Lapses in self-control: A consequence of depleted self-control strength or the result of attentional and motivational shifts

Englert, Christoph; Wolff, Wanja (26 May 2017). Lapses in self-control: A consequence of depleted self-control strength or the result of attentional and motivational shifts (Unpublished). In: 49. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sportpsychologie (ASP) - "Gelingende Entwicklung im Lebenslauf". Bern. 25.05.-27.05.2017.

Research in the field of sport and exercise psychology has repeatedly highlighted the importance of self-control strength for successful performance. For instance, higher levels of self-control strength are associated with performance under pressure (e.g., Englert & Bertrams, 2012), persistence in straining physical exercises (e.g., Wagstaff, 2014), or the ability to regularly follow physical exercise routines (e.g., Martin Ginis & Bray, 2010). Self-control can be defined as the ability to volitionally override dominant response tendencies and to bring them in line with individual goals, aims, or norms (e.g., Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994). A large number of studies have shown that individuals who performed a primary self-control act performed worse in a secondary self-control task compared to participants who had not exerted self-control in a respective primary task (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). Traditionally, these performance impairments in secondary self-control acts have been explained by adopting the strength model of self-control (e.g., Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998), which proposes that all acts of self-control are energized by one global metaphorical resource of limited capacity. After having performed a self-control act, an individual’s self-control strength may become temporarily depleted and may not be immediately replenished (Baumeister et al., 1998). In this state of ego depletion, subsequent self-control acts are executed less efficiently compared to when self-control strength is fully available. However, recently, the strength model of self-control has been challenged on empirical and on theoretical grounds. For instance, a registered replication attempt conducted in 23 different laboratories failed to find any evidence of the ego depletion effect (Hagger et al., 2016). Aside of highlighting the importance of such replication attempts, this raises the question of how lapses in self-control can be explained and which variables determine whether primary self-control acts have a negative carry-over effect on secondary self-control performance. Recently, an alternative theoretical model explaining self-control impairments after primary self-control acts has been proposed by Inzlicht and Schmeichel (2012; 2013). Based upon the premise that the exertion of self-control is inherently aversive, their process model of self-control postulates that impaired self-control performance may not be the consequence of depleted self-control resources but rather the consequence of motivational, attentional, and emotional shifts following the primary self-control act. The goal of this talk is going to be to discuss recent developments in self-control research and how these new developments may affect research on self-control in the field of sport and exercise psychology.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Educational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Englert, Christoph


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education




Christoph Englert

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2018 09:19

Last Modified:

25 Apr 2018 09:19


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