The Nature of Self-Regulatory Fatigue and “Ego Depletion”: Lessons From Physical Fatigue

Daniel R. Evans, Ian A. Boggero, Suzanne C. Segerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-regulation requires overriding a dominant response and leads to temporary self-regulatory fatigue. Existing theories of the nature and causes of self-regulatory fatigue highlight physiological substrates such as glucose, or psychological processes such as motivation, but these explanations are incomplete on their own. Historically, theories of physical fatigue demonstrate a similar pattern of useful but incomplete explanations, as recent views of physical fatigue emphasize the roles of both physiological and psychological factors. In addition to accounting for multiple inputs, these newer views also explain how fatigue can occur even in the presence of sufficient resources. Examining these newer theories of physical fatigue can serve as a foundation on which to build a more comprehensive understanding of self-regulatory fatigue that integrates possible neurobiological underpinnings of physical and self-regulatory fatigue, and suggests the possible function of self-regulatory fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-310
Number of pages20
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Keywords

  • central governor
  • ego depletion
  • fatigue
  • physical fatigue
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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