Is Ego Depletion Real?
October 16, 2021•281 words
Reading time: 2 min
I happened to write about ego depletion and did some quick research to clarify my knowledge of this concept, and found that more recent studies have indicated that there is no evidence to support this effect.
Ego depletion is the reduction in willpower or ability to make decisions or exert self-control after every time you do so. It's a limited source, but recovers over time.
The phenomenon I noted here on too many choices for the same type of product in supermarkets decreasing sales figures is explained by this theory. Exerting too much 'decision-making ability' makes us not want to make further product decisions.
This is also used to explain why we (or at least I) get so (mentally) tired after shopping for clothes- my ability to make further decisions and exert self-control has completely run out.
A more recent, massive study (over 3,500 subjects) with sound methodology and statistical methods has indicated that there is a much higher chance that there is NO evidence for ego depletion than evidence FOR ego depletion.
A plausible explanation given from this source is that the mountain of prior studies supporting the idea of ego depletion were either analysed with questionable statistical methods (increasing the likelihood of false positive), or negatives were explained away, while positives were considered to be contributing to the idea of ego depletion.
Well, this throws a thorn in what I was writing about. Oh well, I learned something new today and it changed my view of ego depletion from 'true' to just 'plausible/inconclusive'.
Oh yeah. Made it to Day 7 of 100 days of coding for Python. Slow but steady.