Full bladder, better decisions
We all have to make decisions every day, some of them more important than others. A whole range of factors influence the decision that you make at any given moment but one previously unappreciated factor has come to light as a result of new research; the state of fullness of your bladder.
The research was done at the University of Twente and other universities across the Netherlands and was inspired by one of the researchers drinking lots of coffee to keep them alert during a long, and presumably not so fascinating, lecture. The resultant brimming bladder and lack of opportunity to relieve it led the researcher to ponder on how a full bladder affects our thinking. After all, other bodily sensations like hunger, thirst and sexual excitement have been shown to impact our desire for other seemingly unrelated things, so why should a full bladder not do the same?
To test this, the researchers divided their participants into two groups; one group drank 750ml of water while the other group just took five sips of water. Then 40 minutes later, the amount of time it takes for water to reach the bladder, the participants were asked to make eight choices in each case having to make a choice between a short-term reward and a long term reward. For instance, they could either be given an amount of money immediately or wait a month and be given almost twice as much.
What emerged, was that people with full bladders make decisions with the longer term, larger reward in mind.
Exactly why this might be so remains a mystery, since it actually goes against prevailing theory that having to restrain yourself in one area depletes your reserves of self-control which are finite. The effect in this study certainly seemed to be strong however, and it may have something to do with bladder control being a largely unconscious process.
So if you have a stock-broker it might be an idea to make sure that he has been drinking plenty of water about 40 minutes prior to making decisions about your account and that he has not relieved himself in the meantime. Alternately, it might be a good idea not to take a relieving leak if you are making a decision about buying a new car for exampleâ€¦the salesman might wonder at your cross-legged dancing but at least you wonâ€™t make any rash short-term decisions.