Making Choices Depletes the Self's Resources and Impairs Subsequent Self-Regulation

Noelle Nelson, University of Minnesota
Kathleen Vohs, University of Minnesota
The choices consumers make have become abundant and complex. Although having choices is beneficial, evidence suggests that there are costs to making choices. The current research provides an explanation for these costs by hypothesizing that choice depletes the self’s executive function. We hypothesized that making choices depletes the resource that powers executive functioning, which causes poor performance on subsequent self-regulation tasks, as shown in the lab (Experiment 1) and a field test (Experiment 2). Experiments 3 and 4 separated choice’s effects from other possible contributors and showed that enjoyment partially moderates the extent of depletion caused by making choices.
[ to cite ]:
Noelle Nelson and Kathleen Vohs (2008) ,"Making Choices Depletes the Self's Resources and Impairs Subsequent Self-Regulation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 905-906.