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The Effects of Success versus Failure Feedback on Further Self-Control
Self and Identity
  • Harry M. Wallace, Case Western Reserve University
  • Roy F Baumeister
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Past work has found that performing one self-control task leads to decrements on subsequent efforts at self-control. The present experiment compared two possible explanations for these decrements, one being a depletion of energy resources, and the other being self-attribution of failure from the first task. Participants performed a Stroop color-word task (an initial self-control exercise) or not, and some received success or failure feedback about their performance. Performing the self-control task led to impaired persistence on a subsequent figure-tracing task, consistent with the energy-depletion model. Success versus failure feedback had no effect, contradicting the self-attribution model.
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Wallace, H. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (2002). The effects of success versus failure feedback on further self-control. Self and Identity, 1, 35-41. doi: 10.1080/152988602317232786