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Self-control can not be outsourced

Posted on May 22 2014 | IANS

New York, May 22 : If you thought opening a joint account with your thrifty wife would restrain you from frittering away money on luxuries, you may be building castles in the air.

How a couple succeeds or fails in saving money through joint endeavours depends on levels of self-control of both partners, not one, a new study showed.

"Our findings might be particularly surprising to the person who incorrectly believes that making joint decisions with someone with more self-control will allow them to exhibit better restraint," said Cait Poynor Lamberton from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.

"As it turns out, self-control cannot be outsourced to someone else," Lamberton noted.

The researchers observed when both people in a relationship have high levels of self-control, they are better able to save more money, buy healthier foods and stick to tasks longer than in a relationship where both partners have low levels of self-control.

Interestingly, when one person in a relationship has high self-control and the other has low self-control, the couple generally makes joint decisions similar to those where both partners have low self-control.

The findings were the result of a series of studies involving both real-world couples and pairs of students in a laboratory setting.

The study appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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