Zoom Meeting (online only)


November 02, 2021: Malte Friese 
Topic: Is Ego Depletion Real? An Analysis of Arguments

An influential line of research suggests that exerting self-control increases 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. This assumption is largely based on evidence for publication bias evident in meta-analyses, a large-scale registered replication report (RRR) finding a null effect, and further recent failures to replicate the effect. In this talk, I 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. In particular, I discuss the merits and faults of six arguments that might be used to defend ego depletion: (a) limitations of meta-analyses and the RRR; (b) shortcomings of ego depletion manipulations and dependent variables; (c) moderator and mediator studies; (d) the absence of reverse depletion effects; (e) the size of the hypothetical file drawer; and (f) evidence for ego depletion in everyday life. I conclude that despite several hundred published studies, the available evidence is inconclusive. Both, additional empirical and theoretical work is needed to make a compelling case for either side of the debate. Necessary steps for future work toward this aim will be discussed.

About the speaker: 
Malte Friese is a Professor for Social Psychology at Saarland University in Germany. His research interests include self-control and self-regulation, close relationships and sexuality, and negotiations. Other lines of research are concerned with meta-scientific perspectives on psychological research.

Additional information regarding this event will be updated here as it becomes available.