Yesterday, a very strange headline in Times of India caught my eye. It said Big decision? Hold your pee for a clear mind. I couldn’t resist reading further.
Conventional wisdom holds that one should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Now, if new research is to be believed, one should never make a big decision on an empty bladder, either.
Researchers discovered the brain’s self-control mechanism provides restraint in all areas at once.
The researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands found that people with a full bladder were able to better control and “hold off” making important, or expensive, decisions, leading to better judgement.
The study was conducted by Mirjam Tuk. In her study, Dr Tuk asked volunteers to drink either five cups of water containing 750 millilitres or take small sips of water from five separate cups.
After 40 minutes, the estimated time water is thought to reach the bladder, researchers assessed participants’ self-control.
They were asked to make eight choices ranging from small, and immediate, rewards to larger, but delayed, ones including choosing to receive either $16 (£10) tomorrow or $30 (£18) in 35 days.
They concluded that people with full bladders were better at holding out for the larger rewards later.
Their findings contradict conventional wisdom that says people who are forced to “restrain themselves” put more pressure on their brain and found it difficult exerting self-control.
Let’s assume for a moment that this research is true. It could throw up some very interesting possibilities.
Want to take your wife out for shopping? Make sure she drinks a lot of water before you enter the shop. This will automatically postpone her impulsive decisions and save you some money.
On the other hand, if you are a owner / manager of a shop that depends on people making impulsive purchases, you should consider having a prominently visible bathroom in your shop so the customers will make more impulsive decisions.
Or for an office meeting, make sure everyone drinks up before they enter the meeting room and extend the meeting well past 45 minutes and keep all the important decision making towards the end of the meeting. We may actually get wiser decisions.