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President Obama Cites, Lives by Carlson School Research

September 21, 2012

Eliminates trivial day-to-day choices based on findings of Prof. Kathleen Vohs

In an interview with author and journalist Michael Lewis, President Barack Obama revealed that he reduces the number of decisions he makes, avoiding choices such as what to eat or what to wear, because he has too many other decisions to make and wants to focus his decision-making energy.

The President mentioned research showing the simple act of making decisions degrades one's ability to make further decisions -- research conducted by Professor Kathleen Vohs.

"I think the President is extremely smart in realizing that decisions - even very small ones, such as what to wear - deplete the energy that would otherwise be used to exert self-control or make other (perhaps more important) decisions," says Vohs, the Land O'Lakes Professor of Excellence in Marketing.

"After my research came out, it was pointed out to me that Albert Einstein used to wear the same outfit every day -- because he didn't want to spend unnecessary resources on choosing what to wear. So, the President is in good company in implementing our basic research findings."

"Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiative" was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2008.

Lewis's article appears in the October issue of Vanity Fair.

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