Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janie H. Wilson

Committee Member 1

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 2

William D. McIntosh

Abstract

Ego depletion suggests that self-control draws from a limited resource. Therefore, resistance to immediate temptation can be impaired when that resource is depleted. Participants performed a difficult or easy serial subtraction task (cognitive processing) in front of or in the absence of a video camera (social processing). Participants then completed a delay-of-gratification task where they either chose the immediate, small reward of 1 research participation credit or waited for a larger amount of credit. Participants who completed a difficult task while being recorded by a video camera waited a shorter period of time for more credit than those who performed an easier version of the task while being recorded. Ego depletion, resulting from the interaction of cognitive and social processing, reduced participants' ability to delay gratification and earn a greater reward.

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