The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Daily Blast

March 10, 2014

Giving up something for Lent? Shhh.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — WASHINGTON — Hello, Gentile friends! Have you decided what you are abstaining from for Lent yet? (Probably! Lent started last Wednesday.) If you want to increase your chances of trampling temptation into the dirt for the next 38 days, a 2010 paper from the journal Psychological Science recommends you do the following once you’ve landed on a sacrifice: Tell no one.

The paper reports on two interlocking studies by researchers from New York University. In the first, 49 first-year psychology students wrote down two academic goals each (e.g. “I will take reading assignments more seriously” or “I will unlock the mysteries of the human mind”). Half the students stood by while the experimenter read their words back to them. The remaining students were told the goal question had been included by mistake and that their responses would be thrown away. Fast forward one week: All of the participants returned to the lab and notched the days on which they’d conformed to their resolutions. You might expect those in the first group to report better track records — they were the ones whose goals were on social display — but the opposite was true. Students whose words had remained private did a better job honoring their plans, while those who’d been exposed showed less willpower.

In a second study, 32 law students ranked the statement “I intend to make the best possible use of educational opportunities in law” on a scale of one to nine. (All but two wrote down scores higher than five.)

For half of the students — the ones randomly assigned to the “social reality” condition — the psychologist would read the students’ responses back to them, as if to confirm they’d heard correctly. In the “no-social reality” group, the aspiring lawyers simply dropped their responses into a box, ensuring they’d remain anonymous. Next, the law students were asked to help the psychologists design a study package for use in law schools, and were given 45 minutes to try to solve a series of cases being considered for inclusion, but were told they could leave earlier if they wanted. The group whose intentions remained anonymous spent longer working on the cases.

The researchers argue that simply articulating your dream helps you feel closer to attaining it. You “derive a sense of accomplishment” from having publicly stated a goal; all the messy details of follow-through suddenly seem less important. (You’ve got a plan, you’re practically already there! The brass tacks will take care of themselves.) Also, voicing one’s intentions can be a way of solidifying a persona — I am the type of student who aspires to X — that ultimately makes the X redundant. If everyone already knows you think “educational opportunities in law” matter, then why bother working late?

Robb tied the study’s findings to Lent to conclude that, if you wish to share your abnegations on social media, you could be strewing rocks across your own path to virtue. She also reveals the top 10 most-mentioned sacrifices on Twitter this year, according to a list by OpenBible’s Stephen Smith:

1. School

2. Chocolate

3. Twitter

4. Swearing

5. Alcohol

6. Soda

7. Social networking

8. Sweets

9. Fast food

10. Lent

They may be destined to fail, but at least these Tweeps haven’t given up their sense of humor.

 

1
Text Only
Daily Blast

Ask Izzy
Pet of the week

Oddly Enough
Going Dutch

Fantasy Front Office
Guess Who
  • Guess Who! Week 29!

    There he was, this 66-year-old grandfather of four, hanging 200 feet above the jungle canopy, under which may have been slithering boa constrictors, Burmese pythons or the odd tarantula. “If I fell down,” this resident of Montour County says, “I’m in there dealing with bugs and snakes and whatever.” His goal earlier this month was to hang on

    Continued ...
    Anonymous The Daily Item Fri, July 18
    Jul 18, 2014 1 Photo
  • Guess Who! Week 28 ID'd!

    1, 2, 3 ... . This Lancaster County native’s job was to count every Allegheny Mountain dusky salamander he saw in every square yard of that expansive swamp off Interstate 79 in Crawford County.

    Continued ...
    Anonymous The Daily Item Mon, July 21
    Jul 18, 2014 1 Photo
  • Guess Who! Week 28! Jul 11, 2014 1 Photo
  • Guess Who! Week 27 ID'd! Jul 11, 2014 1 Photo
  • Guess Who! Week 27! Jul 4, 2014 1 Photo

Headline This! - Contest

Outshoot the Experts! - Contest

Watch This