When the motivational consequences of ego depletion collide: Conservation dominates over reward-seeking

Mauro Giacomantonio, Jennifer Jordan, Bob Fennis, Angelo Panno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Existing research shows that ego depletion impaired self-regulation following repeatedly exerting self-control increases the need to conserve energy, thus reducing engagement and persistence, and promotes approach tendencies and reward-seeking behaviors. These dual motivations may be paradoxical; in many situations, seeking rewards requires energy input. In such cases of competing motivations, which of the two motivations dominates over the other? To answer this question, we manipulated ego depletion and then had participants engage in a reward-seeking task that was either demanding or not demanding of energy. Results showed that, in line with previous research, in the less demanding condition, depleted participants were more reward-seeking than non-depleted participants. In contrast, in the more demanding condition, depleted individuals quit sooner and hence were less reward-seeking than the non-depleted participants. We conclude that in a state of ego depletion, conserving energy is sometimes dominant over pursuing rewards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-220
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2014

Keywords

  • ANALOG RISK TASK
  • SELF-CONTROL
  • STRENGTH MODEL
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • SENSATION SEEKING
  • LIMITED-RESOURCE
  • DISINHIBITION
  • IMPULSIVITY

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