One of the most popular folk psychology may be the belief that self-control is somehow "spent."
The idea received support in the late 1990s and has been cited over three thousand times by academic peers.
A recent study that involved over 2,000 participants attempted to reproduce the experiment that led to the ego-depletion theory but found no evidence of ego depletion.
Scholars looked into a 2010 meta-analysis of nearly 200 experiments and discovered that the meta-analysis showed a "publication bias" in which studies that produced contradictory evidence were not included.
The idea of ego depletion may have caught on because it satisfies a need to justify why we sometimes do things we know we shouldn't.
Instead of looking for an excuse, we should perhaps accept that we are fragile, distractible beings and cut ourselves some slack. Maybe our waning energy and wandering minds are trying to tell us something.
Willpower is not a finite resource but instead acts like an emotion. And it can be managed and used as such.
When we perform a difficult task, it is more helpful to believe a lack of motivation is temporary than to tell ourselves that it is all spent. The lack of willpower could be seen as providing insights about what we should and shouldn't be spending our time on.
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