UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Implicit theories about willpower predict the activation of a rest goal following self-control exertion


Job, Veronika; Bernecker, Katharina; Miketta, Stefanie; Friese, Malte (2015). Implicit theories about willpower predict the activation of a rest goal following self-control exertion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(4):694-706.

Abstract

Past research indicates that peoples’ implicit theories about the nature of willpower moderate the ego-depletion effect. Only people who believe or were led to believe that willpower is a limited resource (limited-resource theory) showed lower self-control performance after an initial demanding task. As of yet, the underlying processes explaining this moderating effect by theories about willpower remain unknown. Here, we propose that the exertion of self-control activates the goal to preserve and replenish mental resources (rest goal) in people with a limited-resource theory. Five studies tested this hypothesis. In Study 1, individual differences in implicit theories about willpower predicted increased accessibility of a rest goal after self-control exertion. Furthermore, measured (Study 2) and manipulated (Study 3) willpower theories predicted an increased preference for rest-conducive objects. Finally, Studies 4 and 5 provide evidence that theories about willpower predict actual resting behavior: In Study 4, participants who held a limited-resource theory took a longer break following self-control exertion than participants with a nonlimited-resource theory. Longer resting time predicted decreased rest goal accessibility afterward. In Study 5, participants with an induced limited-resource theory sat longer on chairs in an ostensible product-testing task when they had engaged in a task requiring self-control beforehand. This research provides consistent support for a motivational shift toward rest after self-control exertion in people holding a limited-resource theory about willpower.

Abstract

Past research indicates that peoples’ implicit theories about the nature of willpower moderate the ego-depletion effect. Only people who believe or were led to believe that willpower is a limited resource (limited-resource theory) showed lower self-control performance after an initial demanding task. As of yet, the underlying processes explaining this moderating effect by theories about willpower remain unknown. Here, we propose that the exertion of self-control activates the goal to preserve and replenish mental resources (rest goal) in people with a limited-resource theory. Five studies tested this hypothesis. In Study 1, individual differences in implicit theories about willpower predicted increased accessibility of a rest goal after self-control exertion. Furthermore, measured (Study 2) and manipulated (Study 3) willpower theories predicted an increased preference for rest-conducive objects. Finally, Studies 4 and 5 provide evidence that theories about willpower predict actual resting behavior: In Study 4, participants who held a limited-resource theory took a longer break following self-control exertion than participants with a nonlimited-resource theory. Longer resting time predicted decreased rest goal accessibility afterward. In Study 5, participants with an induced limited-resource theory sat longer on chairs in an ostensible product-testing task when they had engaged in a task requiring self-control beforehand. This research provides consistent support for a motivational shift toward rest after self-control exertion in people holding a limited-resource theory about willpower.

Citations

1 citation in Web of Science®
4 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:15 Dec 2015 10:55
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:39
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0022-3514
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000042

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations