Most people say self-control is the same as willpower. Researchers disagree

Psychologists say self-control is about planning ahead to avoid needing willpower in the moment

Depiction of Odysseus tying himself to his ship's mast to resist the Sirens' call. Psychologists call that act self-control.

Greek mythological hero Odysseus famously tied himself to his ship’s mast to resist the Sirens’ alluring yet fatal song, as depicted in this 19th century painting by John William Waterhouse. Odysseus’ foresight, social psychologists say, was a powerful act of self-control.

John William Waterhouse, National Gallery of Victoria

A scientific squabble over how to define self-control draws from an unlikely source: A story from Greek mythology.