Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Jennifer C. Veilleux

Committee Member

Scott Eidelman

Second Committee Member

Lindsay Ham

Abstract

The resource model of ego-depletion is unable to account for the results of several ego-depletion studies, whereas a recent mechanistic revision by Inzlicht and Schmeichel (2012) has focused on the role of attention and motivation in an effort to explain the phenomenon. Assessment of attention's role in restrained and unrestrained eaters may provide evidence that motivation and attention work in tandem to affect one's ability to exert self-control. In this experiment, college-aged females participated in two studies to examine the role of attention in ego-depletion effects. Study 1 evaluated the effect of ego depletion on attention via a dot probe task, while Study 2 assessed the effect of attentional bias on self-regulatory ability during an eating task. No ego-depletion effect was observed to affect attention toward reward cues or away from self-control cues in the first study, with ancillary evidence suggesting that the ego-depletion induction task was unable to induce a depletive effect which may have driven the observed results. The results of the second study indicate that orienting individuals toward reward cues impacted only the restrained eaters, thus implicating both attention and motivation in guiding eating behavior which is consistent with the components of the mechanistic revision of ego-depletion.

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