Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task

Englert, Christoph; Bertrams, Alex; Furley, Philip; Oudejans, Raôul R. D. (2015). Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task. Psychology of sport and exercise, 18(May), pp. 26-31. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.12.001

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Objectives: It has been repeatedly demonstrated that athletes in a state of ego depletion do not perform up to their capabilities in high pressure situations. We assume that momentarily available self-control strength determines whether individuals in high pressure situations can resist distracting stimuli.
Design/method: In the present study, we applied a between-subjects design, as 31 experienced basketball players were randomly assigned to a depletion group or a non-depletion group. Participants performed 30 free throws while listening to statements representing worrisome thoughts (as frequently experienced in high pressure situations) over stereo headphones. Participants were instructed to block out these distracting audio messages and focus on the free throws. We postulated that depleted participants would be more likely to be distracted. They were also assumed to perform worse in the free throw task.
Results: The results supported our assumption as depleted participants paid more attention to the distracting stimuli. In addition, they displayed worse performance in the free throw task.
Conclusions: These results indicate that sufficient levels of self-control strength can serve as a buffer against distracting stimuli under pressure.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Englert, Christoph, Bertrams, Alexander Gregor


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education




Elsevier Science




Christoph Englert

Date Deposited:

08 May 2015 14:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:46

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Basketball; Distraction; Ego depletion; Self-control; Self-regulation; Sport




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