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If “you’re learning tennis, of course as the beginner, you have to think about, ‘Where do I put my feet? How do I hold my racket?’” said Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, whose research on this subject has helped shaped the theory. You start by focusing on the details: Stand right here. Hold this like this. “So if you don’t know how to act in a job interview, then having a reminder to tell you, ‘O.K., sit up, make eye contact’ — all these things are likely to be helpful,” Mr. Baumeister said. When you’re new to something, it’s often necessary to zero in on the minutiae of what to say and how to act. “But over time, it becomes more and more automatic, and... Full story

13 February