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The modality effect of ego depletion: Auditory task modality reduces ego depletion

Author:
Li, Qiong   Wang, Zhenhong   


Journal:
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology


Issue Date:
2016


Abstract(summary):

An initial act of self-control that impairs subsequent acts of self-control is called ego depletion. The ego depletion phenomenon has been observed consistently. The modality effect refers to the effect of the presentation modality on the processing of stimuli. The modality effect was also robustly found in a large body of research. However, no study to date has examined the modality effects of ego depletion. This issue was addressed in the current study. In Experiment 1, after all participants completed a handgrip task, one group's participants completed a visual attention regulation task and the other group's participants completed an auditory attention regulation task, and then all participants again completed a handgrip task. The ego depletion phenomenon was observed in both the visual and the auditory attention regulation task. Moreover, participants who completed the visual task performed worse on the handgrip task than participants who completed the auditory task, which indicated that there was high ego depletion in the visual task condition. In Experiment 2, participants completed an initial task that either did or did not deplete self-control resources, and then they completed a second visual or auditory attention control task. The results indicated that depleted participants performed better on the auditory attention control task than the visual attention control task. These findings suggest that altering task modality may reduce ego depletion.


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