Cengage Learning Webinar, Psychology, New directions in self regulation theory


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Just when we thought we had worked out the main outlines of self-regulation theory, several new findings have emerged to challenge that picture. Dr. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University, presents results from laboratory, longitudinal, and meta-analytic studies on how high self-control may specialize less in resisting temptation than in avoiding it. Self-control, ego depletion, self-control and other topics are addressed

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  • Depletion by emotionally exaggerated reading; also found significant mediation
  • Cengage Learning Webinar, Psychology, New directions in self regulation theory

    1. 1. New Directions in Self-Regulation Theory Roy F. Baumeister
    2. 2. Value of Self-Control• Success in work, school• Good relationships• Adjustment, mental health• Physical health• Good behavior (vs. crime, abuse, prejudice)• Longevity• It is difficult to identify any major personal problems that do not have some element of self-control failure
    3. 3. What is Self-Control?• Overriding responses – Thoughts, emotions, impulses, performance• Regulate: Change based on idea (standard)• Vital for human social life (culture) – Participating in large social systems with rules – Working in organized groups/organizations• Basis for free will
    4. 4. Ego Depletion Theory• Limited resource• Performance declines as willpower depleted• Linked to blood glucose• Also used for choice, intelligent thought, initiative – Also non-behavioral functions, such as immune system
    5. 5. Like a Muscle• Gets tired after exertion• Conserving energy• Exercise increases strength ! – Building character – Stamina
    6. 6. Decision Fatigue: Choosing While Depleted• Postpone/avoid decision• Less compromise• Default option• Impulse, self-indulge• Irrational bias
    7. 7. Obama recent interview• “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
    8. 8. Meta-Analysis• High trait self-control predicts better outcomes• Strongest with work/school, moderate with relationships & adjustment, weakest with appetitive behaviors (eating, smoking) – Not exactly what we thought self-control was for• Automatic vs controlled behaviors De Ridder et al. (2012) Pers. Soc. Psych. Revw.
    9. 9. Offense Not Defense• Set up life to avoid problems• Note most effective with work & school: performance maximized by steady habits
    10. 10. Desire and Resistance in Everyday Life• Experience sampling study• Ten thousand occasions, seven thousand desires• Strength of desire, conflict, resistance, execution• Plenty of other measures, traits, situation Hofmann, Baumeister, Förster, & Vohs (2012) J. Pers. Soc. Psy.
    11. 11. Frequency and Percentage DataTotal # of reports: 10,558Total # of desires: 7,843 execution (70%) no desire no resistance (27%) (62%) no execution start (30%) desire (73%) execution (17%) resistance (38%) no execution (83%) 13
    12. 12. Power of Willpower• Was the desired behavior actually performed? – If no resistance: 70% – If resistance: 17%• Thus, self-control helped reduce the enactment of desire, from 70% to 17%
    13. 13. Everyday Desire: Extrapolate to 16 Waking Hours• Desiring something: 8 hours per day• Resisting problematic desires: 3 to 4 hours per day• Succumbing to previously resisted temptations: half hour per day
    14. 14. Desire Strength x Conflict
    15. 15. Desire Strength x Conflict 2.5 Leisure 2.0 Sleep 1.5 Spending SportsConflict Media Grand Tobacco Sexual desire 1.0 mean Social interaction Alcohol Eating Work Hygiene 0.5 Coffee Non-alcoholic drinks 0.0 3.0 3.5 Grand 4.0 4.5 5.0 mean 17 Desire Strength
    16. 16. Extremes on Conflict, Strength• Strongest desires: sleep, sex• Most conflicted desires: relaxing, leisure, sleep (and sex)• Least conflicted: tea• Weakest: tobacco, alcohol! – Bad habits, not irresistible urges
    17. 17. High on Trait Self-Control• Less frequent resistance!• Weaker desires, fewer problem desires• Less guilt – From other work: lower life stress• Implications: Playing offense, avoiding problems Hofmann et al. (2012) J. Pers. Soc. Psych.
    18. 18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_William_Waterhouse_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_%281891%29.jpg
    19. 19. Ego Depletion in Everyday Life• More prior resistance leads to more execution now, more yielding to temptation
    20. 20. Ego Depletion in Daily Life• Depletion score: sum of previous resistance attempts on same day, weighted by temporal distance No resistance Resistance Probability of execution (present desire) 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Depletion score due to previous self-control 23
    21. 21. Similarity or Complementarity in Relationship Success: Or, Can Two Undercontrolled Lovers Find Happiness Together?• 3 Studies of relationship satisfaction• What combination of trait self-control scores is best? – Low difference (similarity) – High difference (complementarity)
    22. 22. Sum, Not Difference• The more self-control in both, the better• No sign of similarity effects• Partners showed some complementarity, only in romantic relationships (mainly dating) – Per self-control, opposites attract Vohs, Finkenauer, & Baumeister (2011) Soc. & Pers. Psych. Sci.
    23. 23. Uncertainty Causes Depletion?
    24. 24. Study 1: Manipulation Please complete the equation associated with the color you just saw: Blue: 3 x 5 = Green: 6 x 7 = Yellow: 7 x 9 = Red: 3 x 8 =
    25. 25. Study 1: Measure• DV Persistence on Unsolvable Tracing Puzzles (Baumeister et al., 1998)
    26. 26. Study 2• Communication and Personality• Three conditions – Speech – No Speech – Uncertain• Measure: Solvable Anagrams (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998)
    27. 27. Study 3 Mediators & Moderators• Construal Level• Time Perception• Working Memory• Neuroticism
    28. 28. Mediators, ModeratorsNo significant differences between conditions in Construal level Time PerceptionNo interaction with neuroticismNo effects for mood, emotion
    29. 29. Glucose Counteracts Depletion• Sugar Splenda• Uncertain Speech 17.7 11.1
    30. 30. Implications• Uncertainty is depleting• Can be worse than certainty of bad outcome• Likely mechanism: sustaining multiple interpretations (and switching among) Alquist, Baumeister, & Tice (submitted)
    31. 31. Power /Leadership and Self-Regulation• Leadership position increase indulgence? • Able to take it easy• Or raise performance regulation? • Increased commitment, loyalty, accountability• Regulating task performance vs. appetitive desires might be orthogonal DeWall, Baumeister, Mead, & Vohs (2011) J. Pers. Soc. Psych.
    32. 32. Power, Leadership Summary• Leaders self-regulate performance more than others – Indulgence and pleasure may be different• But not if the task is beneath them• Depleted leaders exert regardless of suitability• But then become extra depleted – “Vicious” circle? DeWall, Baumeister, Mead, & Vohs (2011) J. Pers. Soc. Psych
    33. 33. Depletion “All in your head”?• Job, Dweck, & Walton (2010) found belief in unlimited willpower prevented ego depletion• How widespread are such beliefs?• Effects perhaps right at borderline?
    34. 34. Mild vs. Severe Depletion• Used Job et al. manipulation, inducing belief in limited vs. unlimited willpower• Zero, two, or four depleting tasks – Choice among products, Stroop, stifle laugh, override habit to cross e’s• Measured performance on CET (extrapolation), delay discounting Vohs, Baumeister, & Schmeichel, JESP, 2012
    35. 35. Not All in Your Head 34 Limited Willpower 32 Unlimited WillpowerCET scores 30 28 26 24 22 20 0 Initial Tasks 2 Initial Tasks 4 Initial Tasks
    36. 36. Limited Willpower Part 2 6 Limited WillpowerDelayed Reward Scores 5 Unlimited Willpower 4 3 2 1 0 0 Initial Tasks 2 Initial Tasks 4 Initial Tasks
    37. 37. Thus• Willpower is limited• Belief in unlimited willpower can forestall depletion, but not prevent it• That belief actually makes things worse, when demands are substantial (when you need it most)
    38. 38. What Depletion Feels Like
    39. 39. Impulse and Restraint• Self-control is all about restraint• Impulse should be unaffected• Or else: evaluation/executive tradeoff?• Problem of glucose consumption but total brain caloric use unaffected
    40. 40. Depletion and Emotional Upset Negative EmotionSuppressed Thoughts 16.8Unconstrained Thought 11.5 Vohs, Baumeister, et al. (submitted)
    41. 41. Evaluations Stronger• After depletion (Stroop), IAPS positive pictures rated more positively• And IAPS negative pictures more negatively• After emotionally exaggerated reading, Chinese characters were rated more extremely in both directions (liked and disliked more)
    42. 42. Behavior: Hand in Ice Water Time (sec) PainDepletion 44.0 5.84Not Depleted 62.3 5.21 Vohs, Baumeister, et al. (submitted)
    43. 43. Urge for Cookie• Depletion: write about daily routine, without using A or N• After eating cookie, stronger desire for another• Depleted also ate more• “Full” mediation
    44. 44. Time Course of Desire• Depletion by control attention to video• Watch wrapped gift, indicate ongoing desire to open it• Depletion caused higher desire throughout – Thus effect is not mere delay• Also: higher peak desire, faster to peak, more “trap time” in high desire states, more reverting to previous, more inertia
    45. 45. Experience Sampling Revisited• Prior resistance linked to stronger desires (more execution)
    46. 46. Conclusions, Old and New• Self-control helps resist temptation…but also helps avoid it• Benefits relationships• Uncertainty can be depleting• Many factors can temporarily overcome mild depletion – Power, motivation, beliefs – But one pays the price later• Depletion weakens control…but also strengthens desires & feelings
    47. 47. The End