Roy Baumeister is a social psychologist known for his work on the self, social rejection, belongingness, sexuality, sex differences, self-control, self-esteem, self-defeating behaviors, motivation, aggression, consciousness, and free will. Roy has also authored over 20 books throughout his career. He likes to start his research with the premise that he doesn’t know the right answer–trying to have an open mind and clean slate.
Roy started his career studying the idea of self-control. He looked at some of the major crutches people deal with–dieting, quitting smoking, controlling emotions. Roy found that everyone has a limited amount of energy and using that energy toward will power had a limited source of regulation. When people used their energy toward gaining self control in one area, they lost it in another. One way Roy found to boost energy and restore self control in patients was to give a patient glucose. It seemed to restore self-control in the patient, giving them a boost of energy.
Roy also has studied differences in people with high self-esteem as opposed to those with lower self-esteem. Improving self esteem didn’t seem to help make life better or lead to later success but improving self control did. Working on self control was shown to be more important for success than IQ or self esteem. Asian countries, for example, have much more discipline built into their culture than American culture. Roy’s studies have shown that Asians therefore require a lower IQ to be successful because their self control overpowers other inhibitors.
Michael and Roy finish their conversation talking sex. Is it more nature or nurture? Roy has found that female sexuality is more cultural and male sexuality is more nature. Do sex norms change based on female to male ratios? Yes. When you look at populations where there is an un-equal amount of men to women and visa versa the desire for one sex to acquire the attention of the other sex is shifted. Standards are lowered/heightened. Michael includes a 30 minute bonus presentation from Roy expanding on the topics discussed on today’s podcast.