Lack of autonomy and self-control: Performance contingent rewards lead to greater depletion
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Exerting self-control appears to deplete a needed resource, which leads to poorer self-control subsequently. However, the amount of depletion may vary, based on how controlling versus autonomy supportive the situation is. In particular, feeling compelled to exert self-control may deplete more strength than having more freedom when exerting self-control. In three experiments, participants who were given performance contingent rewards to exert self-control performed more poorly on a subsequent test of self-control than participants who were non-contingent rewards. There were no differences in mood, arousal, or anxiety between the groups; however, feelings of autonomy were related to self-control performance. The results have implications for understanding self-control depletion, as well as the impact of autonomous motivation on self-control performance.
KeywordsSelf-control Depletion Self-determination theory
Portions of this research were supported by Grants AA12770 provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and DA015131 provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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