Is “Getting Started” an Effective Way for People to Overcome the Depletion Effect?


Whereas most research on depletion focuses on its effect on the overall performance of a subsequent task requiring self-control, we examine the effect of depletion on self-control after performance has begun. Across different manipulations of depletion and using different measures of self-control (e.g., overriding an automatic behavioural tendency, enduring on a physically demanding task, and making healthy consumption choices), the results of three studies show that when self-control has been initiated, the effect of depletion has little influence on subsequent behaviour also requiring self-control: in other words, “getting started” on a self-control task attenuates the depletion effect. The results also show that the way in which self-control starts—that is, whether people choose to regulate, or whether this choice is forced—appears irrelevant. This research clarifies an effective way to facilitate self-control after depletion, while providing a better understanding of the process underlying depletion. Copyright © 2015 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Walsh, Darlene, Antonia Mantonakis, and Steve Joordens. “Is “getting started” an effective way for people to overcome the depletion effect?.” Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences / Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration 32 (2015): 47–57. Print.
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