all you have to do is believe you do and will, kinda like "rather you believe you can, or you can't your right".
    2) It would depend, for me, on rather I knew my performance on it actually mattered. If it was something that like I started out wanting to do and then later on realized that I didn't really wanna do it then i would give myself a one, but if it was something for school that I didn't wanna do then I would say about an eight or nine because I know it could be crucial to my future.
    3) I am one hundred percent ready to learn I can concentrate better then I thought. I am always prepare that I am better then I previously anticipated about MYSELF.
    4) Patients and focus is key. If you have both of those ur conservation will come automatically. Also thinking about the benefit you will get out of a good performance on the action you are performing will create a better motivation.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 1. I wouldn't necessarily call decision fatigue as a "condition" because it happens to the best of us. I would have to say we ourselves make the choice to not care and go with the simplest choice because of decision fatigue. I believe we do know the consequences of our decisions and we know what outcome will be made because of a specific decision. I think technology can either help us or distract us but the key is how you're using it. If I'm trying to write these answers on here but two minutes later find myself on Facebook, that's a distraction. I'm not getting the work done that I'm supposed to be doing. But if I'm doing exactly what I'm doing right now and using my computer to answer these question for an assignment, it is therefore helping me succeed in the class.
    2. I would have to say a 7. At first, because I don't even want to do this thing in the first place, I have trouble concentrating. It usually goes something like, "Oh my god! I doing homework! This class sucks!" for about 5 or 10 minutes. But as I force myself to complete the work because I know I have to, I get decreasingly distracted from outside things. By the time I'm focused, I can spend all the time I need on my work to get it done. Yes little things here and there are a bit distracive, but once I set my mind to my work, there's no tearing me away until I get it all completely done and over with.
    3. It might take some getting use to because everyone's distracted at some point. But I think that the outcome will make me feel a lot better about myself that I overcame the distractions. If I do become more concentrated than I am, then I completely welcome it and I will love the fact that I will be able to get whatever job handed to me done efficiently and quickly.
    4. I can enable myself to sleep more and really concentrate on my choices. Everyday we make choices without clearly thinking about them because we are so tired. To change this frequent habit, a simple good-night's-sleep will help us to think clearly about our decisions and decrease the bad outcomes that come with our bad decisions when we are fatigued.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 1)Decision fatigue is what happens when you are bombarded with questions throughout the day so it has to do with your actions and what you do. Decisions after decisions takes its toll and affects you in ways that you can't realize. Technology just adds more distractions if not used correctly. Facebook, YouTube,and Twitter all add to the endless distractions you face every time you connect to the internet. The article explains how after just a few questions from a simple shopping spree, your decisions towards the end will be less thought about and more on impulse.

    2)I would give myself a 6. I get through school, don't I? I try my hardest to concentrate on items that I don't like very much and it helps if I have someone there to motivate me.

    3)I believed with the right tools and the right environment, that I can and will concentrate much more than I have previously. It is not so much a possibility but a reality. The tools are here, we just need to use them.

    4)To increase my capacity for concentrating, I can relate the subject to something that I do love and can concentrate more on. Again, using the tools can help our concentration and, in the long run, train us to concentrate for longer periods of time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1. I've always kind of noticed this. I never really connected it with decision making though. Board games always seemed to tire me out allot and put me in a less then good mood. Board games also have you constantly making decisions where you have to think deeply and weigh the consequences of your actions. So yeah that makes sense that i would be irritable and impullsive. Considering my personall experience i think its physiological...
    2. .... I'm not even sure. I would describe myself as impulsive and I do have allot of issues concentrating. With me its either that i get nothing done or i bust out a level of efficency i previously thought myself incapable of. What I'm saying is I spend a lott of time doing nothing and a small period time doing everything.
    3. I am very prepared to concentrate better. I would have so much more time if i could always be efficent.
    4. Well I think I'll have snacks and such. Along with schedualling breaks from studying in advance so their is less temptation to quit early. Also Coffee. Not really rellevent to this study but another study I read recently has lead me to believe that coffee wins life

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1. I believe decision fatigue is a physiological condition because it can happen to anybody, and we still consider it normal. When you are not passionate in a subject, you will make excuses, and get distracted from doing the assignment at hand. I know when I am not happy on doing an assignment, I usually end up doing it, but the work will turn out decent, and I won’t be proud of it. In my own personal experience, I do believe technology has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Facebook is a great way to talk to friends, and get in contact with a person. Also, if you don’t know an answer to a question, or need help on some homework, you go to the internet. The internet has many resources that we rely so much on, in today’s society. However, Facebook is also distracting, and some people just go on to “creep”. Technology can also make it an easy way to cheat oneself. The words on the internet, establish “free” answers for a student to copy, and use as their own.

    2. I feel like I’d rate myself a 6.5 or 7 on being able to concentrate for long periods of time on tasks I really don’t want to do. I mean, when you are interested in a subject, it is very easy to get caught up in the moment, and keep working. However, when you are thinking about how much you hate this project or assignment, or whatever it is, the more horrifying it is to do it. Everyone gets distracted, especially if you aren’t interested in the subject at hand.

    3. Yes, I am prepared for the possibility to concentrate much more effectively. It will help save a lot of time. Also, I’m interested on using my brain differently, and learning to accept knowledge in a different way.

    4. Since reading this article, I have learned that having breakfast, and eating snacks throughout the day is what will help me keep my stamina up. Also, like my classmates have mentioned, being patient is of value. When you have patience, you are able to think more clearly, and wisely.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 1. I believe to myself, from my personal experiences, that decision fatigue is a physiological condition. Making decisions, one after another,can effect anyone in ways that person won't realize. After completing complicated puzzles that have 1000 pieces or more make me tired and I guess you can called it fatigued. You are constantly making decisions on where this piece might go or which way it might fit, dose it go at the top or the bottom, is it part of the corner or edge. There are so many things to think about when doing complicated puzzles it just wares on you. It could make you irritable or grumpy once you were done.
    2. I wouldn't even know where to start. I guess if I had to put a number on it, it would be either a 5 or 6. Doing things that don't catch my eye or I have no interest in just doesn't seem fun when I know I could be doing something else that would make me happy.
    3.Yes, I am prepare to concentrate a lot more than I have in the passed. Like reading this article didn't excite me, but I knew I needed to do it to help my education.
    4. I have learned that there are many ways to stay focused and concentrate and some of them if not all of them are easy. Having a good breakfast and getting energy in yourself, or eating snacks throughout the day. Also getting more sleep and accomplishing more mental task in the morning will help you to make good decisions and your concentration level will increase.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1. I believe that decision fatigue is a physiological condition because it has to do with your brain's ability to make decisions, or in this case, to not make decisions. This quote from the first article, "No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price." This shows that decision making is a biological process, thus relating to physiology and not a self-fulfilling prophecy. A quote from the second article, "To be sure, not all human behaviors involves painful or deliberate control by the self, and, in fact, recent work has shown that a great deal of human behavior in influenced by automatic and uncioncious processes." This quote shows that decision-making has to do with mental processes that cannot be controlled. This quote from the third article, "But a new study from Stanford psychologists suggests the urge to refresh (or just procrastinate) is – well – all in your head." Once again, this quote proves that decision-making of any sort has to do with physiology as well as psychology. Lastly, in the fourth article, it states, "We hunt it in neurology labs, lament its decline on op-ed pages, fetishize it in grassroots quality-of-life movements..." Once again, this quote proves that this "fatigue" of any sort is biological and not something we can be fully conscious of. I think that technology is enabling me to achieve my goals. For example, my AP english course. Without the technology available to me, this course would be very difficult for me. Technology is enabling me to do my best in this course by providing me with opportunities to reach the main homework reference for my English class.
    2. I'd say my ability to concentrate in this type of situation would be about a 5.5. I'm not completely tuning everything out, but I'm not quite ignoring anyone or anything either. I'd put in very little effort in in this case.
    3. Yes I'm very prepared for this responsibility because concentrating more can never hinder you when it comes to your education. Bring on the concentration!
    4. After reading this article, I've learned that eating healthier can greatly improve your ability to concentrate. This will give me more "brain energy" so I can learn more quicker and more efficient.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 1. I believe decision fatigue is a physiological condition because I think the brain becomes worn out after so many decisions that it feels the need to take a break so after you have reached decision fatigue your brain tells you to decide on speedy conclusions. The New York Times article supports my statement because it states that the shoppers who made decisions before attempting arithmetic problems were the quickest to tire out due to decision fatigue. Last year, when I took 2 AP tests on the same day my brain felt like moosh by the end of the day; I was so tired that I practically fainted on my bed when I arrived home due to decision fatigue during the AP tests. The Internet/Technology is a great innovation that gives you access to unlimited knowledge but also provides you with unlimited distractions.
    2. I would probably give myself a 6 because if I don't want to learn something in the first place I will usually tune out unless it is essential to my success in a class then I would try to suck up my boredom and try to concentrate on the topic at hand.
    3. I am open to the idea of concentrating more than I have in the past because I love a good challenge and that is what concentrating hard will do for me.
    4.I learned that eating snacks throughout the day and getting more sleep will highly benefit me during the day. Another pivotal quality that I think I need is to take breaks in between all my decision making to lessen my chances of decision fatigue.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1)I believe that decision fatigue is a psysiological condition because when you are constantly having to make decisions you are using your brain and you become mentally fatigue.This makes your decision making worsen because you become to tired to think everything through. For example the israeli judges. I think technologyy enables us to achieve our goals if and only if we use it wisely because if we don't it can distract us from focusing on our goals in life.
    2.5, because if I don't enjoy what I am doing, I won't devote much thought or time.I will also be bored sooner and start day dreaming about what I am going to eat for lunch.
    3.It might take time but with the right mind set I think I would be able to concentrate much longer.
    4.I think to increase my capacity for concentrating I would have to figure out a way to make everything fun and enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1. My answer is really a qualified one. Even after going through all of the articles I still want to say "both." I feel that decision fatigue is based on physiology-it's something that everyone experiences in daily life-but it is easily exacerbated by the anticipation of fatigue. My first thought was about sleep: we technically don't know exactly why the body needs sleep, according to some articles I've read, so I figured that decision fatigue is one of the reasons why we need to sleep: to restore the mental energy lost during "ego depletion;" the phenomenon mentioned in the first article. This, of course, is a physiological effect. However, decision making fatigue can probably be made a whole lot worse when we already assume that our willpower is limited and we must use it sparingly or else replenish it with rest and/or procrastination (as discussed in the second article). As for the technology argument, the final article scared me a little. And not just because it was long. I have believed for some time now that our infinitely expanding tech-niverse has been slowly sapping us all of our attention spans, but I have never considered the effects it has on our mental stamina. (I actually had a little trouble concentrating on that article--I had to keep thinking about my energy being depleted and I was losing the will to finish the read!) I feel as though that all of the multitasking and information we push towards ourselves depletes our mental energy in the background, leaving less and less power for us to make decisions with. It must hasten our descent into fatigue on a physiological AND psychological level. We have less attention to give, and when we TRY to work up the will to think on something, we start to power down like old batteries. I hope that all made sense.
    2. When it comes to concentrating on tasks I don't really want to do, I'd rate myself a 5 or so. I have a lot of trouble paying attention and staying still, but I can usually pull myself together long enough to get my task done (even if it is in several short bursts of pure attention).
    3. I am absolutely prepared for the possibility that I might be able to concentrate better than I had thought. I feel that I need and want to concentrate more effectively so badly, that I would be willing to believe that someone was going to wave a magic wand in class and I would be magically able to pay attention for 6 hours straight. Well, maybe not, but I think we know what I mean.
    4. After reading these articles, I have learned that I can improve my focus and concentration if I sleep an adequate amount each night and don't give myself any excuses to stop working and "rest" (AKA sitting and staring or spinning in circles in my chair at my desk). As long as I understand that my willpower is unlimited and that I am in control of it, I might be able to focus more. I also will use said willpower to stay away from modern distractions (though I am a member of the "Forever Distracted" generation; I mean that I'll stay away from things that distract me in the immediate moment).

    ReplyDelete
  16. 1. I do think decision fatigue is a physiological condition. I always notice it’s often harder for me to work later in the day because I’ve already been working on homework for a several hours. “When people fended off the temptation… they were then less able to resist other temptations...” As I continue to fend off the temptation to just procrastinate and watch TV or something I start to get more tiered and less willing to work later in the day. I don’t think that’s an excuse however and believe my will beets my physiological condition. Technology is a tool and the way we decide to use that tool is up to us. I can either use for Minecraft or I can use to learn more about life and complete my homework. If I’m getting distracted it’s not technologies fault it’s mine.
    2. I can’t really give an accurate number because it’s always changing. It really comes down to how valuable I think the information is and if I’m willing to deal with the consequences for not paying attention. I have the will to be a 10 but if I decide to be a 10 is up to me.
    3. I’m ready for to learn how to concentrate more but like I said I believe it has to do more with how strong my will is (which I think can be unlimited). I do think the more practice I have the easier it is to get to that higher level of will.
    4. I can first realize that I will get weaker as time goes on and when I start to feel it not to give up but realize it’s just going to be a little bit harder than before.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1) I believe it's physiological. After a tough day of making lots of choices and decisions your mind just gets worn out. It doesn't even have to be a difficult task, such as the shoppers being asked simple arithmetic problems. It's a strenuous thing and after a while it takes its toll. I know after the AP exam last year I was pooped, and even easy things I do at work make me feel jaded at the end of the day. I feel as if technology isn't exactly enabling me or distracting me. It's just operating as a tool for something I would have already been doing.
    2) 6/7; not entirely sure
    3)Very! It will take lots of effort, but I'm ready
    4)I realize I'm in control of what I decide to take in and that I set my own limits. Being aware of this will help me feel more prepared and focus on the subject at hand.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 1)I believe fatigue is a psysiological condition because the more you think about make a decision, the harder it will be. Your brain is constantly thinking and as it goes through, for me, it becomes more frustrating and probably wouldn't end up with a decision. "No matter how rational and high minded you try to be, you can't make the decision after decision without paying a biological price", this piece of the article states my opnion because it is more like the more you change your decisions you'll never know the outcome to a specific one.
    2)I would give myself a 4 or so because I know I don't have much interest in it and I just space out randomly. I start the task confident but as it looses my attention I get drowsy with it.
    3)I am certainly ready to concentrate more than I have before. I want to grow more and understand this course better not only for that but also to succeed outside my surroundings. Therefore, the much more effort I put to this concentration it will grow before I know it.
    4)From this article, I learned that eaitng healthy and getting enough sleep will get me more energized throughout the day. So for this, I need to start eating the three meals of the day and even though I don't get hungry at times, a snack will do it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 1.I believe that decision fatigue is a psychological condition because it happens unconsciously and for the most part most psychological conditions work in that way. I feel like at the end of the day that your brain is exhausted it wants to make a choice fast but its caught between speed and the self conscious as to what is right. I feel like technology in this generation can be both a huge interruption into being your best and a great help into getting a head in life. It really depends on what mind frame you have and how determined you are within yourself to reach that goal.
    2. Is 0 an answer? If the topic really does not interest me I go into doing that task with the conscious that I don't really want to do that task. In that case I distract myself in any way ever if its daydreaming so that i can get away form the topic.
    3. I would love to learn how to concentrate better! Maybe then I could actually get my work done and get myself some more sleep at night.
    4. I have realized after reading these articles that first I have to accept that I can really concentrate if I put myself to it and I have not. Practicing will power I believe is the biggest part of being able to be successful in concentrating for longer periods of time as well as practicing this time and time again until it becomes a habit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 1. I believe that decision fatigue is a physiological condition. We as people, more likely than not, would rather do tasks we enjoy then things we have to do. This is what makes it so easy to give in to our temptations and lose all willpower. Once your off your schedule it makes it that much harder to get back on it. This happened to me last year when I was ill and missed a few days of dance class. Getting back into the routine of working out was something I really had to set my mind to just to keep myself going. Technology can both help and destroy us. If we give in to the things we desire, then we can get distracted from the task at hand. However we can also use it to acquire new information. It really depends on how hard we are willing to work and use it to our advantage .
    2. I would say I'm at around a 4. There's obviously a reason I don't like this task so no matter how important it is I find it hard to concentrate on. (Even when I watch movies I sometimes have to be doing a sudoku puzzle or something similar just to keep my mind from going somewhere else.)
    3. I would love to be able to concentrate more! The ability to stay focused would make completing work much easier and faster so that soon after I can do something I enjoy rather than wasting away not doing work to my greatest ability.
    4. It would seem that once I feel myself pull away from the task at hand, I should just take a minor break and let myself relax. Once I feel fresh again I will then be able to continue my task with hopefully renewed strength.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 1.) I think that it's a mixture of both psychological and physiological outcome that results into fatigue. The psychological aspect is motivation and the physiological aspect of it is actual mental stamina. I've personally experienced going beyond my "mental" limits regarding work, but I remember being highly motivated to finish it. I don't know if this would mean that this was self-fulfilling prophecy simply because I was more motivated to finish the work. An example from the article are the experiments from the Florida State University, these experiments reportedly stated that people were more likely to give in to temptations after their will power was "drained". In my own view, I think it simply meant they were less motivated to be stoic towards temptations since they had already fended off the other sweets and emotions. As for technology, it's both a distraction and an assistance to my goal. I need technology for help regarding information I'm not familiar with, yet it provides too much sometimes and I become too distracted to continue my initial work.

    2.) 7. I'm capable of focusing on work, but I get distracted every now and then and go off schedule from what I'm supposed to be doing.

    3.) I'm always prepared to improve myself if it's a possibility.

    4.) I guess I can improve myself by becoming more motivated or determined to finish or continue something. I don't always feel on top of my game, but I need to get over my self sometimes in order to enhance my ability.

    ReplyDelete
  22. 1. Right at this very moment I am a direct example of ego fatigue. I have experienced both mental and physical demands for around 12 hours, and it is safe to say that I honestly do not want to do this assignment. For this reason, my answers will greatly vary in length and elegance. Because I am looking at merely light on a screen, my eyes are closing ever so slightly. Technology is the farthest thing I want to be sitting right in front of. If I was to go shopping right now, like mentioned in the article, my willingness to buy just about anything would be endless. My brain would not only be craving rest, it would be demanding it. And soon enough, I would have to give in. Ego fatigue is existent, and I am falling into its trap at this very second.
    2. If I am not motivated to do something in the first place, I often will complete the task yet will add no interesting aspect to it. The number I would give to myself would then have to me about a five. My completion of the task is rewarding enough to receive half credit, but without any flavor or added individualism, the task becomes only somewhat finished.
    3. I am completely open to the possibility of being able to concentrate more effectively. Anything that improves my concentration is certainly a benefactor.
    4. Knowing the reason for something, really anything, is very powerful. Because I now know that ego fatigue truly exists, my passion to defeat it has only multiplied. I hope one day I am able to overcome it once and for all.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just because something is a physiological condition doesn't mean that it isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about it: nobody sits down before doing a large scale assignment and decides "I AM GOING TO WORK THROUGH UNTIL I AM COMPLETELY FINISHED AND I WILL TAKE NO BREAKS." No, no, if we're honest we plan to break up the work into smaller chunks more often than not. Personally, I pace myself with homework to avoid this thing I like to call "f--- it syndrome" which is what Freud coined as "ego depletion." Its that feeling of "I just don't care anymore." After a certain point, it all just blends together like those piles of suit material choices. Its not that I'm necessarily too tired, but its that i work out a reward system for myself. If I work hard, I get to take a break. If I don't...I'll still take a break. But when I'm under pressure, I can do some pretty amazing hard work. I think that ego depletion isn't really the excuse us procrastinators are looking for, but we'll find it. Eventually.

    I am a solid 6 on this scale. I do a lot of things I'm not thrilled about, but I can do some self hypnosis and kick my own butt into gear when I need to.

    Number 3, however, I have to respond with I HOPE so. I'd like to think I'm way more capable than I usually let myself be.

    I feel like I can use this information as confirmation of things I think I may or may not have already subconsciously known.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 1.I believe that decision fatigue is a self-fulfilling prophecy but there are cases where it is a physiological condition. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy because there is a point at which it would be easier take the easy way out and just shut off. Thinking and making decisions can be hard and that can most definitely lead to the feeling of lacking energy. It can also be a physiological condition. For people that have mental illnesses or any illness where it makes it hard for them to focus it’s not that they don’t want to put in the effort. They have to work harder then other people that don’t have an illness. Its bad enough trying to stay focused and do what you have to do but when you have a medical problem going against you it makes it feel also impossible to get anything done. Technology is something that I try to stay away from only because I don’t understand it much so I try to avoid it. Although, when I do use technology it enables me a lot and I get things done that I didn’t think I could. It can be very distracting at times though. Like everything in life there is a positive and negative side. It’s the same with technology. For me there is always the option of listening to music or going onto facebook. Before I know it a whole hour has gone by and I have gotten nothing done. With the internet it is easy to get side tracked. One thing on the computer leads to another thing and it ends up being this long chain of nothing really.

    2.Well with my ADD and having epilepsy it makes it difficult to concentrate overall in general. So I would give myself a four to five when it come to concentrating for long periods of time on a topic that I am not really into doing in the first place.

    3. Yes! I am always prepared for the possibility that I may be able to concentrate much more effectively than I had thought before.Who wouldn't be prepared for something like that? It actually happens sometimes.

    4. There is many ways to increase my capacity for concentrating over an extended period of time. It is just about choosing what works best for me. Also, it can take some practice and will power but I can be done.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 1. I think decision fatigue is a psychological condition because you even after a long day you are still consciously thinking about what you are doing. After making so many decision you choose to not care about the wedding gifts you want. For example when you wake up at night hungry you are tired from the day and all the homework and decision making you did that day, but you still choose the ice cream over the apple becuase you think you should have that at 1 in the moring. I believe can help and distract us from reaching our goals. Everywhere you go there can be a distraction. Example doing homework in the guad. You get distracted by friends or people walking by. Just as your phone or facebook can be minor distractions.
    2. I think I am a 4 when its come to concentrating on tasks that I do not want to do for long periods of time, mainly becuase I can be inpatient. Like anyone else if there is something at the end of it I am sure we can all concentrate for long periods of time.
    3. Yes, I think I will be able to concentrate more on my desicions becuase I realized I am making them for a reason. Something in my mund must be telling me why I choose it.
    4. I can improve by thinking about things more and seeing the end results of waiting and concentrating for long periods of time and not letting my mind wander.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 1- I believe that making decisions by the end of the day people are much less to concentrated on what they are deciding to do. They much rather find a quick answer to something rather then analyzing it. You of course are much tired by the end of the day and feel less willing to think. You much rather sleep or just lay down then open a book, straining your eyes trying to keep them open. Its has crossed my mind that the glucose level in you does effect your level of strength in anything like sports, school or basically trying to stay focused. But i wasn't sure that it effected it in such a way. I know by the time I go home after practicing for hours I am tired and much rather lay down and take a nap then force myself to do my homework. But yet I still find some will power to continue my homework if I take breaks in between.
    Technology has provided a lot of resource to everyone out there and there are the people who do take advantage of it and use it to increase their knowledge. But technology is still fun to have and just play a game here and there but it can be a great accomplishment in ones life, helping them reach their goal but at the same time it can break a person and leave them in the bottom.
    2- I wold say a 7 because i can keep focus even if it isn't as appealing to me but yet I try to be respectful and give them my attention.
    3- Reading this article caught my attention a lot and I found very interesting to read. It gave me a better understanding of why people are so tired at the end of the day and just kinda let things slide by them. It gives me motivation to actually try and stay awake during my homework even if I am dead tired from the long day.
    4- Maybe keeping some snack near by when you get hungry. because i know by third period I am kind of hungry and having a little snakc gets my mind of being hungry and am able to focus more in my class and what we're learning.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 1) I feel that decision fatigue is more a physiological problem than it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that does not mean that it can't be both. I have been mentally and physically drained today and due to that I barely made the decision to write this comment. As the day winds to a close and it nears around 10 o'clock I contemplate whether or not to finish my homework or do it tomorrow before the class period and usually I choose the latter, due to my decision fatigue. I take the path that most people follow, mentioned in the article, when they have decision fatigue, which is to do nothing.

    2)I would give myself a 6. If it's just me and it's something I really don't want to do I'll usually end up doing it, but I will get side tracked and sometimes it won't be a great job. But if I have people with me doing it, or someone motivating me then I'll usually finish it no problem.

    3)Not really. I feel like that I know myself pretty well and the limits of my ability and how capable I am of being concentrated for extended periods of time.

    4) Just having the knowledge now that about decision fatigue will help me overcome decision fatigue and hopefully fight through it and try and make the best decisions possible.

    ReplyDelete
  28. 1. I personally think that decision fatigue is a physiological condition because when I use my brain too much through out the day, I get too tired and wants to stop thinking and make a quick raucous decision. I am in this youth group called Youth Making Change, like the name, youth are making the changes by making decision. We are the funding group and we pick projects to fund. On the decision day, everyone has to agree with one decision to fund the group. But there was few number of people who disagreed on things so it takes forever to decide on one thing. But later on, people gets too tired of talking about their opinion and it worned them out so they just decide to agree with the group. It is a physiological situation to make rush uncautious decision.
    I was reading a Time magazine today, and I saw an artical called "10 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing Our World" and it had a chart that had a survey that was on "Do you think being constantly connected by technology is mostly..." and their was 76% of American who said it is helpful and there was only 13% of American who said it is burden. I think it is helpful to me but also it is distracting me. I have my i-pod with me all the time to search whatever I need quckly, but it is a very big distraction also. I always make a promise that I am just going to play little games for 3 minutes, but it becomes 3 hours.

    2. I would rate myself 1, if that is the lowest rate it can get. If the subject does not interest me a bit, I can not concentrate at all. I would have to move around alot, and thinking about different stuffs.

    3. Yes, I would love to learn that. PLEASE!

    4. By reading this article, I have learned that I need to get engough sleep and also eat healty... NOT!!! I know that strategy, and it is hard to keep. I can't get an enough sleep with all these homeworks and works and other stuffs. However, I know that I need work on it more..

    ReplyDelete
  29. 1.I think decision fatigue is a physiological condition. This topic actually related to what we had learned in economic class; which is that all the resources are limited or scarce. I believe self-discipline and willpower are limited too. I often find myself stress out after I had reach the point of ego-depletion. Sometime, I rather wake up early to study for test than stay up late the previous night. I found that one hour of study in the morning could be equivalent to two hours or even more of study at late night; especially when I am fatigued. Technology could either be a useful tool or distraction. You pretty much can find any information you want online. But, I wonder sometime if computer and internet had made our life too easy? I try to use actual dictionary to look up the words up instead of online dictionary. All I need to do to look up a word online is to type it and click Google; but when you need to flick through the actual dictionary to look up a single word. I bet you don’t want to do this process again and again of the same word. In this way, I put myself into the situation of memorize the word and definition. I did get lazy sometime; As result ,I find myself end up with the situation of search the same word again.
    2.I would give myself 7.5. In most of time, I try to concentrate and find something that I am interest in of tasks that I don’t really want to do in the first place. There are two possible results; one of them is that I did finish the task but just for completion. Another one will be that I find myself actually enjoying the process of completing the task.
    3.Yes. I am prepared for the possibility that I may be able to concentrate much more effectively than I previously believed. I think it will turn out to be very useful to me personally.
    4.I’ve learned that you can increase you capacity for concentrating over an extended period of time physically and psychologically. Having a good breakfast and good night sleep does help physically. Psychologically, having a motivation will keep people on task too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 1. I think decision fatigue is physiological, much in the same way physical fatigue is. Our brain, to me, works much like a laptop or smartphone. Smartphones and laptops are capable of doing a vast array of things, but as any user knows, the more often your phone/laptop is forced to use draining apps or programs, the faster the batter life will deplete. Our brains act much in the same way. " And the more tough choices they encountered early in the process — like going through those 56 colors to choose the precise shade of gray or brown — the quicker people became fatigued and settled for the path of least resistance by taking the default option." By doing more taxing activities early on, their "battery life" has been drained to a point where your phone or laptop reminds you with "Warning, battery life at 20%. Recharge soon." The only difference is that we don't have anything to remind us, meaning we may be running on low power for a very long time. For example, when I go driving, the first hour or so is fine. However, due to constant concentration and decision-making, I begin to feel fatigued, which then prompts me to take some rest ASAP. And technology only adds to that. While technology allows me to access more resources than previous generations, it is also a huge "time sink" just waiting for you to be unproductive.
    2. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate myself a 6. While I can do work, and I have done work, that I preferred not to do (like reading all 109 of Montaigne's essays) I find that, especially if there is an electronic device located in the vicinity I am working, I usually start taking breaks at intervals of 15-30 minutes or so. Granted, my willpower seems stronger when I'm doing physical activities, like cross country workouts, but that's still up for debate.
    3. I have always known that my concentration skills have been mediocre, to say the least. My mind is constantly wandering and thinking of new things, and my focus is constantly shifting between "caring" to "semi-caring" to "not-caring". (What's interesting is that I am, by all accounts, a very patient person). So, the thought that I can possibly improve my concentration, while jarring at first, would be a welcome improvement.
    4. Hopefully, by meditating/peaceful relaxing and a mixture of concentration practice and eating, and using the knowledge of decision fatigue to my advantage, I can improve myself.

    ReplyDelete
  31. 1. I think that it is a "self-fulfilling prophecy" because If you believe that something will result in a certain way then subconsciously or consciously your influencing your actions to result that way. If you have the mentality that you can do it, you're more motivated to try harder and succeed. Technology is just an aid to one's learning. You can use it beneficially or you can toss it aside and say "I give up". But having something where you can look at everyone's thoughts and compare/contrast them to your own, it helps your point of view on things and understand the question more easily.
    2. Starting off, maybe a 4-5. But if i really lock it in that I have to get it done, around an 8-9
    3. Of course i'm prepared, Its my will power to whether or not I want to do it.
    4.I can put more will power into the tasks I HAVE to get done, and then I'll concentrate better. Whey my options and choose what is more beneficial in the long run, whether i like it or not. And sleep, I could use that too...... haha

    ReplyDelete
  32. 1) I personally believe that decision making fatigue is a combination of a self-fulfilling prophecy and a physiological condition because the fatigue made by decision making, as proven today in class, can be caused by both of these separately or by a little bit of both. I have myself suffered through this, as I think I speak for most of high school students when I say that taking the SAT test is one of the most time consuming and grueling tests out there. Now before the SAT i was already certain that I would become completely exhausted from it after the first half but I also knew that it would be inevitable to now become exhausted. Now to technology. It is a new age where technology is apart of everyday life. Once again technology has allowed us as humans to communicate beyond "face-to-face" and to research for in a day than we could possibly maybe than in a week. So it does help with achieving goals but technology life cell phones and social networking is a hinderance to achieving goals because it is a huge distraction in the present time.
    2) Now although its hard to be honest on this one because I am almost ashamed of how I rate myself but i would have to say maybe a 6 if even that. To me motivation is almost as much as the ability to do something. It is very difficult for me to accomplish something if I really have to force my self to do it and than the quality still is a little sketchy.
    3) I know that i can concentrate more on something if I put my mind to it, the question is to whether or not i can get myself to do it.
    4) Well the most obvious by logical way to stay concentrated is preparing ahead of time, whether it be having a snack if your hungry or getting a lot of sleep. So it is definitely has a lot to do with what you do before the actual point to where you need to concentrate.

    ReplyDelete
  33. 1. I consider decision fatigue a physiological condition. The articles state that it is proven many times that a person's decision making motives decrease as the day goes on and you have been making decision for a long time. As of right now, I am pretty exhausted from going to class and trying to get work done to going to physical therapy to tennis practice to a whole load of homework from all my classes. It is safe to say I probably skimmed through the articles and got even more lazy as I kept reading. My eyes got tired of staring at the screen and i can feel myself slouching. One of the articles gave an example of willpower or decision making using a person on a diet as an example. A person who made a decision to go on a diet must have willpower, but you must eat to endure that willpower, therefore it seems physically and emotional pointless to starve yourself even one bit.
    I feel that technology helps you in various way to gain more knowledge but, it is whether or not you have the willpower to stay on task or to just blow an assignment off to go have a social life. The internet is definitely tempting, it has countless things to do and it is available all day everyday. If you can use technology as a way to achieve knowledge, I feel certain tasks would be much easier and would be done faster, decreasing decision fatigue.

    2. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably be a 6. I'm not very patient but if I knew that a certain assignment or project was important to me or a group, I would be able to concentrate for a long period of time. But at the same time, I am easily distracted.

    3. It would be so exciting to find out that there are ways to be able to concentrate for a longer period of time.It would probably improve my grades and I would have a better understanding for more things going on in class or outside school.

    4. Eating right and sleeping for a longer period of time will help me make better decision for a longer time. Food equals energy which gives you willpower to make more decision.

    ReplyDelete
  34. 1. Through experience, I feel that decision fatigue is a physiological condition since the mind is what sends the message to our tired bodies saying "we are tired, give us a break." The first article caught my eye and I had to share it with my mother for two reasons: one it was my excuse for staying up late and not giving my full effort, second I was able to relate to the article and I felt like I understood it enough to share my opinions with another. How the writer shred, "They were just asking for parole at the wrong time of day," was remarkable because I never thought of it that way. I connected that idea with some personal experiences at home and understood why after a long day of being at work my parents were more likely to say yes to a request of some sort. Anyways, technology to me is like a "frenemy." I see it as this because of how its being used in my household. We mainly use it as a connection to our friends/family instead of as a resource. The distraction it creates shadows over me, falling into temptation and allowing myself to merely flow OUT of the zone.


    2. I would say a 6... Obviously, I would try my best even though my mind is saying, "Don't do it Michelle!! This is not where you want to be." but the experience is what matters the most, negative or positive, it's what counts. For example, today's chilling experience. I wasn't expecting to last as long as I did with my hand inside the freezing ice bath, but miraculously I survived and that counted more than merely not trying.


    3. I'm prepared to see how far Dr. Preston is going to push us all. Limits or no limits, I'm willing to give anything a try, "If at first you don't succeed, try again." There's always room for improvement no matter the situation at hand.


    4. I could try to keep up with my body's signals and not allow myself to go on "automatic shutdown." Instead of taking the easy route and procrastinating, I could try to be more straight forward with my daily routine. By not skipping meals and setting a direct time for sleep, I know i'll be able to get more out of my day the next morning. The articles gave me hints here and there on how to dodge easy ways out, and by doing so I hope to apply them when ever I possibly can.

    ReplyDelete
  35. 1. When I first read the question, I automatically jumped to the conclusion that decision fatigue was the result of a self-fulfulling prophecy. But in reality, a physiological condition makes sense. Constant decision making can cause a person to become "fatigued," physically and mentally. Like in the article, the shoppers who were asked simple arithmetic questions had diffuculty solving them, which ordinarily would've probably taken a shorter amount of time. Technology can become a factor to this fatigue by causing distractions and giving an incentive to become less interested or less focused on the decision-making at hand. I know I've taken many breaks from homework by going on Facebook or playing with my iPhone, just because I was exhausted with all the questions and writing/typing that I had to do.
    2. To be honest, I'd probably rate myself a 3. Doing things for long periods of time, especially things I do NOT enjoy, has always been a real trial for me. After awhile I begin to even look for distractions around my room or get them from my family when they walk by.
    3. Oh yes, I'm most definitely prepared. I'd actually like it right now, please. Right now. Any minute now..
    4. For me, listening to music while doing something always makes it more enjoyable. The reasons I don't usually listen to it while I'm doing these things are 1)My sister cannot STAND my music, and is constantly knocking on my wall while I'm using my speakers, and 2) I'm terrible when it comes to charging my iPod, so most days it lies around my room dead. If I work on constantly charging my iPod and plugging it into my ears, I might just have the solution to my problem.

    ReplyDelete
  36. 1) I think fatigue is a psychological condition. I believe that because the more you think about making a choice the harder it will become to do, due to the fact of over think the decision making. Your brain is always thinking and when you over think something it just gets over whelming and you become frustrated and will just drop it. Also if you are indecisive on your decision you will never see what the result of that particular decision because you will keep on changing your mind on your choice making it hard to see the outcome of it.

    2) I would give myself a 5 because I am easily distracted. Also if I don't find much interest in it from the start, I begin to lose my interest and concentration on it and I won't know what I am doing because I wouldn't understand it. When I don’t find things interesting I begin to do and think of other things that I could be doing instead.

    3) I am ready to concentrate on things without finding it uninteresting making me lose focus making me to dose off. Learning to do this it will have many benefits because it will help me do better and be more interactive in class. It will not only help me in this class but others as well as it will [prepare me for college.

    4) Things that can help you be successful are eating right and getting the appropriate amount asleep daily will help you be more alert through the day. This has taught me to try to get as much sleep as I can because it will help me throughout the next day as well as eating right throughout the day.

    ReplyDelete
  37. 1. I think decision fatigue is all if not mostly physiological because subjects in the experiment were mentally drained and had to replenish using glucose. It is similar to how we need to replenish our bodies with fuel or fill up the gas tank of your car. If you're low on fuel you'll feel in a mental sense tired and therefore make hastier decisions then when you are not mentally tired. Making decisions drains up your energy and can be exhausting. I remember after taking the SATs I had to go help out my sister pick out furniture and house things for her new apartment. Whenever she asked for my opinion I just simply replied "Ya, get that one it looks good" or just "looks nice". Both of us were frustrated because she knew I didn't really care and I just wanted to go home but I couldn't till we were done shopping. Technology in the 21st century can be very beneficial if used correctly, but I suspect that most people use it for shopping, entertainment, etc. To me it is both a very helpful tool but also a huge distraction. When I come home late sometimes and have to finish homework that requires the computer I find myself on youtube looking at random videos.

    2. Reading this article gave me a sense of how weak my willpower is. On a scale of 1-10 I would have to say my I give myself a 3. Concentrating for a long period of time on something I do not want to do is for me a very difficult task. This of course involves studying for long period of time and when I do study I find my mind wondering and in the clouds.

    3. Even though the possibility is very slim I think I am able to concentrate more if there was a way.

    4. From what I learned I guess I could eat healthy snacks such as fruits regularly to keep my glucose levels up therefore not depleting my decision making willpower completely.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 1. I don't quite understand what "decision-making fatigue" is because I tend not to stress things, and I only really feel fatigued when I'm not really doing anything or if I don't get enough sleep. Also I tend not to stress over much, I live by this flow chart:
    Can you do something about your problem?
    | |
    Yes No
    V V
    Then don't stress. Then why stress?
    2. It all really depends on how important it is.
    3. I guess so.
    4. Maybe now since I have this new information, I'll notice any problems and be able to deal with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. awwww.... it pushed my expert flow-chart over D;

      Delete
  39. 1) I believe that mental fatigue is not something we can control but that it is inevitable. We must expend energy for physical activity so why not mental activity too? To me it appears that there must be some type of energy expenditure to send brainwaves between axon and dendrite. Energy powers everything in our body so it must power our brain as well. However, I have to wonder how much is expended during this process as opposed to physical movement. It is indeed on a much smaller scale so perhaps it would require less energy consumption, but then again our brain never stops thinking/deciding so it could add up? Sorry, I was going on a tangent. In a way technology helps and hinders our ability to achieve our goals. Technology can give us so many resources and information to help us but it depends on how you use technology: in a productive way it will help you, but as a pastime it will of course distract you. It is easy to be researching a topic but then get sidetracked by something that pops up and sparks your interest, or say a social networking site.

    2) Probably a 5. I get sidetracked really easily, even if it is something that I actually want to do. It’s very frustrating but I’m not sure how to change my ways.

    3) If I could concentrate more effectively that would be some of the best news I’ve heard in a while. I’ve been hoping to be able to concentrate better for a long time, and have tried to implement change by ridding myself of distractions like Facebook, and my phone while I am working. But I always seem to be gravitating back to these distractions and checking them very often.

    4) First I should learn to practice patience and not just jump to a decision without even thinking about the pros and cons of my decision. Also, as cliché as it may sound, a healthy diet will greatly aid my concentration. While sugary foods may give a spike in glucose that can be used for energy they will be lost almost as quick as they are consumed and so it would be more beneficial to eat healthier foods for a more constant supply of glucose.

    ReplyDelete
  40. 1. After reading the article and from personal analysis, I think that decision fatigue is physiological. The article has sufficient evidence but I also thought about how decision fatigue affects me. When I take a multiple choice test I find by the end of it I am more prone to guessing. This decision fatigue may be the reason why after 2 hour tests, all I want to do is sleep and relax. Tests are not physically exhausting but you still feel this mental fatigue. The article seems to prove this with the example of Jean Twenge. Technology is a tool that all of us should take advantage of.But regardless of the great things we can do with tech resources most people get distracted by facebook posts and funny videos on youtube. If we want to accomplish a goal one must have the willpower to close all the unnecessary tabs and get to work. This is an easier thing to do if you already choose before hand what your priorities are. I agree with Conor in the sense that our brain acts like a battery and the more mental decisions someone makes the more the battery gets drained.

    2. I'd say generally 5-6 depending of the importance of the task. If it is more important, the number goes up but if it is not as important to me the number drops down. If I have homework, I make sure to do the easiest first and then the more challenging tasks later because I know that if I do it the other way around, when it is 9-10pm I will push away the easier homework and leave it for the morning just because sleep is so tempting.

    3. That would be a great accomplishment and I am willing to try because I know in college I will need to concentrate much more effectively then I do in high school.


    4. Just from reading this article and being aware of the condition that my brain goes through might increase my concentration.

    ReplyDelete
  41. 1) I feel that decision fatigue is a physiological condition. I do not believe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because I do not think about being mentally fatigued, it just naturally happens as I get tired. I often find myself thinking of things I would rather be doing (like sleeping) instead of homework or reading articles. The later in the day it gets, the more I think of sleeping. This distracts my mind from what I should be doing and makes it harder for me to complete work. Like right now, I am exhausted from a long day and all I can think about is sleep. Like it says in the article, I would usually just go to bed and not finish my homework, like most people. But, I finally was able to get together enough will power to read this article and comment on it. Technology, the ways I use it, such as checking facebook or watching videos, requires very little thinking. So I often find myself doing these things instead of the work I need to do for school which actually requires some thought. But, for this class at least, when I am on the computer, it is really easy to say to myself, "I should probably do my homework for English" and just open a new tab. Overall, technology distracts and also helps me with my goals.
    2)On a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably rate my ability to do things I really don't want to as a 6. I will usually weigh the costs and benefits of whatever it is I do not want to do, such as homework. Then I will eventually decide that just doing it and getting a good grade in the class outweighs the 30 minutes I would have to just sit on my butt and relax.
    3)Yes! I feel that I would do so much better in school if I could just concentrate for a long time. Like during the SAT, I actually found myself getting super tired and bored while taking the test, and my mind started wandering. This caused my score to be low and now I have to take it again because I couldn't concentrate.
    4) Reading about decision fatigue just has helped me look at it in a way that I never have before. I feel that if I keep referring back to this article in my head as I notice myself falling into boredom, I will be able to correct myself and find the ways that work for me to not be so tired or fatigued.

    ReplyDelete
  42. 1. Decision making is a very physiological condition. Personal experience wise, being a referee has help enforced this. The later on in the day, the more likely you are to let little things go, while earlier in the day you are much sharper. Physical fatigue often plays a part in this, but it is physiological as a whole. The reading also supports this. The fact that the judge was not more malicious as the day went on proves to be a constant. The only change was the decision making and the glucose, and those results help support the idea of decision fatigue. Technology is both helping me, and hindering me. The information to be found is almost endless as are the distractions. I have been subject to both and have used both.

    2. I would like to think that I step up when something is needed to be completed. So depending on importance I would say an average of 6.

    3. Yes I actually believe that I have been well prepared to think and concentrate at higher levels than I ever have before.

    4. Statistically it is more effective to take breaks in between work time in order to gain full efficiency, such as the judge on his lunch break. Therefore I need to begin work much earlier in order to take these breaks and revamp myself for longer periods of concentration

    ReplyDelete
  43. 1. Based on my personal experiences and the assigned reading, I believe that decision fatigue is influenced by a combination of physical (biological) and psychological (belief) factors. Just as the theory of relativity relates the physical realm with that of the energy world, our physical existence is a dynamic conversion between the two realms. Physical fatigue and expectations both definitely influence decisions but they also effect and influence each other. Positive expectation can increase willpower and making a decision that is consistent with your core beliefs takes far less energy than one that conflicts you. The priority and consequence of the decision contributes to the severity of the fatigue induced by it. For example if I lie to my mom about something, the guilt causes fatigue, thereby making that decision and other unrelated decisions made in the same time frame more difficult. If I feel really good about the decision and the consequences of the decision are positive for everyone involved, the fatigue seems to be far less.
    2. My concentration on a task that I don't want to do is not very good, say about a 4 or so, but wanting or not wanting to do something is sometimes complicated. Take school work for instance, we don't really want to do it, but more opportunities are available to those who do well in school so the motivation is there to help you concentrate. You can also stay focused better on tasks that help others or ones that seem important.
    3. I welcome the possibility that I may be able to concentrate more effectively.
    4. Being in good physical and emotional health obviously helps your capacity for concentration, but being able to selectively concentrate on your highest priorities rather that someone else's priorities would be very nice!

    ReplyDelete
  44. 1. Well in my experience when I'm physically fatigued all of my faculties (mental etc.)suffer including decision making. But i additionally believe that to an extent decision making fatigue is primarily a psychological "self-fulfilling prophecy". Technology can both aid and dissuade our decision making (say a video game distracting or starving time from other "productive" activities)so ultimately physical/psychological fatigue factor in tandem to either improving or harming our decision making.

    2. On a scale from 1-10 i would genuinely rate myself 7-9. My greatest, and un-notably common or achievable, quality is my work ethic/personal discipline towards tasks even if i find no benefit or interest in such I still strive to accomplish (authentically as well as comprehensively)said task(s). But i always value realism over unreasonably. Ill never kill myself but i will be close to knockin' on heaven's gilded door, almost burstin' thru the lock. (SEE MY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE NOTES FOR AN EXAMPLE...)

    3. I am very much of the belief that personal perspective is the diviner, the both limitless and limited( depending, again on your outlook to a scenario), basis on which an individual's capacities are based. So...yes I'm not only prepared but consciously aware of the ability to further my "concentration tactics", i try to improve everyday, little or large (live and learn yadda yadda etc. and so forth).

    4. Byway of the frequently suggested but so too frequently ignored recommendations of say proper sleep, diet, and in the end a positive or optimistic outlook i believe an individual, like myself, could effectively change for the better my concentration as both my physical/psychological decision making wont be subdued by avoidable/but slothfully lethal adversities (physical, psychological, yep and the 8th sin...procrastination)

    ReplyDelete
  45. 1. I see that decision-fatigue is a physcological condition like the article states it to be. I mean a person can only take so much before their judgement and decisions are exhausted as in the case with the court cases where a larger majority of parole cases were given to criminals who had hearings in the morning when the judge was the least exhausted, compared to cases late in the day. My own experience with this is anytime i had an exhausting day at school from taking tests, writing essays, ect., later that day my homework would reflect my exhaustion with short answers that were the bare minimum effort. Technology can be helpful by making decisions easier to make. For example when you need a plumber if you had to go through a yellow pages and call various plumbers and ask for the cost while also having to contact friends to know which plumber does a good job would tire you out leading you to pick any random plumber who might flood your house. Although through technology on the internet in quicker time and less effort you can find various low cost plumbers with reviews by others in a five minutes.

    2. Thinking of myself as the worlds biggest procrastinator i would give myself as a 1, as I can distract my self with my own pencil or pen when having to do a task i rather not.Which leaves me putting it off to the last minute.

    3. Well figuering that I'm seventeen and that from now on losing concentration will come with a bigger consequence in college, work, or life, I hope I learn how to concentrate a lot better.

    4. I see that not overworking myself and taking small breaks every now and then to refresh my mind(without putting the task off for the last minute) could really help me put my best work forward,

    ReplyDelete
  46. 1. Decision fatigue is more of a physiological problem than it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that does not mean that it cannot be both. I try to decide whether or not to finish my homework or do it tomorrow before the class period and usually I choose to complete it no matter how late i have to stay up, and complete the assignment. (As you will notice most of my assignments will be completed towards the end of a night. I take the path that most people do not follow, as mentioned in the article, when they have decision fatigue. They choose to do nothing while I on the other hand decide to complete the assignment.

    2. My concentration depends on who is judging me if I fail. If there are alot of people that will be judging me then i will be at about an 8 or a 9. The fewer witnesses the lower the number goes down for me.

    3. Yes, I am welcome to that.

    4. Increase mental toughness, tell yourself never to give up and fight through the pain. it is those who never give up that have a high ability to concentrate.

    ReplyDelete
  47. 1.) I believe that is a mixture of both psychological and physicolgical. Once you become fatigued then your body starts to shut down psychologically. This is the case for decision making. When making decisions, the first couple of them will be thought out but as you progress they will become less thought out. I am currently facing decision fatigue because I'm deciding on wether I should be doing my homework or checking twitter. This should be an easy choice but since i am tired right now checking twitter and falling asleep sound so much better.
    2.) it depends on wether I HAVE to do the task at hand. But I'm general I would give myself a 5 or a 6 .
    3.) yes I am prepared. I always have an open mind on things that can help me succeed.
    4.) I think I've learned that If it is possible I shouldnt make 20 decisions at once but instead break them up Into two segments of 10 and 10.

    ReplyDelete
  48. 1. As one of the examples from the experiment in class I believe that we are self-fulfilling many outcomes in our daily lives. In part by the fact that my answers were supposed to be without any decision making, however because I am so used to being forced to make quick choices there was no real fatigue there. However this also depends on the situation, because after an AP Exam after some 60 plus multiple questions I am completely unable to think and am left with decision fatigue. From the testing in Stanford many students were self-fulfilling their own decision fatigue because they believed that after working hard for a certain period of time gave them some entitlement to a break (without a timetable). However there are many people who can multi-task without needing a break for extended periods of time because they focus on the work and not the break they receive after work.
    2. Even during my most time sensitive events, I am still only concentrating at about 8.5. All the time I should be producing a piece of work I will stop... think... recollect... and then start again from where I left off. Especially during my AP Exams, because no one really wants to take a test where all the credit for the class is based on whether you can perform that day! Instead I work really hard on my concentration and ability to produce a lot of work in a short period of time.
    3. I will be very happy if I could increase the amount of time I could devote to my events and school work with a little more ability to concentrate.
    4. When I start to think... "I deserve a break after 2 essays and an exams today!" I will remember that what I have been doing with that idea was procrastinate and make all the other work I have the rest of the day that much harder to complete.

    ReplyDelete
  49. First of all, decision fatigue is both a self-fullfiling prophecy and a physiological condition. It can be a self-fullfiling prophecy because, for example, say I was going to finish my geometry homework because I thought that I needed to work harder in the class. I would try and finish it but it would be too "difficult" for me or I couldn't remember how to do this certain problem(or when the teacher doesn't give enough information in class to do the homework!). So I would end up telling myself to just dive up because its not worth it. I made my decision to quit because it made me had to think more which made me fatigued. Now, decision fatigue can be physiological because our brains can tell us to quit. Just like how Baumeister was comparing the humand mind to a computer, our computer could say, "ERROR, ERROR! Restart the computer." We wouldn't have a choice to not restart it unless we wanted more problems with it. Our brains act like computers in that way too. If your brain says, "STOP! This is way too much, I need a break." We need to take a break for our brain's sake. If we don't we might put too much stress on our brains and cause it to "explode." Technology is helping me with my goals and hurting me also. Right now I may be typing this comment but I have Facebook in a tab just waiting for me to click on it, and hey, I do.Its the whole temptaion deal that the article was talking about. It may not be candy or soda but its something that we want instead of doing something that we have to do.

    I would say that I am a 5 in the scale. My concentration depends on what the task is at hand that I need to work on. If it's an essay that I've procrastinated on and it's due the next day, sure I'll work my butt off doing it. However, this is were it gets bad for me, if its a vocab test that I completely forgot to study for or if I just ignored it, I won't be so concentrated. But then again, it definately does depend on the task.

    To be honest, I do not think I am prepared to concentrate more than I previously have, but practice makes perfect!

    Paying attention is always percieved as looking at something directly but is never really percieved as even listening or feeling. However, I do believe that the concept of "paying attention" with concentration is definately having everything else blocked out form your brain, and let everything flow naturally. Also, to help you concentrate...EAT! At least thats one thing I got out of the article. Definately an excuse as a "midniht snack" if i need more glucose (energy) to complete something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *midnight snack (just to make that clear)

      Delete
  50. 1.) I believe that decision fatigue is a physiological condition and physical fatigue. I believe this because when you're making a decision early in the morning or at the end of the day, people make excuses. If their going to make a decision in the morning they say " it's to early i cant think", or in the afternoon they would say "it's to late i dont have any energy left". People naturally make choices without thinking about it. For example today we were going to have a hard practice and i honestly didnt wanted to question it because i was physically tired. I did what i had to do without any remarks. Technology is good and bad at the sametime. When you have hw to get done and instead you decide to go on facebook or some place else, its your choice. You can get distracted easily if you let it do it. It's also very helpful for you to get your hw done faster etc..

    2.)Maybe a 6. For me it's hard to concentrate on something i dont like to do. But if it's school relate i wont't care if i dont like doing it, i have to get it done no matter what. When i'm really distracted and not paying attention, i say to myself that its for my education, so i just do it.

    3.)I actually dont know. There are sometimes where you can do things that you are even suprise by, you didnt know that you were capable of that.The only way to find out is testing it out.

    4.) I have learn that when you get rest and a good breakfast you can do things in a confident way, even though sometimes you might be lose. Also that when you cocentrate in something you dont like, you will get some reward later.

    ReplyDelete
  51. If you think your bored than you are bored. If you think your tired than you are tired. Of course if you think you can fly then gravity will hit you wide awake. There are limits but most of what you feel because you thought of it is pure psychological. I know that when I get on rides at the fair, my palms are sweating because I'm thinking so much about the ride and level of fear I am going to receive.
    There have been cases where women exhibit signs of pregnancy yet they are not (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_pregnancy). Why? This is usually caused by the women thinking about becoming pregnant, or fearing pregnancy, so much that the body starts to develop certain characteristics to that of a pregnant body.
    Technology can both aid and impair your ability to achieve goals and complete tasks. "Information rains down faster and thicker every day, and there are plenty of non-moronic reasons for it to do so (http://nymag.com/print/?/news/features/56793/)." Technology is a fountain of information which is why people get distracted so easily by it. Technology, such as computers, also aid us in research and collaboration to ultimately complete an assignment.I think if you train yourself to ignore a popup and focus on the task at hand, technology won't be an issue for distractions.

    2) A scale varies for me because I like to switch up my environments when I work on homework. I move around in and around my house and some environments yield more distractions than others. I focus on average about 7 out of ten.

    3) I readily accept the solution to distraction problem.

    4) Well, I will definitely shut off all unnecessary tabs and other homework that way I can concentrate on solely one assignment at a time. Also, shut off my iPod that way I don't get any notifications that I might be tempted to respond to.

    ReplyDelete
  52. The way I interpreted the article led me to believe that decision fatigue is physiological condition. Throughout the article, it talked about all subjects like the crime trial, the custom tailored suits, and putting candy bars at the waiting line at grocery markets, and those are all physiological issues regarding behavior and how a person acts when his/her mind is under pressure.
    Personally, technology aides me in achieving goals, and yes I know people would disagree with me because of the fact that I'm constantly logged in on Facebook, and I never get off. But that's only a small part of my technology experience that people know about me. As an artist, the internet is a haven because of all the available resources. I would have never become fascinated with street art if I never Googled "Banksy", and to this moment, I would still think vandalism was just another hooligan act without those resources. I would have never known about Alex Pardee, the man who influences my art genre, without who I would not be the artist I am today.

    There are a lot of things that can hinder my concentration for doing a task. If there is a physical reward awaiting me upon my completion, I find that I can do a very hated task for hours without stopping. I'm not talking a mental reward, like "oh you will come out a smarter, better person when you finish" I'm talking about the rewards that give you satisfaction for earning it like money or food. Without the reward in play, I rate myself at a 1. It will take me forever to do it. There is a online class that my mom wanted me to do and she signed me up a half a year ago, and I haven't touched it since. But things like pulling weeds in the yard where I get a good amount of money out of, I can finish instantly regardless of my personal need. So with reward, I rate myself a 10.

    If there is anything in the world that can improve the amount of concentration I hold for a hated task then I would gladly welcome it. I feel like its something that is missing to myself because over the course of high school, I turned from a very diligent kid that did everything that was asked, into a rebelliously teenager that does what is personally wanted. Of course I'm a very different person then I was a few years back, but that doesn't change the fact that my concentration falters more easily then before.

    The key to my concentration is usually sleep and energy. Most of my days are fueled by more or less 6 hours of sleep. Like the parole example, I can do all my important tasks in the morning and the less significant tasks later in the afternoon/evening, and eating well and eating occasionally is also a good factor to including because I'm more of a meal person than I snack person. I only snack when I need something to keep my body moving because I can't sit still.

    ReplyDelete
  53. 1. I definitely think that decision fatigue is mostly physiological (although there is undeniably some element of a self-fulfilling prophecy involved). There's been plenty of times that I've been surprised by my own mental fatigue. Freshman year, I entered my math final knowing that I had studied sufficiently and that I hadn't found the day's previous final tiring. There was no reason for me to feel tired out, but by the final twenty problems of the lengthy test, I was ready to give up. The problems weren't especially difficult, I was just worn out. Of course, there's a slight contradiction in that by writing this, I'm acknowledging I believe in the existence of physiological decision fatigue. It could be argued that in some deep subconscious corner of my mind this is what causes the fatigue. The best I can do is qualify that I have never really put much thought into the existence of decision fatigue until now. In fact, I've often attempted to consciously deny it through all sorts of pseudo-science ("Oh, this project uses a different part of my brain, I'll be fine staying up to finish it.") for the sake of efficiency. I would say that technology both helps and hinders my goals, but it helps far more than it hinder. There's nothing inherently wrong with technology. As one article points out, it's my own fault if I go on a Wikipedia article spree instead of doing homework. Even something as simple as recording words is facilitated by technology--most people can type faster than hand-write. In fact, some of my personal goals are so computer orientated that they would impossible without technology.

    2. This varies according to how close to a deadline I am. If I have a long time for a relatively simple assignment, I get distracted incredible easily (concentration being 2-3), given that I managed to start working at all. If a deadline is approaching or there is a limited opportunity to focus (an in class lesson, for example) I can focus well, perhaps in the 8-9 range.

    3. I think I've always known that I have the potential to concentrate far better than I typically do, but I never considered trying anything like meditation. Honestly, I doubt I'll start, but the idea of "focused distraction" is still applicable elsewhere. On a more tangible note, I enjoy reading lifehacks. Some are outlandish and more trouble than they're worth, but others are both simple and incredibly effective.

    4. While not something I learned strictly form these articles (it's a method I've used before to avoid distraction) validation that a distraction typically lasts 25 minutes is useful. Before clicking on an interesting link I check the time and decide whether I have half an hour to spare. Usually the answer is no, and I get back to work. Broader ideas, such as not necessarily needing breaks also contribute to potentially greater concentration.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I believe that decision making fatigue is a phycological condition rather than a self-fufilling prophecy because te tests and studies to prove that decision making does cause fatigue weren't tested on everyone so there may be people out there who can make every decision as if it was their first decision of the day.
    Personally, technology is destracting me from my goals. For example, last semester I had to disable my facebook for the remaining 3 months of school becuase i found myself wasting away my time on facebook rather than getting my homework done. It really helped and I would suggest the stratagey to anyone. Yes, it is hard to let go of the habit of facebook, but it is SO worth it when you end up getting the GPA you had been striving for all semester long.
    2) I would rank my ability at the beginning and end of the task at a 9 or 10. I like to start and finish strong. But in the middle my mind tends to wander and i begin to focus on other things. So then my ability to concentrate and focus lowers to a 4 or a 5.
    3) I am very ready to be able to concentrate more than I possibly beleived. If i were able to concentrate more i would learn so much more at school and in life. It would benifit myself, and those around me, greatly.
    4) I can learn to focus on different parts of the activity rather that just the whole thing. I could also try really hard not to let my mind wander to different subjects like "what am i going to eat for lunch today" because thinking about all these different topics will cause me to make unnessesary decisions that will cause my brain to become tired and eventually fatigued.

    ReplyDelete
  55. 1. I believe that decision-making fatigue is more of a physiological condition rather than a self-fulfilling prophecy because from my own personal experience, the reading and our in-class study, it sounds more like we begin getting fatigued simply because our minds lack some sort of endurance which I believe any AP student would attest to. Technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to our enabling us, on the one hand, when used properly technology could not only strengthen your endurance, but also help you retain information, but on the other hand, since technology is generally used for instant gratification people diminish their own mental endurance without even being aware of it. Therefore when you continue to make decision after decision your body and mind begin to pay a "biological price".
    2. My ability to concentrate on something I am not really interested in at all usually ranks in between a two and four simply because I've already made the subconscious decision that this task will not only be banal, but will also require effort in some way, whether it be mental or physical. Therefore when the time comes for me to do the task I get easily distracted and try to avoid the task as much as possible, but when I can't avoid it a minute longer and I begin a task with the internal motivation to complete within the hour (just an example), I usually finish the assignment and would rate my concentration at a seven or eight.
    3. If there is a way that I can change my way of thinking or acting that will in effect make me able to concentrate more effectively, I am more than willing to look at the possibility and ultimately change the habits I have that need to be changed.
    4. I can increase my capacity of concentrating over an extended period of time by not only strengthening my endurance, but by using mental tools in order to give my mind the rest it needs for a quick period of time and then reeling it in to finish strong. I must also go in to the situation with the proper mind set so that I can be motivated enough to give the task my level best.

    ReplyDelete
  56. 1. I believe decision-fatigue is all in a hunans mind. Decision-fatigue, although common, does not pertain to all individuals but rather most of them. There is a difference between "all" and "most." It is all undoubtedly physiological. Technology has no fault in human distractions. It is the person that makes it a distraction. Technology can help learning more than it can harm it but humans are the ones making the decisions as to which way they wish to use it. Technology is not the only thing capable of distracting humans from their dialy work. In the article we saw the women who had lost her effecetiveness at work because her mind was occupied on her wedding so personal liveis can keep you from preforming to the best of your abilities. The jury decisions at the beginning were influenced greatly on the time of day in which he had his court hearings and so criminals were given unfair paroles. We ourselves are constantly tested on how much we are willing to give up in order to succeed later. We can enjoy life now and not get homework done or we cam go through high school doing all of the work and enjoy life later.
    2. On a scale of 1-10 I would say I am a 6 on being able to concentrate on something I do not wish to work on. When I see myself forced to do something I don't put in the effort it deserves and I find anything else to do that keeps me from having to do what I actually have to do. These distractions are not neccessarily fun but they help me not do the intended task.
    3. More than prepared for the possibility of being able to concentrate more effectively than I previously believed, I am hopeful. Distractions keep me from doing all I need to do in order to succeed and they take up a large amount of time. This is time I can be using to advance my future and comtinue building my road toward success.
    4. In order to use what I have learned I must first set my priorities straight. I have to know what it is that I truly want and what it is going to take to get there. I need to designate time to doing nothing but the work that will lead me straight into the mouth of success and in order to be swallowed I must place effort in what I do. It should not matter whether or not Want to the task. All that should matter is that I do it and I do it right.

    ReplyDelete
  57. 1) In my thought process, and it has been proven to me, by me, througought the day, that I will be "fresh" in the early morning, and able to do work. Later througought the day, I will slowly become more and and more "worn", but I will still work, just maybe not at the same speed and vigor as I did in the early morning. Technology definately is a double-sided sword. It really depends on which goal. Technology can greatly enhance your ability to accomplish something, but if that something isn't very important to you, and you have technology, it (tech) could pose a major hurdle in your race to finish your goal. Technology is a beautiful thing, it just (in my opinion) has a "Minimum IQ Test" and a "Willpower Test" if you have a lower IQ than needed, you'll get bad sources, get mad at trolls, and become the laughing-stock of the internet. If you have lower willpower than needed, you'll be on Facebook all day.

    2) I'd say a 6.5 - 7 / 10. It really comes down to how "fresh" I am. I can work on something that I despise for days, if I'm eternally "fresh".

    3) Yes, I pride myself on my ability to adapt quicly to new situations, with new variables.
    4) I already had an extremely long line of thought "stamina" present in my skill set, bordering on super-human.

    ReplyDelete
  58. 1. Decision fatigue is not a self-fulfilling prophecy it is a physiological condition. Your mind will tire out after the process of making many decisions over the course of time and it will look for shortcuts or ways to not have to strain itself more.Technology is distracting me from my goals as i often find it easier to let technology do some of the work for me instead of accomplishing it entirely by myself. My example is that last night i neglected to do my English homework because I was too tired from all my other work, so I relaxed and procrastinated. I sat on the computer and had fun rather than finishing my work, technology hindered me in accomplishing my goals because it was a distraction to my fatigue.

    2.I would say that I have a 5 on this scale as i sometimes can concentrate on tasks I find boring but more often i get distracted or neglect to do the task all together.

    3. Yes. I would love to find out that I can concentrate much better than I have in the past. It would help to prevent me from doing my homework at 6:30 in the morning before school.

    4.To use what i have learned to increase my capacity I must first set a goal and priorities. I will have to make decisions on whether or not to procrastinate or forgo doing the task at hand all together. It comes down to determining what I want to do with my time. If my goal requires me to concentrate on something I find very dull then I must have the will power to overcome the task and not take the easy way out.

    ReplyDelete
  59. 1. I believe that decision fatigue is a physiological factor.. The main reason I believe that to be true is because I had never thought of it as either before and I'm sure I'm not the only one who hasn't done so. So the people in the article doing the experiments and the malls and other places, there had to be some that the thought hadn't crossed their minds either. So how would it have an outcome on them if they didn't have an outcome to expect? At the same time, if you let someone know of the expected outcome it could have an effect on someones choice, especially whether to quit or continue. I think that technology can be both helpful and distracting, it all depends on what we're using it for. If we're using it to study for a test, or something along the lines of this blog, then yes of course it's helping us learn and think. If it's something like a troll site that we're looking at while we're procrastinating homework, not so much.
    2. It's hard to give myself a specific number because I think my number slowly, or maybe rapidly, decreases as time goes on. At the beginning of the task I'm completely focused and ready to get this done so I don't have to do it anymore. Halfway through, less encouraged and decreasingly so until I get to the last question and excitement/delirium kicks in.
    3.I'm prepared for that study to be proved true that you may be more capable but I think it all has a number of factors. For instance, last night when I was trying to finish this article before going to bed. I was about to take a break when I reached the article talking about not taking a break being better for you. It said to push through it and it was a matter of will. So I attempted to buck up and push through until sleep overwhelmed me and I told myself I would answer these questions in the morning. Something like that is a little different and I'm sure there are more factors similar.
    4. Knowing the reasoning behind the ego fatigue makes me think that in the future I will push onward knowing that it is my will power that is make the decision. However, if your decision making abilities are fatigued would you have to push through til a second whim or something similar?

    ReplyDelete
  60. 1. I think that decision fatigue is not an outcome from your expectations but a result from your physiological condition. When you are tired you tend to take easier paths to finish rather than think things through. I have done this several times with homework before just because of all the tiring choices from that day. Technology is a doubled edged sword with learning. Sure it can be really useful to quickly pass information around but it is also just as if not easier to start doing something unproductive online.

    2. When I have to do something I don't want to do I really don't concentrate on doing it much. I would give myself a 5 because if I have to do it I usually will but sometimes I just give up on it.

    3. Yes I am prepared to be able to concentrate more effectively than before.

    4. From what I have learned I can increase my capacity for concentrating by trying to make less abrupt choices throughout the day.

    ReplyDelete
  61. 1. I believe physical fatigue is nonexistent. We control ourselves and our body through our mind. If you pep talk yourself before a test you tend to do better on it about 90% of the time, at least I do, and I believe you can run out of energy physically but not spirit or will. Technology is not a distraction, my mind is. I make choices not the things around me that attempt to influence my mind, at the end of the day the choice to procrastinate was my own.

    2.My concentration level is a simple yes or no not a number. I feel neither motivated or demotivated when approaching a task I feel simply as I do and nothing more. With my life it's a yes or a no depending on my wants. I am always guided by my specific choices at any specific moment and will do as I please. There's no constant in life and there's no number to describe the wants of the human mind.

    3. I'm not prepared to learn just open to the possibilities of knowledge. There's a difference that I just simply cannot find words for.

    4. I have learned many things, but plan to utilize few. Utilize being the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. My choices will continue to be random and momentary and I will continue not to regret any of them because for my mental well-being, my choices are to achieve what makes me the most sane me throughout the day. I will take in this information one day at a time and hopefully at some point me able to find a way these lessons will effect me on a daily basis in a constant positive light.

    ReplyDelete
  62. 1. I think decision fatigue is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel like I can make sensible decision more towards the end of a hard day. There can be some days (yes an exception to the rule) when I can’t think straight, that is knowledgeable though and I know I will make poor, not thought out decisions. I know when I get upset with my coworkers it is because I am tired or haven’t had enough to eat (all part of fatigue). I think when you can catch those things then you know you have control over your mind and body. Technology can help me reach my goals if I am driven and know what I need to get done. Then comes in social network and that is where it becomes an issue in me getting distracted. Looking at a computer screen all day defiantly takes it out of me and I’m not sure why.
    2. I say a 6 on being able to focus. It is harder at times when I haven’t gotten enough sleep or know I need to be doing something else. I can also convince myself really easily though that I need to be doing what I am doing. It has taken a good amount time for me to train and condition myself though.
    3. I feel that I may be able to concentrate more then I thought I could, again I think that goes with training yourself and knowing what you can and can not take on your mind and body. No one person is the same.
    4. What I can take out of this and learn from about concentrating is that I can eat food and not feel guilty about it because it will help me concentrate. Although I still don’t think eating junk food is good for you at anytime.

    ReplyDelete
  63. 1. I believe that decision fatigue is a physiological condition that most of us know as stress. As for technology, it depends. Technology allows us to research topics better, and to expand our learning environment but there is always that temptation to leave your work and watch "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" for 45 minutes instead of working.
    2. I would place myself at at least a 5 but keep in mind that I tend to let half my mind wander while I'm concentrating...it's like two different thought processes, it's hard to explain.
    3. Well that would be more help full to concentrate more but so far concentration has never been my strong suit.
    4. I believe the easiest way for me to increase my concentration is to simply approach decisions with a specific mind set, with the right mind set I can concentrate for hours on end.

    ReplyDelete
  64. 1. I think decision fatigue is a physiological condition. I know as the day goes on and as i start to get more and more tired i tend to put things off. I am very good at convincing myself that "i'll do it later." Sometimes i feel like I just need to take a 30 minute nap to refresh my brain because I feel that when my body isn't so drained I have more energy to focus. There have been many times when I have fallen asleep doing my homework. I have noticed, however; when I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I havent finished it I am more determined and focused to work and get my work done right. Technology is definitely beneficial to help you research and find information, but on the other hand in my case especially it is so distracting. I can't go more than 15 minutes without receiving a text or having to check my Instagram or Facebook.
    2. I would say I am at like a 4 on a scale of 1-10. In situations that I am not interested in I really try to focus but eventually I find myself playing on my phone or drifting off in a daze thinking about something I find more interesting.
    3. I know I can concentrate much more than I believe but the work that will be put into it just seems so difficult and time consuming. I can take baby steps into trying to make my lack of concentration more effective.
    4. After reading the article i did what they said in the very beginning. I closed all my other tabs and set my phone down to try and concentrate and stay focused so I could get the full understanding of what point they were trying to get across. I found myself actually somewhat interested in what facts they were proving and then I realized I was more than a third of the way done with the article before I even realize I hadn't touched my phone. I feel that if I would just try to work at avoiding distractions that are right in front of me that my concentration capacity will start to develop stronger.

    ReplyDelete
  65. 1. Based on my personal experience, these readings and our in class study I think decision fatigue is physiological condition. For example, when first off a day I am full of energy but as the day progresses my energy levels decrease substantially. Just like what they found when Roy F. Baumeister tested both dogs and humans in decision fatigue examinations involving mental tests. Further more in my opinion technology has the ability to help us achieve our goals as well as distract us from them. The internet is a very efficient and useful innovations it can quickly search the answer to a math problem helping you on tomorrows quiz just as fast as it can connect you to your friends on Facebook and other social network sites.
    2. For me I have a difficult focusing in general for long periods of time on anything no matter my interest in it. But it is extremely hard to focus when part of me wants to be doing something else entirely. For those reasons on a scale from one to ten one being the lowest I’d probably place myself around a 3.
    3. Yes! I wish I could concentrate more and hopefully after this article I can. As for being prepared for it I won’t actually know until I am (better at concentrating).
    4. From what the article and the findings of the experiments has said about the relationship your food intake has on your brain I will definitely be eating more frequently throughout the day.

    ReplyDelete