A multi-site preregistered paradigmatic test of the ego-depletion effect
Psychological Science, 32:10, 1566–1581 (2021)
We conducted a preregistered multilaboratory project (k = 36; N = 3,531) to assess the size and robustness of ego-depletion effects using a novel replication method, termed the paradigmatic replication approach. Each laboratory implemented one of two procedures that was intended to manipulate self-control and tested performance on a subsequent measure of self-control. Confirmatory tests found a nonsignificant result (d = 0.06). Confirmatory Bayesian meta-analyses using an informed-prior hypothesis (δ = 0.30, SD = 0.15) found that the data were 4 times more likely under the null than the alternative hypothesis. Hence, preregistered analyses did not find evidence for a depletion effect. Exploratory analyses on the full sample (i.e., ignoring exclusion criteria) found a statistically significant effect (d = 0.08); Bayesian analyses showed that the data were about equally likely under the null and informed-prior hypotheses. Exploratory moderator tests suggested that the depletion effect was larger for participants who reported more fatigue but was not moderated by trait self-control, willpower beliefs, or action orientation.
Keywords: behavioral sciences, motivators, psychology, self-help