chocolate-fudge-brownie-ice

The Science Behind Willpower

  • We all have cravings.
  • We all have willpower.
  • Unfortunately for our living room furniture…our collective willpower seems to be getting it’s ass kicked by our cravings for junk food.

So, imagine my delight when a group of scientists from Caltech U discovered which region of the brain is responsible for resisting cravings.

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Specifically, the researchers found that when people are presented with a temptation like chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, two regions of the brain go to war. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the  dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC).

After tempting a group of test subjects with an ooey-gooey chocolaty dessert, the researchers found that

  1. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) drives us to give in to the pleasure of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream
  2. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) drives us to resist that short term pleasure for long term health benefits.

They also found that both regions become active and compete against each other when we are presented with a temptation like ice cream, booze, extra-marital sex, etc.

They also found that unless you strengthen the dlPFC by resisting short term urges on a regular basis… it’s going to get it’s butt kicked by the vmPFC.

In essence – willpower is a muscle…just like Grandma said.

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One thought on “The Science Behind Willpower

  1. Willpower level vary from individual to individual and there are many factors that play a unquie roll in the action/reaction in our behavior. Working in the addiction treatment industry often people struggle with their willpower to resist unhealthy urges. Many find that transistioning their energy towards healthy habits such as working out.

    Great article thanks for the great health information

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