Personality not only coveys the overall temperament of an individual, but also plays a critical role in determining the amount of self control one has.
A new study led by Jiewen Hong and Angela Y. Lee from North-Western University introduced two types of personality that motivated self-control. They said that people are either "promotion-focused," seeking products that will help them achieve hopes and aspirations, or are "prevention-focused," seeking items that help achieve a need for safety and security.
"While self-help remedies are saturating the market, resisting temptations remains a strenuous process and a constant struggle for many people," said the researchers
"The data reported in this research offer an important step toward understanding self-control and highlight the benefits of adopting the right goal pursuit strategies," they added.
According to researchers promotion-focused individuals experience "fit" when they implement strategies that strive toward gains and experience "nonfit" when they adopt vigilance strategies that guard against losses.
However, prevention-focused individuals experience "fit" when they adopt vigilance strategies to address their concern for safety and security.
The study participants were asked to fill a questionnaire asked to choose between an apple and a chocolate bar as a snack.
The results showed that 80 percent of those who had been asked to think about strategies that "fit" with their focus chose the apple, while only 20 percent of those who adopted conflicting strategies chose the apple.
In a second trail, participants were asked to get tested for hepatitis.
They measured the participants' willingness. They found that participants who perceived themselves to be at low risk and adopted goal pursuit strategies that fit their promotion or prevention focus were more willing to get tested for hepatitis than those who were asked to think about strategies that did not fit with their pre-determined focus.
"[We] find that when people adopt goal pursuit strategies that fit with their promotion or prevention focus, they have better self-control. In contrast, their self-control is weakened when they adopt goal pursuit strategies that conflict with their focus," explained researchers.
"Self-control is not just about doing the right things, but also about doing things the right way," they added.