Monday, August 20, 2007

Impossible Impulses Explored

tidbits that tantalizeWell??

This is going to be tough.

You love Sally, and your get togethers on Saturday mornings are the best. What a great friend - bright, fun, articulate. And, the cappuccino is fabulous. Really, if it weren't for the scones it'd be perfect. Well, the scones and the raspberry tarts - the chocolate chip cookies, the blueberry muffins, the little cinnamony things...

Ah, that clears it up. Please step to the right; you belong in the Impulsive group. You, in the back, with the bottled water and clean table, step to the left - you belong with the other hungry folks in the Prudent group.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania recently took a look at impulses and emotions. They concluded there are two basic personality types: the "impulsive" and the "prudent." While both may give in to temptation, their responses are distinctly different.

They found that both impulsive and prudent people experience stress when they indulge in an impulsive act, such as eating a sugary dessert. But, the impulsive group quickly forgets the stress associated with their indulgence, and moves on to savoring the wonderful memories they've created. Ah, chocolate cake...

The prudent folks have no such "luck." They respond in virtually the opposite manner. In addition to the stress, they also feel an initial surge of guilt and regret. They then attach themselves to the guilt and milk it for all it's worth. As time passes, they continue to remember the negative aspects of their indulgence. The wonderful pleasures of a luscious double fudge brownie sundae? Gone and forgotten.

As you may imagine, the disparate reactions lead to significantly different choices in the future. The Impulsives are drawn back to their indulgences by the tug of tender memories. The Prudents are driven ever deeper into the land of low-fat fare.

The scientists have no explanation, however, for the tendencies of the prudent individuals to suddenly lose their train of thought, and babble incoherently, whenever a dessert tray rolls past.

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To determine whether you are an Impulsive or a Prudent, take a look at these treats from Just Desserts - you'll know quickly enough...


Anonymous Karen said...

definitely the impulsive group for me. I can't resist good food.

2:30 AM  
Blogger tim said...


Ah, the impulsive group...

I envy the ability to throw caution to the wind and dig into a gooey treat at a moment's notice.



8:51 AM  
Anonymous suzanne said...


Gee. This is tough.

Let's see.

Which group do you think I fall into? :)

Suzanne (eating a molasses cookie as I type)

3:33 PM  
Blogger tim said...


Too funny.

Hey, at least you type fast enough that the molasses doesn't set up and glue your fingers to the keyboard.

Have a great day - and, of course, enjoy the snacks...


3:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home