Self-regulation and self-presentation: Regulatory resource depletion impairs impression management and effortful self-presentation depletes regulatory resources

Kathleen D. Vohs, Roy F. Baumeister, Natalie J. Ciarocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

482 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-presentation may require self-regulation, especially when familiar or dispositional tendencies must be overridden in service of the desired impression. Studies 1-4 showed that self-presentation under challenging conditions or according to counternormative patterns (presenting oneself modestly to strangers, boastfully to friends, contrary to gender norms, to a skeptical audience, or while being a racial token) led to impaired self-regulation later, suggesting that those self-presentations depleted self-regulatory resources, When self-presentation conformed to familiar, normative, or dispositional patterns, self-regulation was less implicated. Studies 5-8 showed that when resources for self-regulation had been depleted by prior acts of self-control, self-presentation drifted toward less-effective patterns (talking too much, overly or insufficiently intimate disclosures, or egotistical arrogance). Thus, inner processes may serve interpersonal functions, although optimal interpersonal activity exacts a short-term cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-657
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005

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