Chapter 26: Self-Control Theory
Self-control theory The self-control theory my colleagues and I developed evolved slowly over many decades, intended to integrate work on two closely interconnected questions of both my scientific and personal life. From the start of my career I was driven by these two questions, and I felt that the answer to each hinged on the answer to the other. First, given the power of the situation, demonstrated so often by social psychologists, how do individuals manage, at least sometimes, to inhibit and control their impulsive automatic responses to powerful situational pressures, overcoming “stimulus control” with “self-control”? Second, given the great variability one sees in what anyone does and thinks and feels across different situations, what are the consistencies that distinctively characterize individuals over the life course? In this chapter I discuss some of the empirical labors and surprising discoveries, as well as ideas, and the good luck, that ultimately allowed ...