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Implicit theories about willpower in resisting temptations and emotion control

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Bernecker Kathariina, Job Veronika,
Project Implicit Theories about Willpower: Mechanisms, Replication, and Application
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Psychology
Title of proceedings Journal of Psychology


Previous research suggests that people’s implicit theories about willpower affect continuous self-control performance in the domain of strenuous mental activities. The present research expands these findings to two further domains of self-control: resisting temptations and emotion control. In Study 1 participants either were led to resist a temptation or not. Participants who believed that willpower gets depleted through resistance to temptations (limited-resource theory) performed significantly worse in a subsequent Stroop task compared to participants who believed that resisting temptations activates their willpower (nonlimited-resource theory). In Study 2 participants controlled their emotions during a funny video or were allowed to express them. Participants who believed that controlling emotions depletes willpower performed worse in a subsequent persistence task, than those who believed that controlling emotions activates willpower. Results suggest that implicit theories about willpower are domain specific and sensitive to the domain of the initial rather than subsequent self-control task.