Overcoming ego-depletion: The influence of exemplar priming on self-control performance

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Abstract

Self-regulation research suggested that active self-control depends on a limited resource. Therefore the capacity for self-control is lower among people who already exercised control, a phenomenon labelled as ego depletion. This experiment examines whether priming of a persistent person exemplar may help to overcome ego depletion. Half of the participants engaged in a demanding self-control task (solving extremely difficult labyrinths) whereas the other half took part in a task that demanded little self-control (solving easy labyrinths). Then, half of the participants received a person exemplar prime related to persistence; the other half received a neutral prime. Finally, participants' persistence on a subsequent self-control task (squeezing a handgrip) was measured. The effect of a person exemplar prime on a subsequent self-control task depended on initial self-control demands. Participants who exercised high initial self-control and were then presented with a persistent exemplar prime showed assimilation. Their handgrip persistence was higher than the persistence of participants who received a neutral prime. Under conditions of low initial self-control the opposite pattern was found. A persistent person prime resulted in contrast and resulted in lower handgrip performance as compared to those who received a neutral prime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-238
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

Cite this

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title = "Overcoming ego-depletion: The influence of exemplar priming on self-control performance",
abstract = "Self-regulation research suggested that active self-control depends on a limited resource. Therefore the capacity for self-control is lower among people who already exercised control, a phenomenon labelled as ego depletion. This experiment examines whether priming of a persistent person exemplar may help to overcome ego depletion. Half of the participants engaged in a demanding self-control task (solving extremely difficult labyrinths) whereas the other half took part in a task that demanded little self-control (solving easy labyrinths). Then, half of the participants received a person exemplar prime related to persistence; the other half received a neutral prime. Finally, participants' persistence on a subsequent self-control task (squeezing a handgrip) was measured. The effect of a person exemplar prime on a subsequent self-control task depended on initial self-control demands. Participants who exercised high initial self-control and were then presented with a persistent exemplar prime showed assimilation. Their handgrip persistence was higher than the persistence of participants who received a neutral prime. Under conditions of low initial self-control the opposite pattern was found. A persistent person prime resulted in contrast and resulted in lower handgrip performance as compared to those who received a neutral prime.",
author = "C. Martijn and H.J.E.M. Alberts and H. Merckelbach and R.C. Havermans and A. Huijts and {de Vries}, N.K.",
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T1 - Overcoming ego-depletion: The influence of exemplar priming on self-control performance

AU - Martijn, C.

AU - Alberts, H.J.E.M.

AU - Merckelbach, H.

AU - Havermans, R.C.

AU - Huijts, A.

AU - de Vries, N.K.

PY - 2007/1/1

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N2 - Self-regulation research suggested that active self-control depends on a limited resource. Therefore the capacity for self-control is lower among people who already exercised control, a phenomenon labelled as ego depletion. This experiment examines whether priming of a persistent person exemplar may help to overcome ego depletion. Half of the participants engaged in a demanding self-control task (solving extremely difficult labyrinths) whereas the other half took part in a task that demanded little self-control (solving easy labyrinths). Then, half of the participants received a person exemplar prime related to persistence; the other half received a neutral prime. Finally, participants' persistence on a subsequent self-control task (squeezing a handgrip) was measured. The effect of a person exemplar prime on a subsequent self-control task depended on initial self-control demands. Participants who exercised high initial self-control and were then presented with a persistent exemplar prime showed assimilation. Their handgrip persistence was higher than the persistence of participants who received a neutral prime. Under conditions of low initial self-control the opposite pattern was found. A persistent person prime resulted in contrast and resulted in lower handgrip performance as compared to those who received a neutral prime.

AB - Self-regulation research suggested that active self-control depends on a limited resource. Therefore the capacity for self-control is lower among people who already exercised control, a phenomenon labelled as ego depletion. This experiment examines whether priming of a persistent person exemplar may help to overcome ego depletion. Half of the participants engaged in a demanding self-control task (solving extremely difficult labyrinths) whereas the other half took part in a task that demanded little self-control (solving easy labyrinths). Then, half of the participants received a person exemplar prime related to persistence; the other half received a neutral prime. Finally, participants' persistence on a subsequent self-control task (squeezing a handgrip) was measured. The effect of a person exemplar prime on a subsequent self-control task depended on initial self-control demands. Participants who exercised high initial self-control and were then presented with a persistent exemplar prime showed assimilation. Their handgrip persistence was higher than the persistence of participants who received a neutral prime. Under conditions of low initial self-control the opposite pattern was found. A persistent person prime resulted in contrast and resulted in lower handgrip performance as compared to those who received a neutral prime.

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JO - European Journal of Social Psychology

JF - European Journal of Social Psychology

SN - 0046-2772

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