自制力是腦部執行功能之一，也是一種認知的過程，而且是一個人能否透過管理自己的言行舉止來達成某個特定目標的一種必要能力。 在心理學中，有一個與自制力相關的概念稱為自我情緒管理。 根據許多的研究，無論是自我情緒的管理或是自我行為的管理能力，他們就像能量一樣是有限的，簡單來說：自制力就像是肌肉量一樣是會變動的。 在短時間內過度的自制力會導致自制力的減損。然而，長時間適度地使用自制力，可以使自制力逐漸地增強。 。
Kelly McGonigal's 的理論编辑
Kelly McGonigal把意志力定義為「能去做你真心想做的事情，即便有一部分的你並非真的想做，也攔不住你追尋夢想的決心」 （"the ability to do what you really want to do when part of you really doesn't want to do it."）
- 我將會做什麼。→ 有能力去做我應該做的事情。
- 我將不會做什麼。→ 無法抵擋誘惑的能力。（亦即自制力的反面）
- 我想做什麼。→ 我真心渴望的夢想。能記住自己人生的夢想藍圖的能力/無論在何種情況下都不會忘記自己人生的夢想藍圖。
- Matt DeLisi. Chapter 10: Low Self-Control Is a Brain-Based Disorder. SAGE Publications Ltd. [4 May 2014]. （原始内容存档于2014-10-20）.
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Core EFs are inhibition [response inhibition (self-control—resisting temptations and resisting acting impulsively) and interference control (selective attention and cognitive inhibition)], working memory, and cognitive flexibility (including creatively thinking “outside the box,” seeing anything from different perspectives, and quickly and flexibly adapting to changed circumstances). ... Self-control is the aspect of inhibitory control that involves control over one’s behavior and control over one’s emotions in the service of controlling one’s behavior. Self-control is about resisting temptations and not acting impulsively. The temptation resisted might be to indulge in pleasures when one should not (e.g., to indulge in a romantic fling if you are married or to eat sweets if you are trying to lose weight), to overindulge, or to stray from the straight and narrow (e.g., to cheat or steal). Or the temptation might be to impulsively react (e.g., reflexively striking back at someone who has hurt your feelings) or to do or take what you want without regard for social norms (e.g., butting in line or grabbing another child’s toy).
Another aspect of self-control is having the discipline to stay on task despite distractions and completing a task despite temptations to give up, to move on to more interesting work, or to have a good time instead. This involves making yourself do something or keep at something though you would rather be doing something else. It is related to the final aspect of self-control—delaying gratification (Mischel et al. 1989)—making yourself forgo an immediate pleasure for a greater reward later (often termed delay discounting by neuroscientists and learning theorists; Louie & Glimcher 2010, Rachlin et al. 1991). Without the discipline to complete what one started and delay gratification, no one would ever complete a long, time-consuming task such as writing a dissertation, running a marathon, or starting a new business.
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Self-control is the capacity to exert control over one's behavior and is necessary for directing personal behavior toward achieving goals.
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The resulting analyses show how similar ideas are interrelated: self-control, self-management, self-observation, learning, social behavior, and the personality constructs related to self-monitoring.
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The procognitive actions of psychostimulants are only associated with low doses. Surprisingly, despite nearly 80 years of clinical use, the neurobiology of the procognitive actions of psychostimulants has only recently been systematically investigated. Findings from this research unambiguously demonstrate that the cognition-enhancing effects of psychostimulants involve the preferential elevation of catecholamines in the PFC and the subsequent activation of norepinephrine α2 and dopamine D1 receptors. ... This differential modulation of PFC-dependent processes across dose appears to be associated with the differential involvement of noradrenergic α2 versus α1 receptors. Collectively, this evidence indicates that at low, clinically relevant doses, psychostimulants are devoid of the behavioral and neurochemical actions that define this class of drugs and instead act largely as cognitive enhancers (improving PFC-dependent function). This information has potentially important clinical implications as well as relevance for public health policy regarding the widespread clinical use of psychostimulants and for the development of novel pharmacologic treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other conditions associated with PFC dysregulation. ... In particular, in both animals and humans, lower doses maximally improve performance in tests of working memory and response inhibition, whereas maximal suppression of overt behavior and facilitation of attentional processes occurs at higher doses.
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Specifically, in a set of experiments limited to high-quality designs, we found significant enhancement of several cognitive abilities. ... The results of this meta-analysis ... do confirm the reality of cognitive enhancing effects for normal healthy adults in general, while also indicating that these effects are modest in size.
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