Fighting self-control failure: overcoming ego depletion by increasing self-awareness

H.J.E.M. Alberts*, C. Martijn, N.K. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

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According to the limited strength model (Muraven, Tice & Baumeister, 1998), exerting self-control causes ego depletion: a depletion of cognitive resources resulting in poorer performance on later self-control tasks. Previous studies have demonstrated a positive effect of self-awareness on self-control performance. The present study examined whether the occurrence of ego depletion can be circumvented by increasing self-awareness. Initially depleted participants who received a neutral prime exhibited the classic ego depletion pattern: their performance on a subsequent physical self-control task decreased significantly. In contrast, no decrease in performance was observed for depleted participants who were exposed to a self-awareness prime. The latter group performed equally well compared to low depleted participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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