Author(s): Vohs KD, Heatherton TF
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Abstract Three studies were conducted to test the behavioral consequences of effortful self-regulation. Individuals with chronic inhibitions about eating were exposed to situations varying in level of self-regulatory demand. Subsequently, participants' ability to self-regulate was measured. Two studies manipulated self-regulatory demand by exposing participants to good-tasting snack foods, whereas a third study required participants to control their emotional expressions. As hypothesized, exerting self-control during the first task led to decrements in self-control on a subsequent task. Moreover, these effects were not due to changes in affective state and occurred only when self-control was required in the first task. These findings are explained in terms of depletion of self-regulatory resources, which impairs successful volitional control.
This article was published in Psychol Sci
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy