Understanding learning is key to understanding how and why internet pornography can become a problem for mental and physical health. In this section The Reward Foundation looks at learning from several different angles.
Research shows that regular pornography use is ‘causally’ related to young people having a higher rate of delay discounting. This means pornography users are less able to delay immediate gratification for a more valuable reward later, such as exam success. Colleges and universities are reporting high drop-out rates at across the UK and elsewhere.
What are other strands of this decline? Psychologist Roy Baumeister in his book Willpower says that most major problems, personal and social, centre on a failure of self-control. In what became one of the most cited papers in social science literature, Baumeister discovered that willpower actually operates like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered simply by replenishing the brain’s store of fuel. That’s why eating and sleeping—and especially failing to do either of those—have such dramatic effects on self-control (and why dieters have such a hard time resisting temptation).
Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo explains ‘arousal addiction’ and declining academic achievements in this talk, The Demise of Guys?
Learning is Key
This section offers resources on the following topics:
We also provide a range of Resources to support your understanding of these issues.