Make important life decisions when you really have to pee

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - What should you do when you really have to pee? Take important life decisions, perhaps, suggests a new study.

The research has found that controlling your bladder makes you better at controlling yourself when making decisions about your future.

Sexual excitement, hunger, thirst-psychological scientists have found that activation of just one of these bodily desires can actually make people want other, seemingly unrelated, rewards more.

Mirjam Tuk, of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, came up with the idea for the study while attending a long lecture. In an effort to stay alert, she drank several cups of coffee.

By the end of the talk, she said, “All the coffee had reached my bladder. And that raised the question: What happens when people experience higher levels of bladder control?”

With colleagues, Debra Trampe of the University of Groningen and Luk Warlop of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tuk designed experiments to test whether self-control over one bodily desire can generalize to other domains as well.

In one experiment, participants either drank five cups of water, or took small sips of water from five separate cups. Then, after about 40 minutes-the amount of time it takes for water to reach the bladder-the researchers assessed participants’ self-control.

Participants were asked to make eight choices; each was between receiving a small, but immediate, reward and a larger, but delayed, reward.

The researchers found that the people with full bladders were better at holding out for the larger reward later. Other experiments reinforced this link; for example, in one, just thinking about words related to urination triggered the same effect.

“You seem to make better decisions when you have a full bladder,” said Tuk.

The findings have been published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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