Self-control is important for everyday life and involves behavioral regulation. Self-control requires effort, and when completing two successive self-control tasks, there is typically a temporary drop in performance in the second task. High self-reported motivation and being made self-aware somewhat counteract this effect-with the result that performance in the second task is enhanced. The current study explored the relationship between self-awareness and motivation on sequential self-control task performance. Before employing self-control in an antisaccade task, participants initially applied self-control in an incongruent Stroop task or completed a control task. After the Stroop task, participants unscrambled sentences that primed self-awareness (each started with the word “I”) or unscrambled neutral sentences. Motivation was measured after the antisaccade task. Findings revealed that, after exerting self-control in the incongruent Stroop task, motivation predicted erroneous responses in the antisaccade task for those that unscrambled neutral sentences, and high motivation led to fewer errors. Those primed with self-awareness were somewhat more motivated overall, but motivation did not significantly predict antisaccade performance. Supporting the resource allocation account, if one was motivated-intrinsically or via the manipulation of self-awareness-resources were allocated to both tasks leading to the successful completion of two sequential self-control tasks.
About Prof. Sandra Sünram-Lea
My research background is in biological psychology and neuroscience, and I am interested in biological factors and mechanisms which affect human cognition and behaviour across the lifespan. Much of my research has focused on the effects of glucose administration and glucose regulatory mechanisms on human cognition.