Envy Tires the Mind, UT Psychologists Find

We know, we know—it’s not good to feel jealous or envious. But just why? What negative effects do we experience? UT researchers are doing interesting experiments—often on UT-Austin students—to find out.

In one especially telling study, students were directed to work on puzzles—after contemplating a wealthy, good-looking peer. Compared with a control group, they gave up on the puzzles sooner.

At play: what psychologists call “ego depletion.” This state of mental fatigue was first documented in people whose energy was sapped by performing acts requiring self-control. Now it looks as if envy depletes the ego too—so if you want to keep your mental energy up, keep your mind off nature’s seemingly favored ones.

For more on jealousy and envy studies by UT-Austin and TCU researchers, see this story in the New York Times.

Illustration by Mala Kumar


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