Abstract

The theory of ego-depletion has come under intense scrutiny within the past few years. Beginning around 2010, researchers conducted meta-analyses and large replication studies that have investigated this topic, and found a wide range of evidence for and against the existence of an ego-depletion effect. Although the goal has been to determine whether this effect exists or not, the research has proved that the answer may be more complicated than that. The purpose of the current research was to examine the different theories about self-control, and to test two specific depleting tasks against a control group. The depleting tasks were chosen by selecting one that has been shown to have a depleting effect in multiple studies, the emotion-suppression task, and one that has shown small or negligible ego-depletion effects, the attention video task. This study also used two dependent measures, the impossible version of the Euler tracing task and the Multi-Source Interference Task, which have been used in previous studies on ego-depletion. The results did not show an ego-depletion effect for either task, on either of the dependent measures. This supports recent research that has contradicted the ego-depletion theory, however, more studies need to be done to determine if there are certain conditions in which the ego-depletion effect is present, or if the effect is universally spurious.

Advisor

Wilhelms, Evan

Department

Psychology

Disciplines

Cognitive Psychology | Social Psychology

Publication Date

2018

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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