Journal Article

A multi-site preregistered paradigmatic test of the ego-depletion effect

Vohs, K. D., Schmeichel, B. J., Lohmann, S., Gronau, Q. F., Finley, A. J., Ainsworth, S. E., Alquist, J. L., Baker, M. D., Brizi, A., Bunyi, A., Butschek, G. J., Campbell, C., Capaldi, J., Cau, C., Chambers, H., Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., Christensen, W. J., Clay, S. L., Curtis, J., De Cristofaro, V., del Rosario, K., Diel, K., Doğruol, Y., Doi, M., Donaldson, T. L., Eder, A. B., Ersoff, M., Eyink, J. R., Falkenstein, A., Fennis, B. M., Findley, M. B., Finkel, E. J., Forgea, V., Friese, M., Fuglestad, P., Garcia-Willingham, N. E., Geraedts, L. F., Gervais, W. M., Giacomantonio, M., Gibson, B., Gieseler, K., Gineikiene, J., Gloger, E. M., Gobes, C. M., Grande, M., Hagger, M. S., Hartsell, B., Hermann, A. D., Hidding, J. J., Hirt, E. R., Hodge, J., Hofmann, W., Howell, J. L., Hutton, R. D., Inzlicht, M., James, L., Johnson, E., Johnson, H. L., Joyce, S. M., Joye, Y., Kaben, J. H., Kammrath, L. K., Kelly, C. N., Kissell, B. L., Koole, S. L., Krishna, A., Lam, C., Lee, K. T., Lee, N., Leighton, D. C., Loschelder, D. D., Maranges, H. M., Masicampo, E. J., Mazara, J. K., McCarthy, S., McGregor, I., Mead, N. L., Mendes, W. B., Meslot, C., Michalak, N. M., Milyavskaya, M., Miyake, A., Moeini-Jazani, M., Muraven, M., Nakahara, E., Patel, K., Petrocelli, J. V., Pollak, K. M., Price, M. M., Ramsey, H. J., Rath, M., Robertson, J. A., Rockwell, R., Russ, I. F., Salvati, M., Saunders, B., Scherer, A., Schütz, A., Schmitt, K. N., Segerstrom, S. C., Serenka, B., Sharpinskyi, K., Shaw, M., Sherman, J., Song, Y., Sosa, N., Spillane, K., Stapels, J., Stinnett, A. J., Strawser, H. R., Sweeny, K., Theodore, D., Tonnu, K., van Oldenbeuving, Y., vanDellen, M. R., Vergara, R. C., Walker, J. S., Waugh, C. E., Weise, F., Werner, K. M., Wheeler, C., White, R. A., Wichman, A. L., Wiggins, B. J., Wills, J. A., Wilson, J. H., Wagenmakers, E.-J., Albarracín, D.
Psychological Science, 32:10, 1566–1581 (2021)
Open Access


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
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