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Marketing For Change Blog: Why Willpower is Bad for Behavior Change

In the famous 1960s experiment, psychologists put a puffy piece of sugar in front of 4-year-olds, told them if they didn’t eat it they would get another, and left them alone with the temptation to see if they could resist. For decades after the results were published, this experiment supported a fairytale narrative of justice: those children with innate moral superiority went on to receive their just desserts. But that is, in fact, a fairytale — one that is wrapped up in deep misconceptions about willpower. And it is problematic for behavior change in two key ways. In this blog, Sara Isaac (Chief Strategist at Marketing for Change) will explain these two key ways.

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