Research suggests self-control relies on a limited set of resources that can be diminished by use. Recent theories posit that there are two stages of self-control: recognizing the need for control and implementing controlled responses. We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment and an intervention experiment to investigate whether one or both stages were affected by the prior exercise of self-control. Results from both experiments indicated that only the implementation stage was affected. Further, we demonstrate that self-control can be increased by an intervention designed to boost implementation, as opposed to the recognition of the need to control one's responses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper is based on the first author's dissertation written under the supervision of the third author and was funded by National Science Foundation grant # 0647647 and supported in part by McKnight Presidential and Land O' Lakes Professor of Excellence in Marketing funds. We are indebted to Natalie Denburg, Irwin Levin, Angus MacDonald, Chad Marsolek, D.J. Nayakankuppam and Mark Smith for valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
- Decision neuroscience
- Regulatory resource depletion