Ego depletion in real-time: an examination of the sequential-task paradigm

Arber, Madeleine M. and Ireland, Michael J. and Feger, Roy and Marrington, Jessica and Tehan, Joshua and Tehan, Gerald (2017) Ego depletion in real-time: an examination of the sequential-task paradigm. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.

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Abstract

Current research into self-control that is based on the sequential task methodology is currently at an impasse. The sequential taskmethodology involves completing a task that
is designed to tax self-control resources which in turn has carry-over effects on a second, unrelated task. The current impasse is in large part due to the lack of empirical research that tests explicit assumptions regarding the initial task. Five studies test one key, untested assumption underpinning strength (finite resource) models of self-regulation: Performance will decline over time on a task that depletes self-regulatory resources. In the aftermath of high profile replication failures using a popular letter-crossing task and subsequent criticisms of that task, the current studies examined whether
depletion effects would occur in real time using letter-crossing tasks that did not invoke habit-forming and breaking, and whether these effects weremoderated by administration type (paper and pencil vs. computer administration). Samplemakeup and sizes as well as
response formats were also varied across the studies. The five studies yielded a clear and consistent pattern of increasing performance deficits (errors) as a function of time spent on task with generally large effects and in the fifth study the strength of negative transfer effects to a working memory task were related to individual differences in depletion. These results demonstrate that some form of depletion is occurring on letter-crossing tasks though whether an internal regulatory resource reservoir or some other factor is changing across time remains an important question for future research.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online 26 September 2017. Copyright © 2017 Arber, Ireland, Feger, Marrington, Tehan and Tehan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 06:00
Last Modified: 09 May 2018 04:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: ego depletion, strength model, self-regulation, sequential task, letter crossing
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170299 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01672
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33160

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