RESEARCH PAPER
Regulation strategies and their impact on subsequent response inhibition: the moderating role of the self-control trait
 
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Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Submission date: 2018-09-05
Final revision date: 2019-04-09
Acceptance date: 2019-04-15
Online publication date: 2019-05-31
Publication date: 2019-06-24
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(2):132–141
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Much research has shown that effortful acts of self-control temporarily impair its subsequent exertion. The aim of our experi-ment was to examine whether this effect, called ego depletion, is influenced by application of certain strategies that help people to overcome impulses. Another purpose of our research was to investigate the role of self-control as a trait in this area. We fo-cused on amusement regulation because of its importance in everyday life.

Participants and procedure:
Participants (N = 90) completed the Self-Control Scale (NAS-50) and were then asked to rate humorous cartoons (Task 1) while inducing the following self-regulatory strategies suggested by the instructions: cognitive change, response inhibition, or none (between-subjects manipulation). Subsequently, participants performed the Stop Signal Task (Task 2).

Results:
The results indicate that the depletion effect is absent unless trait self-control is included in the analysis. We observed the interac-tion between the self-control trait and the effectiveness of the adopted self-regulatory strategy. Participants with poor self-control did not differ in their performance in Task 2, regardless of the adopted strategy. With the increase in the self-control trait, we observed differences in Task 2 that indicated that the cognitive change strategy guarded against depletion in participants with a medium level of self-control. Participants with a high self-control trait level obtained better scores in both regulatory groups, compared to the condition without any strategy.

Conclusions:
We discuss these findings in terms of the competing explanations of the ‘ego depletion’ effect, as well as in terms of the trait versus state approach to self-control.

 
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