Having Used Self-Control Reduces Emotion Regulation—Emotion Regulation as Relying on Interchangeably Used “Self-Control Energy”


Four studies tested and confirmed the hypothesis that having used self-control reduces subsequent emotion regulation. Participants first completed a task that either did or did not require self-control (attention control, overriding one’s accustomed writing style, or breaking a habit). They later encountered situations designed to activate emotions that typically are downregulated. Participants either met someone new (anxiety), anticipated speaking publicly (anxiety), or recalled times when they felt sad or romantically jealous. Compared to participants who had not completed a self-control task, those who had used self-control task reported feeling of the target emotion to a greater extent. The results from a final study supported the idea that having used self-control reduces emotion regulation rather than increasing the strength of emotion generally.

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Gailliot, M. , Zell, A. and Baumeister, R. (2014) Having Used Self-Control Reduces Emotion Regulation—Emotion Regulation as Relying on Interchangeably Used “Self-Control Energy”. Open Access Library Journal, 1, 1-13. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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