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Chris Englert and Alex Bertrams

In the current study, we consider that optimal sprint start performance requires the self-control of responses. Therefore, start performance should depend on athletes’ self-control strength. We assumed that momentary depletion of self-control strength (ego depletion) would either speed up or slow down the initiation of a sprint start, where an initiation that was sped up would carry the increased risk of a false start. Applying a mixed between- (depletion vs. nondepletion) and within- (before vs. after manipulation of depletion) subjects design, we tested the start reaction times of 37 sport students. We found that participants’ start reaction times decelerated after finishing a depleting task, whereas it remained constant in the nondepletion condition. These results indicate that sprint start performance can be impaired by unrelated preceding actions that lower momentary self-control strength. We discuss practical implications in terms of optimizing sprint starts and related overall sprint performance.

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Jón Gregersen, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Evangelos Galanis, Nikos Comoutos, and Athanasios Papaioannou

ego depletion has typically been examined using a so-called dual-task paradigm , with a subsequent self-control demanding task being performed immediately after the completion of an initial self-control demanding task. This dual-task paradigm has found to lead to a decrease in performance in the

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Chris Englert and Alex Bertrams

In the present article, we analyzed the role of self-control strength and state anxiety in sports performance. We tested the hypothesis that self-control strength and state anxiety interact in predicting sports performance on the basis of two studies, each using a different sports task (Study 1: performance in a basketball free throw task, N = 64; Study 2: performance in a dart task, N = 79). The patterns of results were as expected in both studies: Participants with depleted self-control strength performed worse in the specific tasks as their anxiety increased, whereas there was no significant relation for participants with fully available self-control strength. Furthermore, different degrees of available self-control strength did not predict performance in participants who were low in state anxiety, but did in participants who were high in state anxiety. Thus increasing self-control strength could reduce the negative anxiety effects in sports and improve athletes’ performance under pressure.

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Chris Englert, Kris Zwemmer, Alex Bertrams, and Raôul R.D. Oudejans

In the current study we investigated whether ego depletion negatively affects attention regulation under pressure in sports by assessing participants’ dart throwing performance and accompanying gaze behavior. According to the strength model of self-control, the most important aspect of self-control is attention regulation. Because higher levels of state anxiety are associated with impaired attention regulation, we chose a mixed design with ego depletion (yes vs. no) as between-subjects and anxiety level (high vs. low) as within-subjects factor. Participants performed a perceptual-motor task requiring selective attention, namely, dart throwing. In line with our expectations, depleted participants in the high-anxiety condition performed worse and displayed a shorter final fixation on bull’s eye, demonstrating that when one’s self-control strength is depleted, attention regulation under pressure cannot be maintained. This is the first study that directly supports the general assumption that ego depletion is a major factor in influencing attention regulation under pressure.

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Roy David Samuel, Guy Matzkin, Saar Gal, and Chris Englert

, 2016 ) initially offered an intuitive account of the relationships between a state of ego depletion and reduced performance in sport. However, more recent models argued that an individual’s perception of their temporarily available self-control resources is also a key factor in this process (e

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Desmond McEwan, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, and Steven R. Bray

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of depleted self-control strength on skill-based sports task performance. Sixty-two participants completed the following: a baseline dart-tossing task (20 tosses), with measures of accuracy, reaction time, and myoelectrical activity of the arms taken throughout; a self-control depletion (experimental) or a nondepletion (control) manipulation; and a second round of dart tossing. As hypothesized, participants in the experimental condition had poorer mean accuracy at Round 2 than control condition participants, and a significant decline in accuracy from Round 1 to Round 2. Experimental condition participants also demonstrated poorer consistency in accuracy compared with control condition participants at Round 2 and a significant deterioration in consistency from Round 1 to Round 2. In addition, consistency in reaction time improved significantly for the control group but not for the experimental group. The results of this study provide evidence that ego depletion effects occur in the performance of a skill-based sports task.

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Jeffrey D. Graham and Steven R. Bray

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of task self-efficacy as a psychological factor involved in the relationship between self-control depletion and physical endurance. Participants (N = 37) completed two isometric handgrip endurance trials, separated by a Stroop task, which was either congruent (control) or incongruent (causing depletion). Task self-efficacy for the second endurance trial was measured following the Stroop task. Participants in the depletion condition reported lower task self-efficacy and showed a greater reduction in performance on the second endurance trial when compared with controls. Task self-efficacy also mediated the relationship between self-control depletion and endurance performance. The results of this study provide evidence that task self-efficacy is negatively affected following self-control depletion. We recommend that task self-efficacy be further investigated as a psychological factor accounting for the negative change in self-control performance of physical endurance and sport tasks following self-control strength depletion.

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Christopher R. D. Wagstaff

This study used a single-blind, within-participant, counterbalanced, repeated-measures design to examine the relationship between emotional self-regulation and sport performance. Twenty competitive athletes completed four laboratory-based conditions; familiarization, control, emotion suppression, and nonsuppression. In each condition participants completed a 10-km cycling time trial requiring self-regulation. In the experimental conditions participants watched an upsetting video before performing the cycle task. When participants suppressed their emotional reactions to the video (suppression condition) they completed the cycling task slower, generated lower mean power outputs, and reached a lower maximum heart rate and perceived greater physical exertion than when they were given no self-regulation instructions during the video (nonsuppression condition) and received no video treatment (control condition). The findings suggest that emotional self-regulation resource impairment affects perceived exertion, pacing and sport performance and extends previous research examining the regulation of persistence on physical tasks. The results are discussed in line with relevant psychophysiological theories of self-regulation and fatigue and pertinent potential implications for practice regarding performance and well-being are suggested.

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Denver M.Y. Brown and Steven R. Bray

moderating mechanism insofar as demonstrating ego depletion is not an all or none phenomenon. That is, people manage or conserve their resources, and this is dependent on several factors including motivation. Therefore, whenever people are provided a motivational impetus to increase performance, people

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Keith R. Lohse

more appropriate?). In contrast, “ego-depletion” was first introduced in psychology in the late 1990s ( Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven & Tice, 1998 ), although related constructs are older. Almost twenty years later, meta-analyses ( Carter & McCullough, 2014 ) and multi-lab replication efforts