Goals Or Means: How Psychological Distance Influences Depletion Effects

Nidhi Agrawal, Northwestern University, USA
Echo Wen Wan, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
This paper examines how construal level influences the performance of consecutive self-control which requires sustained effort and is vulnerable to self-control resource depletion effect. We propose that at higher-level construals, individuals focus on self-relevant goals (e.g., one’s health goal) and will allocate self-control resources to the second self-control task depending on the importance of the task to their goal. At lower-level construals, individuals attend to resource accessibility and will perform self-control based on their perceived fatigue involved in exerting self-control resource. In three experiments we test this proposition in the consumer health context and examine the underlying processes.
[ to cite ]:
Nidhi Agrawal and Echo Wen Wan (2010) ,"Goals Or Means: How Psychological Distance Influences Depletion Effects", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 246-249 .