Essay on Ego

Topics: Ego depletion, Decision theory, Decision making Pages: 39 (14598 words) Published: October 27, 2012
Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource?
Roy E Baumeister, Ellen Bratslavsky, Mark Muraven, and Dianne M. Tice Case Western Reserve University Choice, active response, self-regulation, and other volition may all draw on a common inner resource. I n Experiment 1, people who forced themselves to eat radishes instead of tempting chocolates subsequently quit faster on unsolvable puzzles than people who had not had to exert self-control over eating. In Experiment 2, making a meaningful personal choice to perform attitude-relevant behavior caused a similar decrement in persistence. In Experiment 3, suppressing emotion led to a subsequent drop in performance of solvable anagrams. In Experiment 4, an initial task requiring high self-regulation made people more passive (i.e., more prone to favor the passive-response option). These results suggest that the self's capacity for active volition is limited and that a range of seemingly different, unrelated acts share a common resource.

Many crucial functions of the self involve volition: making choices and decisions, taking responsibility, initiating and inhibiting behavior, and making plans of action and carrying out those plans. The self exerts control over itself and over the external world. To be sure, not all human behavior involves planful or deliberate control by the self, and, in fact, recent work has shown that a great deal of human behavior is influenced by automatic or nonconscious processes (see Bargh, 1994, 1997). But undoubtedly some portion involves deliberate, conscious, controlled responses by the self, and that portion may be dispro-' portionately important to the long-term health, happiness, and success of the individual. Even if it were shown that 95% of behavior consisted of lawful, predictable responses to situational stimuli by automatic processes, psychology could not afford to ignore the remaining 5%. As an analogy, cars are probably driven straight ahead at least 95% of the time, but ignoring the other 5% (such as by building cars without steering wheels) would seriously compromise the car's ability to reach most destinations. By the same token, the relatively few active, controlling choices by the self greatly increase the s e l f ' s chances of achieving its goals. And if those few " s t e e r i n g " choices by the self are important, then so is whatever internal structure of the self is responsible for it. In the present investigation we were concerned with this controlling aspect of the self. Specifically, we tested hypotheses of

ego depletion, as a way of learning about the s e l f ' s executive function. The core idea behind ego depletion is that the s e l f ' s acts of volition draw on some limited resource, akin to strength or energy and that, therefore, one act of volition will have a detrimental impact on subsequent volition. We sought to show that a preliminary act of self-control in the form of resisting temptation (Experiment 1 ) or a preliminary act of choice and responsibility (Experiment 2) would undermine self-regulation in a subsequent, unrelated domain, namely persistence at a difficult and frustrating task. We then sought to verify that the effects of ego depletion are indeed maladaptive and detrimental to performance (Experiment 3). Last, we undertook to show that ego depletion resulting from acts of self-control would interfere with subsequent decision making by making people more passive (Experiment 4). Our research strategy was to look at effects that would carry over across wide gaps of seeming irrelevance. If resisting the temptation to eat chocolate can leave a person prone to give up faster on a difficult, frustrating puzzle, that would suggest that those two very different acts of self-control draw on the same limited resource. And if making a choice about whether to make a speech contrary to one's opinions were to have the same effect, it would suggest that that very same resource is also the one used in general...

References: Allison, S.T., & Messick, D.M. (1988). The feature-positive effect, attitude strength, and degree of perceived consensus. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 14, 231-241. Banaji, M. R., & Prentice, D. A. (1994). The self in social contexts. In L. Porter & M. Rosenzweig (Eds.), Annual review of psychology (Vol. 45, pp. 297-332). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews. Bargh, J. A. (1982). Attention and automaticity in the processing of self-relevant information. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 425-436. Bargh, J.A. (1994). The four horsemen of automaticity: Awareness, intention, efficiency, and control in social cognition. In R. S. Wyer, Jr., & T. K. Srull (Eds.), Handbook of social cognition (pp. 1-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Bargh, J. A. (1997). The automaticity of everyday life. In R. S. Wyer (Ed.), Advances in social cognition (Vol. 10, pp. 1-61 ). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Baumeister, R. E (1998). The self. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (4th ed., pp. 680740). New York: McGraw-Hill. Baumeister, R. E, Heatherton, T. E, & Tice, D. M. (1994). Losing control: How and why people fail at self-regulation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Brehm, J. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance. New York: Academic Press. Brockner, J., Shaw, M.C., & Rubin, J.Z. (1979). Factors affecting withdrawal from an escalating conflict: Quitting before it 's too late. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 15, 492-503. Burger, J. M. (1989). Negative reactions to increases in perceived personal control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 246256. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. E (1981). Attention and self-regulation: A control theory approach to human behavior. New York: SpringerVerlag. Cioffi, D., & Garner, R. (1996). On doing the decision: The effects of active vs. passive choice on commitment and self-perception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 133-147. Cohen, S. (1980). Aftereffects of stress on human performance and social behavior: A review of research and theory. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 82-108. Cooper, J., & Fazio, R. H. (1984). A new look at dissonance theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 17, pp. 229-266). New York: Academic Press. Cooper, J., & Scher, S.J. (1994). Actions and attitudes: The role of responsibility and aversive consequences in persuasion. In T. Brock & S. Shavitt (Eds.), The psychology of persuasion (pp. 95-111 ). San Francisco: Freeman.
EGO DEPLETION limited resource: Regulatory depletion patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 774-789. Rothbaum, E, Weisz, J. R., & Snyder, S. S. (1982). Changing the world and changing the self: A two-process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 5-37. Scher, S. J., & Cooper, J. (1989). The motivational basis of dissonance: The singular role of behavioral consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 899-906. Schlenker, B. R. (1980). Impression management: The self-concept, social identity, and interpersonal relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole. Taylor, S.E. (1983). Adjustment to threatening events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. American Psychologist, 38, 1161- I 173. Taylor, S. E. (1989). Positive illusions: Creative self-deception and the healthy mind. New York: Basic Books. "lesser, A. (1988). Toward a self-evaluation maintenance model of social behavior. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 21, pp. 181-227). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Tetlock, P. E. (1983). Accountability and complexity of thought. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 74-83. Tetlock, P. E. (1985). Accountability: A social check on the fundamental attribution error. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48, 227-236. Tetlock, P. E., & Boettger, R. (1989). Accountability: A social magnifier
1265
of the dilution effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 388-398. Wegner, D. M. (1989). White bears and other unwanted thoughts. New York: Vintage. Wegner, D. M. (1994). Ironic processes of mental control. Psychological Review, 101, 34-52. Wegnet; D. M., & Pennebaker, J. W. (Eds.). (1993). Handbook of mental control. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Wegner, D.M., Schneider, D.J., Carter, S.R., & White, T.L. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 5-13. White, R. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 297-333. Zanna, M. P., & Cooper, J. (1974). Dissonance and the pill: An attribution approach to studying the arousal properties of dissonance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 703-709. Zanna, M. P., Higgins, E. T., & Taves, P. A. (1976). Is dissonance phenomenologically aversive? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12, 530-538. Received November 11, 1996 Revision received June 10, 1997 Accepted June 16, 1997 •
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Alter Ego Essay
  • essay
  • essays
  • essay
  • Essay
  • The Essay by Essay
  • ego mechanisms Essay
  • Ego Psychology Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free
Literature | 22 de julio (2018) | MORE INFO