Decision fatigue, choosing for others, and self-construal

Evan Polman, Kathleen D. Vohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Past research has shown that people tend to feel depleted by their decisions. In contrast, we found people report that making decisions for others (vs. the self) is less depleting because it is more enjoyable. Our investigation thus replicated a prior finding (that decision-making is depleting), moderated it by target of decision (self vs. other), and demonstrated mediation (enjoyment). We further measured chronic focus on self or others (self-construal) and established a full process model that marries prior findings with the current ones: Choosing for others is more enjoyable and less depleting to the extent that decision makers are independent, and less enjoyable and more depleting to the extent that decision makers are interdependent. That a mismatch between chronic and state orientation leads to the better outcomes for self-control indicates a special link between self-construal and decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-478
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Decision fatigue
  • Ego depletion
  • Enjoyment
  • Self-construal
  • Self-control


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