Understanding Self-Control as a Whole vs. Part Dynamic

Kentaro Fujita, Jessica J. Carnevale, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although dual-process or divided-mind models of self-control dominate the literature, they suffer from empirical and conceptual challenges. We propose an alternative approach, suggesting that self-control can be characterized by a fragmented part versus integrated whole dynamic. Whereas responses to events derived from fragmented parts of the mind undermine self-control, responses to events derived from integrated wholes enhance self-control. We review empirical evidence from psychology and related disciplines that support this model. We, moreover, discuss the implications of this work for psychology, neuroscience, economics, and philosophy. In particular, we highlight how this model addresses many of the conceptual and empirical short-comings of divided-mind models. We suggest that understanding self-control as the interplay between fragmented parts versus integrated wholes, moreover, provides novel insights and testable new hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-296
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Construal level theory
  • Delay of gratification
  • Self-control
  • Self-governance
  • Self-regulation
  • Willpower

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Self-Control as a Whole vs. Part Dynamic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this