In the 1990s, Baumeister and his colleagues spent a lot of time researching self-regulation through the careful application of chocolate. Self-regulation is an important part of being a person. You are the central character in the story of your life, the unreliable narrator in the epic tale of your past, present, and future. You have a sense there is boundary between you and all the other atoms pulsating nearby, a sense of being a separate entity and not just a bag of organs and cells and molecules scooped out of the sea 530 million years ago. That sense of self cascades into a variety of other notions about your body and your mind called volition – the feeling of free will that provides you with the belief that you are in control of your decisions and choices. Volition makes you feel responsible for your actions both before and after they occur. There are a few thousand years of debate over what this actually means and whether or not it is an illusion through and through, but Baumeister’s research over the last decade or so has been about learning how that sense of self-control can be manipulated.
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