Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janie Wilson

Committee Member 1

Nicholas Holtzman

Committee Member 2

Michael Nielson


Ego depletion is theorized as the loss of self-control after it has been exerted over a period of time, leading to loss of conscious regulation of behavior. Buffering against this loss is characterized by engaging in an activity that will help extent the use of self-control, helping to further regulate behaviors such as impulse control. We were interested in learning how prayer may act as a buffer against ego depletion and compared prayer against self-encouraging talk to find is there is a difference between how the two affect self-control. One hundred ten participants were randomly assigned to a video group: either a neutral video or a video intended to evoke disgust as they were told to suppress their emotions. With the video group, participants were given one of three passages to read beforehand: prayer, self-encouraging talk, and control. After suppressing emotion while watching the video, participants’ persistence was measured during a Stroop task. It was shown that prayer was the most beneficial buffer against ego depletion as participants persisted longer with no difference between which video was viewed.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material