More and more research suggests that our brains have difficulty differentiating between observing an action and actually participating in it. Empathy, for example, seems to hinge in part on our ability to “take on” another’s emotions through vicarious experience. I always think of this when watching a comedian fall flat. I can feel the embarrassment as if I’m standing there on stage looking at a room full of blank stares.
A study in the journal Psychological Science investigated this dynamic, but from a different angle: researchers wanted to know if observing someone else exert self-control boosts or reduces one’s own self-control. [Read more…] about What to Do and Not to Do to Boost Self-Control