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Is Ego Depletion Real? An Analysis of Arguments.
Personality and Social Psychology Review  (IF18.464),  Pub Date : 2018-03-29, DOI: 10.1177/1088868318762183
Malte Friese,David D Loschelder,Karolin Gieseler,Julius Frankenbach,Michael Inzlicht

An influential line of research suggests that initial bouts of self-control increase the susceptibility to self-control failure (ego depletion effect). Despite seemingly abundant evidence, some researchers have suggested that evidence for ego depletion was the sole result of publication bias and p-hacking, with the true effect being indistinguishable from zero. Here, we examine (a) whether the evidence brought forward against ego depletion will convince a proponent that ego depletion does not exist and (b) whether arguments that could be brought forward in defense of ego depletion will convince a skeptic that ego depletion does exist. We conclude that despite several hundred published studies, the available evidence is inconclusive. Both additional empirical and theoretical works are needed to make a compelling case for either side of the debate. We discuss necessary steps for future work toward this aim.