What People Desire, Feel Conflicted About, and Try to Resist in Everyday Life

Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.43). 04/2012; 23(6):582-8. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612437426
Source: PubMed


In the present study, we used experience sampling to measure desires and desire regulation in everyday life. Our analysis included data from 205 adults, who furnished a total of 7,827 reports of their desires over the course of a week. Across various desire domains, results revealed substantial differences in desire frequency and strength, the degree of conflict between desires and other goals, and the likelihood of resisting desire and the success of this resistance. Desires for sleep and sex were experienced most intensively, whereas desires for tobacco and alcohol had the lowest average strength, despite the fact that these substances are thought of as addictive. Desires for leisure and sleep conflicted the most with other goals, and desires for media use and work brought about the most self-control failure. In addition, we observed support for a limited-resource model of self-control employing a novel operationalization of cumulative resource depletion: The frequency and recency of engaging in prior self-control negatively predicted people's success at resisting subsequent desires on the same day.

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    • "In a survey among college students, unscheduled media use was negatively related to trait self-control as well as the time spent on school work, and positively related to feelings of guilt. The fact that ego-depleted individuals have a particularly strong risk of experiencing a conflict between the use of entertaining media and other goals (Hofmann et al., 2012), and therefore may be more likely to see their media use as a form of procrastination, should make them particularly prone to feeling guilty about their media use. On the basis of previous research that has linked procrastination to feelings of guilt (Fee & Tangney, 2000; van Eerde, 2003), we thus predict a positive relationship between perceived procrastination and feelings of guilt (H2). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article addresses ego depletion as a mechanism influencing media-based stress recovery processes. Using structural equation modeling, relationships between ego depletion, procrastination, guilt, enjoyment, vitality, and recovery experience were tested using data from an online survey (N = 471). Results suggest that ego depletion may increase the risk of negatively appraising the use of interactive (video games) and noninteractive (television) entertaining media as a form of procrastination. The resulting guilt is negatively related to the recovery experience associated with using entertainment. Therefore, ego-depleted individuals may benefit less from the psychological recovery potential of entertainment media, despite their greater need for recovery. These findings are an important step in understanding the pivotal role of appraisal processes for media-induced recovery and the entertainment experience.
    Journal of Communication 06/2014; 64(4). DOI:10.1111/jcom.12107 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    • "The depletion of control resource has been reported in other species too (Miller et al., 2010). Many researchers believe that resource depletion partially explains many cases of lapses in self-regulation, ranging from ordinary overeating through to addictive behaviors, and impulsive violence (e.g., Vohs and Heatherton, 2000; Baumeister et al., 2006; Baumeister and Tierney, 2011; Hofmann et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Failures in self-regulation are predictive of adverse cognitive, academic and vocational outcomes, yet the interplay between cognition and self-regulation failure remains elusive. Two experiments tested the hypothesis that lapses in self-regulation, as predicted by the strength model, can be induced in individuals using cognitive paradigms and whether such failures are related to cognitive performance. In Experiments 1, the stop-signal task (SST) was used to show reduced behavioral inhibition after performance of a cognitively demanding arithmetic task, but only in people with low arithmetic accuracy, when compared with SST performance following a simple discrimination task. Surprisingly, and inconsistently with existing models, subjects rapidly recovered without rest or glucose. In Experiment 2, depletions of both go-signal reaction times and response inhibition were observed when a simple detection task was used as a control. These experiments provide new evidence that cognitive self-regulation processes are influenced by cognitive performance, and subject to improvement and recovery without rest.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2013; 4:174. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00174 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Do people sometimes exercise self-control in such a way as to bring it about that they do not act on present-directed motivation that continues to be motivationally strongest for a significant stretch of time (even though they are able to act on that motivation at the time) and intentionally act otherwise during that stretch of time? This paper explores the relative merits of two different theories about synchronic self-control that provide different answers to this question. One is due to Sripada (Noûs 1–38, 2012) and the other to Mele (Irrationality, 1987; Autonomous agents, 1995; Motivation and agency, 2003). Special attention is paid to evidence Sripada offers for an affirmative answer to the question, and some guidance is offered on the project of finding evidence for an affirmative answer.
    Philosophical Studies 09/2013; 170(2). DOI:10.1007/s11098-013-0224-5
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