Yielding not to temptation may be harder to do than most of us suspect. New research by the Kellogg School of Management says most people miscalculate the amount of temptation they can truly handle. That leads to a higher likelihood of indulging in impulsive or addictive behavior. Study leader Loran Nordgren says “people are not good at anticipating the power of their urges, and those who are the most confident about their self-control are the most likely to give into temptation.”

One experiment focused on cigarette addiction. Researchers discovered those who overestimated their capacity for self-control were far more likely to smoke a cigarette after simply viewing a movie about smoking. Nordgren says the research suggests that people think twice before judging others who give in to their urges. Study details will appear in an upcoming issue of “Psychological Science.”

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