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Ego Depletion

Definition

Ego depletion refers to the loss of a personal resource (and associated breakdown in performance) due to the previous exertion of self-control or other effortful and willful acts of the self. Ego depletion may be especially important in understanding why self-control fails and what the processes are that underlie self-control.

The model of ego depletion suggests that individuals have a fixed amount of resource to exert selfcontrol or perform other effortful and willful acts of the self. This resource, called ego strength, is required for any and all self-directed efforts (in particular, selfcontrol and making choices that are relevant to the self). This ego strength is consumed or depleted in the process of self-control, however. In addition, this ego strength is recovered slowly, so that it ...

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