Will Power

This post is a table of contents for finding the postings I’ve written over the years on the topic of pico-economics, i.e. George Ainslie’s model of what a horribly difficult time we have with impulse control.

  • This posting explains how tremendously overvalue temptations that are closer v.s. further away; and how this annoys us.  Experiments show it annoys even pigeons.  Control of Appetite
  • The competing interests in your head can be thought of as a gang consisting of each interest.  They are caught in a kind of prisoner’s dilemma.

Ainslie enumerates a very short list of techniques for gaining rational control over your irrational selves.  His name for this is intertemporal bargaining.

  • The surprising one is the use of emotions to buttresses our defenses.  He calls that preparation of emotion (never talking to her again!). similar
  • but more rational, are long lived personal rules (never ever drink before 5pm),
  • on a more moment to moment basis is the manipulation of attention (don’t look at her!)
  • what we do outside our head, or extrapsychic commitments (e.g. moving to a dry town)

When I’m a good boy all these are included in the category pico-economics and I have a little wiki about pico-economics.