Self regulatory fatigue in Public Goods Games David Crelley Prof. Stephen Lea Dr. Peter Fischer University of Exeter, UK firstname.lastname@example.org Ego Depletion and the tragedy of the commons
What is Ethical Consumption and Investment? • Typically defined: Fair trade, locally sourced, recycled goods, free range, organic… • My definition: Favouring products that are for the greater good • Most consumers do not consistently buy ethical branded products (Altman, 2001, Thøgersen, 2006) • Economic incentives often outweigh moral motives (Fransson & Gärling, 1999,De Pelsmacker et al., 2005)
Spending Conflict • Ethical spending can be considered a ‘Social Dilemma’ with two components: • Social conflict: Motivationally demanding • Temporal conflict: Cognitively demanding • Hardin (1968) Tragedy of the commons • Some people will only act in accordance with self interest (free ride) • Why continue to act morally when others do not? • Can we indefinitely resist temptation?
Self Regulation and Ego Depletion • Self regulation constrains undesirable urges (Alberts et al., 2007) • Ensure behaviour is inline with our long term goals • Decision making, self-presentation, and intellectual performance (Alberts et al., 2007; Baumeister & Vohs, 2007) • Via regulating • Thoughts (taking others perspective / Long term impact) • Emotions (warm fuzzy feeling vs guilt) • Self restraint is a limited cognitive resource (Baumeister et al., 1998)
Self Regulation and Ego Depletion • Self-regulation is impaired by prior self-regulation • Ego depletion results in self serving attitudes (Hofmann et al., 2007) • Ego depletion should lead to self serving and short term economic decisions • No study has previously investigated ego depletion at the group level
Current Study • Ego depletion and a social dilemma game. • 40 u/g students • 2 conditions (high vs. low ego depletion) • Ego depletion manipulation : the white bear manipulation (Baumeister et al. 1998; Muraven, Tice, and Baumeister 1998). • Sheldon and McGregor (2000) forest game • 4 players per game 200 hectare forest. Cut down 10 hectares' per player per round • Forest regenerates up to 10%
Results • Tree Years • Low Ego Depletion M 2170.67 • High Ego Depletion M 1197.99 • t(9) 2.661, P =0.012 • PANAS • Ego depletion resulted in negative emotion • But no mediation effect • Informal exit interviews • High ego depletion condition = distrustful • Low ego depletion condition = notions of fairness
Conclusion • First study to show • Group based effect of ego depletion • An effect of self regulation fatigue public goods games • Next stages • Real life spending • Fatigue effects in prolonged shopping • Thank you for listening • email@example.com