Dynamics of Self-Regulation

Session Chair: Suresh Ramanathan, University of Chicago
Discussion Leader: Tanya Chartrand, Duke University

                                           Special Session – ACR San Antonio 2005


Dynamics of Self-Regulation


Session Chair: Suresh Ramanathan, University of Chicago



1.         “Self-Regulatory Resource Depletion Makes People More Extreme in Their Emotions and  Judgments: A Possible Mechanism for Ego-Depletion”

                                 Kathleen Vohs, University of Minnesota

                   Nicole Mead, Florida State University

                   Brandon Schmeichel, Texas A&M University

                              Sabrina Bruyneel, Katholik University Leuven

              Research on the self-regulatory resource depletion model has shown that earlier acts of self-control render people less able to self-regulate later. Why is this so? We hypothesized that one reason is that subjective feelings of sensations and impulses are stronger after episodes of self-regulation as compared to responses experienced in the absence of prior self-regulation. Five studies supported this hypothesis: ratings of emotional movies or photos (Studies 1-2), abstract characters (Studies 3-4) and the experience of pain (Study 5) were more extreme if people had first engaged in self-regulation than if they had not engaged in self-control.


2.         “Moment-to-Moment Pursuit of Hedonic Goals”

                                           Suresh Ramanathan, University of Chicago
Geeta Menon, New York University


            One of the key unresolved issues in the study of self-control is the precise nature of the dynamics of conflict between desire and willpower. Our research focuses on the timeline of affective reactions to tempting stimuli and suggests that there are systematic differences between impulsive and prudent people in terms of how they manage goal conflict – while both impulsive and prudent people experience spontaneous positive affect in response to tempting stimuli after being primed, the former manage subsequent ambivalence by choosing to go with the unsatiated hedonic goal, while the latter show a rebound effect by devaluing the primed hedonic goal significantly over time.


3.                  “Attention Mechanisms in Goal Management”

James Shah, Duke University

Shawn Bodmann, University of Wisconsin-Madison


An important, perhaps under-examined, component of effective self-regulation is the manner in which we prioritize and “juggle” our various pursuits and resolve goal conflict in order to best ensure the successful attainment of as many goals as possible. Our research examines the mechanisms involved in such goal management and the degree to which they may unfold automatically. We present a series of studies that consider the fundamental regulation of attention and the goals themselves. Specifically, we present evidence of four key processes – 1) goal shielding, in which goals are automatically shielded from the distraction of other pursuits, 2) goal shifting, in which one’s attention switches amongst one’s various goals, 3) goal synthesis, in which goals may be managed by regulating the pursuits themselves and 4) goal shedding, in which some pursuits may be strategically dropped for the sake of those remaining.
[ to cite ]:
Session Chair: Suresh Ramanathan and Discussion Leader: Tanya Chartrand (2006) ,"Dynamics of Self-Regulation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 651-655.