Searching for the bottom of the ego well: Failure to uncover ego depletion in Many Labs 3

  1. Natalie Gold
  2. Magda Osman

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Description: According to a popular model of self-control, willpower depends on a limited resource that can be depleted when we perform a task demanding self-control. Over the last five years, the reliability of the empirical evidence supporting this model has become the subject of heated debate. In the present study, we reanalysed data from a large-scale study –Many Labs 3– to test whether performing a depleting task has any effect on a secondary task that also relies on self-control. Although we used a large sample of more than 2,000 participants for our analyses, we did not find any significant evidence of ego-depletion: Persistence on an anagram solving task (a typical measure of self-control) was not affected by previous completion of a Stroop task (a typical depleting task in this literature). Our results suggest that persistence in anagram solving may not be an optimal measure to test depletion effects.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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