Brandon J Schmeichel's research while affiliated with Texas A&M University and other places

Publications (107)

Preprint
One of the most fundamental constructs in the study of motivation is motivational direction, or the urge to approach versus avoid. Motivational direction may be mediated in part by neural activity in the frontal cortex. Specifically, individual differences in resting frontal asymmetry in the electroencephalogram (EEG) have been conceptualized as a...
Article
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Is self-control authentic? Across several hypothetical scenarios, participants perceived impulsive actions as more authentic for others (Study 1a) but self-control as more authentic for themselves (Study 1b). Study 2 partially replicated this asymmetry. Study 3 accounted for behavior positivity because self-control was typically the more positive a...
Preprint
The current research tested the effects of active choice on memory (i.e., the self-choice effect). Across 14 experiments (N = 1100) we found that memory for choice alternatives was improved by choosing versus being assigned information to remember. A subset of 3 experiments found a bigger self-choice effect for more difficult choices. And a subset...
Article
Full-text available
The current research tested the effects of active choice on memory (i.e., the self-choice effect). Across 14 experiments (N = 1100) we found that memory for choice alternatives was improved by choosing versus being assigned information to remember. A subset of 3 experiments found a bigger self-choice effect for more difficult choices. And a subset...
Article
Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, may have psychological effects, such as reducing social and emotional pain. The current study (N = 173) used electroencephalography (EEG) to extend past research on acetaminophen. Healthy undergraduate students (64.7% women, age M = 18.15, SD = 3.33) were randomly assigned to ingest 1,000 mg of aceta...
Preprint
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We conducted a preregistered, multi-laboratory project (k = 36; N = 3531) to assess the size and robustness of ego depletion effects using a novel replication method, termed the paradigmatic replication approach. Laboratories implemented one of two procedures that intended to manipulate self-control and tested performance on a subsequent measure of...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a preregistered multi-laboratory project (k = 36; N = 3531) to assess the size and robustness of ego depletion effects using a novel replication method, termed the paradigmatic replication approach. Laboratories implemented one of two procedures that intended to manipulate self control and tested performance on a subsequent measure of...
Preprint
Working memory capacity (WMC) refers to the capacity to maintain information in short-term storage while processing other information. WMC has been related to higher-order cognitive functions like language comprehension and goal maintenance, and a growing body of research implicates WMC in emotion processes as well. The current research tested the...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory capacity (WMC) refers to the capacity to maintain information in short-term storage while processing other information. WMC has been related to higher-order cognitive functions like language comprehension and goal maintenance, and a growing body of research implicates WMC in emotion processes as well. The current research tested the...
Preprint
Prior research has suggested that circulating levels of glucose in the bloodstream help to determine success at self-control. However, this idea has been challenged on multiple grounds. The current research added new evidence to the debate by testing 1) the extent to which exercising self-control reduces blood glucose levels, 2) whether consuming g...
Article
Prior research has suggested that circulating levels of glucose in the bloodstream help to determine success at self-control. However, this idea has been challenged on multiple grounds. The current research added new evidence to the debate by testing (1) the extent to which exercising self-control reduces blood glucose levels, (2) whether consuming...
Article
The article After-effects of self-control: The reward responsivity hypothesis, written by Nicholas J. Kelley, Anna J. Finley, Brandon J. Schmeichel was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal (currently SpringerLink) on 23 January 2019 with open access.
Article
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Exercising self-control can be phenomenologically aversive. Insofar as individuals strive to maintain a positive emotional state, one consequence of exercising self-control may thus be a temporarily tuning toward or amplification of reward-related impulses (perhaps arising to countermand the aversive feelings that stem from self-control). Reward-re...
Article
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Self-regulation enables individuals to guide their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a purposeful manner. Self-regulation is thus crucial for goal-directed behavior and contributes to many consequential outcomes in life including physical health, psychological well-being, ethical decision making, and strong interpersonal relationships. Neuroscie...
Preprint
Exercising self-control can be phenomenologically aversive. Insofar as individuals strive to maintain a positive emotional state, one consequence of exercising self-control may thus be a temporarily tuning toward or amplification of reward-related impulses (perhaps arising to countermand the aversive feelings that stem from self-control). Reward-re...
Article
Full-text available
Two preregistered experiments with more than 1,000 participants in total found evidence of an ego depletion effect on attention control. Participants who exercised self-control on a writing task went on to make more errors on Stroop tasks (Experiment 1) and the Attention Network Test (Experiment 2) compared with participants who did not exercise se...
Article
Full-text available
According to the process model of ego depletion, exercising self-control causes shifts in motivation and attention that may increase positive emotional reactivity. In an initial study and a preregistered replication, participants exercised self-control (or not) on a writing task before reporting their emotional responses to positive, negative, and...
Article
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Trait self-control correlates with desirable outcomes including physical and psychological well-being and is thought to facilitate the formation of effective habits. Visceral states, including internal drives that motivate specific behaviors, have been found to undermine self-control. The current study tested the hypothesis that individuals higher...
Article
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Self-affirmation reduces defensive responding to self-threats. The present study extended beyond self-threats to assess affirmation's influence on responses to negative emotional pictures as measured by the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential in the encephalogram that reflects motivational significance. Participants completed...
Article
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Emotional events tend to be remembered better than neutral events, but emotional states and stimuli may also interfere with cognitive processes that underlie memory performance. The current study investigated the effects of emotional content on working memory capacity (WMC), which involves both short term storage and executive attention control. We...
Preprint
Two preregistered experiments with over 1000 participants in total found evidence of an ego depletion effect on attention control. Participants who exercised self-control on a writing task went on to make more errors on Stroop tasks (Experiment 1) and the Attention Network Test (Experiment 2) compared to participants who did not exercise self-contr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Two preregistered experiments with over 1000 participants in total found evidence of an ego depletion effect on attention control. Participants who exercised self-control on a writing task went on to make more errors on Stroop tasks (Experiment 1) and the Attention Network Test (Experiment 2) compared to participants who did not exercise self-contr...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Agreeable individuals report more intense withdrawal-oriented negative emotions across aversive situations. Two studies tested the hypothesis that self-regulatory depletion (i.e., ego depletion) moderates the relationship between trait agreeableness and negative emotional responding. Method: Ego depletion was manipulated using a writi...
Article
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The current study examined the aftereffects of mental effort on the processing of picture stimuli using neural measures. Ninety-seven healthy young adults were randomly assigned to exercise more versus less mental effort on a writing task. Then participants viewed positive, negative, and neutral affective images while P1, N1, P2, N2, P3, and late p...
Article
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Prior research has found both similar and different effects of self-regulatory resource depletion and cognitive load. To resolve these seeming contradictions, we experimentally compared the effects of cognitive load and self-regulatory depletion. Ego depletion led participants to pay more attention to pain and to persist less on a pain test, wherea...
Article
Self-control involves the inhibition of dominant response tendencies. Most research on self-control has examined the inhibition of appetitive tendencies, and recent evidence suggests that stimulation to increase right frontal cortical activity helps to inhibit approach-motivated responses. The current experiment paired an approach–avoidance joystic...
Chapter
Self-control can be construed as a competition between two opposing forces: The motivational force that compels an impulse to be expressed in thought, feeling, or behavior (impulse strength) versus the person's inner capacity to control impulses (self-control strength). The strength model of self-control focuses exclusively on the control side of t...
Article
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Good self-control has been linked to adaptive outcomes such as better health, cohesive personal relationships, success in the workplace and at school, and less susceptibility to crime and addictions. In contrast, self-control failure is linked to maladaptive outcomes. Understanding the mechanisms by which self-control predicts behavior may assist i...
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Adopting expansive (vs. contractive) body postures may influence psychological states associated with power. The current experiment sought to replicate and extend research on the power pose effect by adding another manipulation that embodies power—eye gaze. Participants (N = 305) adopted expansive (high power) or contractive (low power) poses while...
Poster
Full-text available
Trait self-control (TSC) facilitates the successful regulation of death-related thoughts possibly because high TSC individuals process aversive topics more analytically. We tested and found evidence for this hypothesis –high TSC participants wrote about death more analytically those in the control condition whereas those low TSC participants showed...
Poster
Full-text available
Hundreds of experiments have found that emotions influence cognitive processes. Does performing a cognitive task influence subsequent emotional responses? Building on dual process models of cognition/emotion interaction, the current study tested the hypothesis that performing a cognitive task (i.e., flanker) reduces subsequent emotional responses t...
Poster
Full-text available
The process model of ego depletion predicts depleted individuals will show an increase in positive emotional reactivity (perhaps especially among those prone to PA), whereas the limited resource model makes no predictions on positive emotional responding. Undergrads were randomly assigned between free writing (n=130) and controlled writing (n=126)...
Article
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The current study tested competing predictions regarding the effect of mortality salience on delay discounting. One prediction, based on evolutionary considerations, was that reminders of death increase the value of the present. Another prediction, based in part on construal level theory, was that reminders of death increase the value of the future...
Data
Supporting SPSS Data File. Mortality salience reduced delay discounting rates compared to dental pain salience. (SAV)
Article
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Prior research has found that persons who favor more analytic modes of thought are less religious. We propose that individual differences in analytic thought are associated with reduced religious beliefs particularly when analytic thought is measured (hence, primed) first. The current study provides a direct replication of prior evidence that indiv...
Article
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Self-control refers to the capacity to override or alter a predominant response tendency. The current experiment tested the hypothesis that exercising self-control temporarily increases approach motivation, as revealed by patterns of electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex. Participants completed a writing task that did versus did not require...
Article
Full-text available
Reminders of personal mortality may tune attention toward positive information. Insofar as attending to positive things in life helps individuals to cope with awareness of death, individuals with higher trait self-control may be particularly adept at positive tuning under mortality salience. To test this hypothesis, the current study had participan...
Article
The executive functions (including response inhibition, memory updating, and task switching) appear to form the core of higher-order cognitive processes in humans. Relatively little research has been devoted to the role of the executive functions in emotional and motivational processes. The current article surveys evidence on the contributions of i...
Article
Asymmetric frontal cortical activity may be one key to the process linking social exclusion to jealous feelings. The current research examined the causal role of asymmetric frontal brain activity in modulating jealousy in response to social exclusion. Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) over the frontal cortex to manipulate asymmetric fr...
Article
Disgust protects the physical self. The present authors suggest that disgust also contributes to the protection of the psychological self by fostering stronger defensive reactions to existential concerns. To test this idea, 3 studies examined the link between disgust sensitivity and defensive responses to mortality salience or "terror management" p...
Article
Inspired by the elaborated intrusion theory of desire, the current research tested the hypothesis that persons higher in trait approach motivation process positive stimuli deeply, which enhances memory for them. Ninety-four undergraduates completed a measure of trait approach motivation, viewed positive or negative image slideshows in the presence...
Article
Reflecting on core personal values is a common means of self-affirmation that can change how a person responds to threatening events. Specifically, self-affirmation has been found to reduce psychological defenses against self-esteem threats. The current research examined the effects of self-affirmation on more basic reflexive mechanisms of motivati...
Article
Research across animal species suggests that eye gaze plays an important role in dominance/submission interactions. In a confrontation, maintenance of eye contact may indicate a struggle for dominance whereas gaze aversion suggests a withdrawal from conflict. Past research has focused on measuring eye gaze patterns in various contexts. The current...
Article
Self-affirmation is known to reduce defensive psychological responses to ego threats. The current experiment tested the hypothesis that self-affirmation reduces physiological responses to a form of ego threat-interpersonal evaluation. Participants wrote an essay and received either neutral or insulting evaluative feedback about their essay, ostensi...
Article
Three experiments compared the effects of engaging a more rational versus more experiential processing mode following self-relevant negative feedback. Participants in each experiment were encouraged to process negative feedback about their social skills in a more rational versus more experiential mode before completing a mood measure (Experiment 1)...
Article
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Numerous experiments have found that exercising self-control reduces success on subsequent, seemingly unrelated self-control tasks. Such evidence lends support to a strength model that posits a limited and depletable resource underlying all manner of self-control. Recent theory and evidence suggest that exercising self-control may also increase app...
Article
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Emotions and sensory perceptions are closely intertwined. Of the five senses, sight has been by far the most extensively studied sense in emotion research. Relatively less is known about how emotions influence the other four senses. Touch is essential for nonverbal communication in both humans and other animals. The current investigation tested com...
Article
Self-control refers to the mental processes that allow people to override thoughts and emotions, thus enabling behavior to vary adaptively from moment to moment. Dominating contemporary research on this topic is the viewpoint that self-control relies upon a limited resource, such that engaging in acts of restraint depletes this inner capacity and u...
Article
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The opportunity cost model offers an ultimate explanation of ego depletion that helps to move the field beyond biologically improbable resource accounts. The model's more proximate explanation, however, falls short of accounting for much data and is based on an outdated view of human rationality. We suggest that our own process model offers a bette...
Article
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Death is inevitable. One way people cope with awareness of death is to focus on the positive things in life. Consistent with this idea, reminders of personal mortality have been found to increase optimism and tune attention towards positive information. The current research tested the hypothesis that persons higher in trait self-control are especia...
Article
We tested the hypothesis that practicing logical reasoning can improve self-control. In an experimental training study (N=49 undergraduates), for one week participants engaged in daily mental exercises with or without the requirement to practice logical reasoning. Participants in the logic group showed improvements in self-control, as revealed by a...
Article
Research has begun to suggest that cognitive ability contributes to emotional processes and responses. The present study sought novel evidence for this hypothesis by examining the relationship between individual differences in the capacity for inhibitory control and responses to a common emotion-induction procedure involving autobiographical memori...
Article
What effects do motivation and beliefs have on self-control? We tested this question using a limited resource paradigm, which generally has found that people show poor self-control after prior exertions of self-control. Recent findings have suggested that motivation and even belief in unlimited willpower can render persons immune to ego depletion....
Article
What effects do motivation and beliefs have on self-control? We tested this question using a limited resource paradigm, which generally has found that people show poor self-control after prior exertions of self-control. Recent findings have suggested that motivation and even belief in unlimited willpower can render persons immune to ego depletion....
Article
Much research has shown that after being self-affirmed, people respond to challenges in healthy, productive ways, including better task performance. The current research demonstrates that self-affirmation can also deflate motivation and performance, a pattern consistent with goal disengagement. We posited that being self-affirmed and then attemptin...
Article
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According to the resource model of self-control, overriding one's predominant response tendencies consumes and temporarily depletes a limited inner resource. Over 100 experiments have lent support to this model of ego depletion by observing that acts of self-control at Time 1 reduce performance on subsequent, seemingly unrelated self-control tasks...
Article
What effects do motivation and beliefs have on self-control? We tested this question using a limited resource paradigm, which generally has found that people show poor self-control after prior exertions of self-control. Recent findings have suggested that motivation and even belief in unlimited willpower can render persons immune to ego depletion....
Article
The current work examined the untested assumption that implicit self-esteem is nonconscious and cannot be assessed consciously. Participants completed measures of implicit and explicit self-esteem. Later, they guessed their level of implicit or unconscious self-esteem. Results indicated that participants were largely unable to assess consciously th...
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Self-regulation is a core aspect of adaptive human behavior that has been studied, largely in parallel, through the lenses of social and personality psychology as well as cognitive psychology. Here, we argue for more communication between these disciplines and highlight recent research that speaks to their connection. We outline how basic facets of...
Article
Bowlby (1980) theorized that insecurely attached people use defensive memory suppression to cope with adverse events involving childhood attachment figures. In this study, defensive memory suppression was conceptualized as a form of self-regulation that, like other types of self-regulation, requires limited resources and may be undermined by the pr...
Article
Time and death are linked--the passing of time brings us closer to death. Terror management theory proposes that awareness of death represents a potent problem that motivates a variety of psychological defenses (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1997). We tested the hypothesis that thinking about death motivates elongated perceptions of brief inte...
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Four studies suggested that conscious processing makes valuable, essential contributions to the creative process. A conscious goal to be creative elicited more creative story titles, whereas nonconscious priming of creativity failed to increase creativity. A cognitive load that preoccupied conscious processing lowered the creativity of musical impr...
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The present experiment tested the hypothesis that low-level construals-a known contributor to self-control failure-can improve self-control under some circumstances. In support of this hypothesis, the authors found evidence that low-level construals (relative to high-level construals) improve performance on a measure of response inhibition that req...
Article
Drawing on terror management theory and related perspectives on existential motivation, we hypothesized that people manage concerns with personal mortality by imbuing their everyday actions with abstract, self-relevant meaning. Accordingly, we found that subtle reminders of mortality led participants to view hypothetical actions at higher levels of...
Article
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Over 50 years of work on cognitive dissonance theory has suggested that dissonance reduction is a motivated process. However, no research has unambiguously demonstrated the direction of this motivation—whether it is approach or avoidance oriented. The action-based model of dissonance proposes that dissonance reduction is an approach-related process...
Article
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In this set of studies, we examine the perceptual similarities between emotions that share either a valence or a motivational direction. Determination is a positive approach-related emotion, whereas anger is a negative approach-related emotion. Thus, determination and anger share a motivational direction but are opposite in valence. An implemental...
Article
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Although previous evidence suggests that working memory capacity (WMC) is important for success at emotion regulation, that evidence may reveal simply that people with higher WMC follow instructions better than those with lower WMC. The present study tested the hypothesis that people with higher WMC more effectively engage in spontaneous emotion re...
Article
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The present research tested the hypothesis that exercising self-control causes an increase in approach motivation. Study 1 found that exercising (vs. not exercising) self-control increases self-reported approach motivation. Study 2a identified a behavior--betting on low-stakes gambles--that is correlated with approach motivation but is relatively u...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on those events or situations in which individuals need to make concerted efforts to remain attentive or focused on certain tasks or activities. Activities such as driving and other diverse kinds of professional tasks require specific attention from individuals without any distractions. Depending on the activities, individuals...
Article
Self-control strength is a central construct to theories of willpower, optimal functioning, freedom from addiction, and abilities to override problematic social motives and behaviors (e.g., aggression). Understanding the processing basis of self-control strength, and more particularly its depletion, is thus of paramount importance to both basic and...
Article
The present research investigated whether cardiac vagal control (as measured by respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) predicts an individual's predisposition to suppress negative emotional expressions. One hundred thirty-six participants watched either a negative film or a neutral film. Facial expressions were recorded during the film and subjective e...
Article
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Three studies tested the roles of implicit and/or explicit self-esteem in reactions to mortality salience. In Study 1, writing about death versus a control topic increased worldview defense among participants low in implicit self-esteem but not among those high in implicit self-esteem. In Study 2, a manipulation to boost implicit self-esteem reduce...
Article
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Research has established that acts of self-control deplete a resource required for subsequent self-control tasks. The present investigation revealed that a psychological intervention-self-affirmation-facilitates self-control when the resource has been depleted. Experiments 1 and 2 found beneficial effects of self-affirmation on self-control in a de...
Article
Symbolic self-completion theory proposes that individuals use symbols of attainment to define themselves as accomplished in self-defining areas and to communicate their accomplishments to others. The goal of the present research was to examine whether individual professors and academic departments strive for symbolic self-completion when communicat...
Article
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This research examined the relationship between individual differences in working memory capacity and the self-regulation of emotional expression and emotional experience. Four studies revealed that people higher in working memory capacity suppressed expressions of negative emotion (Study 1) and positive emotion (Study 2) better than did people low...
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Four studies indicate that mortality salience increases adherence to social norms and values, but only when cultural norms and values are salient. In Study 1, mortality salience coupled with a reminder about cultural values of egalitarianism reduced prejudice toward Blacks among non-Black participants. In Studies 2 through 4, a mortality salience i...
Article
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The current research tested the hypothesis that making many choices impairs subsequent self-control. Drawing from a limited-resource model of self-regulation and executive function, the authors hypothesized that decision making depletes the same resource used for self-control and active responding. In 4 laboratory studies, some participants made ch...
Article
Whereas many previous studies suggest that self-esteem may buffer against the psychological threat of death, recent research has begun to suggest that self-control also may serve as a buffer. Two studies examined the possibility that dispositional self-control uniquely predicts responses to mortality salience, above and beyond self-esteem. In Study...
Article
Two studies tested the extent to which trait self-control predicts performance on objective laboratory tests of behavioral self-control. In Study 1, participants attempted to refrain from blinking for a period of 2 minutes. Participants who reported higher trait self-control blinked less often than participants who reported lower trait self-control...
Article
This research tested the hypothesis that initial efforts at executive control temporarily undermine subsequent efforts at executive control. Four experiments revealed that controlling the focus of visual attention (Experiment 1), inhibiting predominant writing tendencies (Experiment 2), taking a working memory test (Experiment 3), or exaggerating e...
Article
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The present work suggests that self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source. Laboratory tests of self-control (i.e., the Stroop task, thought suppression, emotion regulation, attention control) and of social behaviors (i.e., helping behavior, coping with thoughts of death, stifling prejudice during an interracial interaction) showed th...
Article
Nine studies (N = 979) demonstrated that managing the threat of death requires self-regulation. Both trait and state self-control ability moderated the degree to which people experienced death-related thought and anxiety. Participants high (vs. low) in self-control generated fewer death-related thoughts after being primed with death, reported less...
Article
This research examined the relationship between emotional expressivity and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). A total of 94 healthy undergraduate participants watched a 2 minute movie that was either hedonically positive or negative and reported their emotional response to the film. Skin conductance, number of electrodermal responses (EDRs) and ca...
Article
Relative to watching in a natural manner, people asked to suppress or exaggerate their facial response to a negative emotional stimulus experience greater activation of the sympathetic nervous system but report a similar subjective emotional experience. The present research extends prior research on response modulation in two important ways. First,...
Article
Suppressing or inhibiting responses has a host of negative effects, including a temporary reduction in self-regulatory strength (ego depletion). Less attention has been given to response exaggeration, which should also deplete regulatory strength and therefore disrupt subsequent self-control. We tested the depletion hypothesis by having participant...
Article
To the extent that cultural worldviews provide meaning in the face of existential concerns, specifically the inevitability of death, affirming a valued aspect of one's worldview should render reminders of death less threatening. The authors report two studies in support of this view. In Study 1, mortality salience led to derogation of a worldview v...