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From Firm Muscles to Firm Willpower: Understanding the Role of Embodied Cognition in Self-Regulation

Posted: 27 Mar 2011  

Iris W. Hung

National University of Singapore (NUS) - NUS Business School

Aparna A. Labroo

University of Chicago

Abstract

Across five studies, we show that firming one’s muscles can help firm willpower and firmed willpower mediates people’s ability to withstand immediate pain, overcome tempting food, consume unpleasant medicines, and attend to immediately disturbing but essential information, provided doing so is seen as providing long term benefits. We draw on theories of embodied cognition to explain our results, and we add to that literature by showing for a first time that our bodies can help firm willpower and facilitate self-regulation essential for the attainment of long-term goals.

Keywords: Embodied Cognition, Self-regulation, Self-control, Willpower

JEL Classification: M31, C91, D18, D12

Suggested Citation

Hung, Iris W. and Labroo, Aparna A., From Firm Muscles to Firm Willpower: Understanding the Role of Embodied Cognition in Self-Regulation. Journal of Consumer Research, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1790324

Iris Hung (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - NUS Business School ( email )

1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592
Singapore

Aparna Labroo

University of Chicago ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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