9 Aug 2022


The Restraint Bias: Why We Underestimate Ourselves and Overestimate Others

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Case Study

Words: 276

Pages: 1

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Restraint bias refers to individual tendency to undermine their personal ability to control impulsive behavior. According to Jones, Cole, Goudie, & Field, (2012), individuals who undermine their inflated self-will beliefs may end up into greater exposure to unwanted temptation. Therefore, personal restraint bias is in most cases linked to addiction. An example of an impulsive behavior is where a person decides to experiment using hard drugs which are usually addictive by believing that they are in a position to resist any potential addiction. In such as case, a person may be unable to control his/her ability to resist using such drugs due to personal, visceral impulses. Visceral impulses are considered to maintain the current body behavior necessary to ensure that the body is satisfied (Jones, Cole, Goudie, & Field, 2012). 

The most common visceral impulses that are adaptive to cause individuals underestimate their resistance desires include hunger, sexual arousal, pain, and fatigue. As Jones, Cole, Goudie, & Field, (2012) notes, such visceral impulses may offer long-term effects to personal life goals as it may prove tough to avoid the usual behavior. For example, a person may indulge into alcohol drinking by believing that he/she is not going to be addicted. In such a case, the more a person is being encouraged that they have a high capacity of self-control against alcohol, the more such a person will believe such opinions and therefore will display higher impulse control levels. However, the less attention a person pays to addictive behavior; the less control such a person will exhibit towards whatever they are doing. Therefore, individual self-control towards a particular behavior helps to compete against the pressure that may result due to the physical environment in which a person is operating. For example, a reformed alcoholic person who has self-control may not keep company with individuals who may have introduced him to drinking alcohol due to the fear of resuming the act. 

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Jones, A., Cole, J., Goudie, A., & Field, M. (2012). The effect of restraint beliefs on alcohol-seeking behavior.    Psychology of addictive behaviors ,    26 (2), 325. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). The Restraint Bias: Why We Underestimate Ourselves and Overestimate Others.


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