Penn Science Café: Studying Self-Control

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | | 215-573-6604September 4, 2013

Associate Professor of Psychology Robert Kurzban studies how the mind has adapted over time to the challenges of the social world, such as how to make decisions about cooperation, morality and punishment. Kurzban will talk about one trait we associate with these challenges: willpower.

WHO:             Robert Kurzban
                      Associate Professor of Psychology
                      University of Pennsylvania

WHAT:           Penn Science Café talk: “Willpower or Won’t-Power: The Science of Self-Control” 

WHEN:           Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6-7 p.m. 

WHERE:         World Café Live Upstairs, 3025 Walnut St.

Intuition suggests that people have a reservoir of willpower that gets used up when working on difficult tasks, and experimental psychologists have recently used this idea to explain numerous findings from the laboratory and the real world. Kurzban will discuss new analyses of the studies on which this idea is based, showing that it is completely false.

The talk is part of the Penn Science Café, a free public-lecture series presented by the School of Arts and Sciences and the Office of University Communications that takes science scholarship out of the lab for a night on the town. Café events are free and open to the public, but reservations are encouraged and can be made through Gina Bryan at 215-898-8721 or

Menu items will be available for purchase.