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Ego depletion—is it all in your head?: implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation


Job, V; Dweck, C S; Walton, G M (2010). Ego depletion—is it all in your head?: implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation. Psychological Science, 21(11):1686-1693.

Abstract

Much recent research suggests that willpower—the capacity to exert self-control—is a limited resource that is depleted after
exertion. We propose that whether depletion takes place or not depends on a person’s belief about whether willpower is
a limited resource. Study 1 found that individual differences in lay theories about willpower moderate ego-depletion effects:
People who viewed the capacity for self-control as not limited did not show diminished self-control after a depleting experience.
Study 2 replicated the effect, manipulating lay theories about willpower. Study 3 addressed questions about the mechanism
underlying the effect. Study 4, a longitudinal field study, found that theories about willpower predict change in eating behavior,
procrastination, and self-regulated goal striving in depleting circumstances. Taken together, the findings suggest that reduced
self-control after a depleting task or during demanding periods may reflect people’s beliefs about the availability of willpower
rather than true resource depletion.

Abstract

Much recent research suggests that willpower—the capacity to exert self-control—is a limited resource that is depleted after
exertion. We propose that whether depletion takes place or not depends on a person’s belief about whether willpower is
a limited resource. Study 1 found that individual differences in lay theories about willpower moderate ego-depletion effects:
People who viewed the capacity for self-control as not limited did not show diminished self-control after a depleting experience.
Study 2 replicated the effect, manipulating lay theories about willpower. Study 3 addressed questions about the mechanism
underlying the effect. Study 4, a longitudinal field study, found that theories about willpower predict change in eating behavior,
procrastination, and self-regulated goal striving in depleting circumstances. Taken together, the findings suggest that reduced
self-control after a depleting task or during demanding periods may reflect people’s beliefs about the availability of willpower
rather than true resource depletion.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:implicit theories, self-control, self-regulation, ego depletion
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:08 Nov 2010 10:50
Last Modified:23 Sep 2018 05:16
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0956-7976
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610384745
PubMed ID:20876879

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