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Title Motivational specificity and threat-compensation: The effects of mortality salience on self-control
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Psychology
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher University of Kansas
Abstract Self-control is the mental function that allows people to actively suppress unwanted thoughts, emotions, and urges, as well as re-prioritize their goals in accordance with situational demands. However, self-control requires effort, and exerting effort can lead to mental fatigue—a state termed “ego depletion” (Inzlicht & Schmeichel, 2012). When self-control is depleted, people are less motivated to continue exerting effort, and increasingly motivated to pursue other more rewarding activities; satisfying these motives can, in turn, restore one’s capacity for self-control. The present research investigates the idea that the salience of certain psychological threats—such as the awareness of one’s mortality—can impose limits on the sorts of behaviors that people will be motivated to engage in after exerting self-control, and, by extension, what sorts of rewards will be sufficient for restoring mental resources. Across three studies, I draw from research on TMT and the shifting-priorities model of self-control to explore this hypothesis. I investigate whether specialized threat-compensatory motives for coping with the awareness of one’s mortality can constrain the types of rewards that serve to effectively counteract the ego depletion effect. The results of these studies did not support this hypothesis, but critical methodological issues arose that prevented a proper evaluation of its accuracy. These issues are explored further within the General Discussion. I then conclude with a brief overview of the potential neural mechanisms thought to undergird the regulation of self-control and the processing of motivationally salient reward-based stimuli.
Subjects/Keywords Psychology; Experimental psychology; Cognitive psychology; attention; depletion; mortality; motivation; self-control; TMT
Contributors Landau, Mark J (advisor); Gillath, Omri (cmtemember); Crandall, Chris (cmtemember)
Language en
Rights Copyright held by the author.
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:1808/21901
Repository ku
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-02-01
Issued Date 2016-05-31 00:00:00

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