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Decomposing Self-Control: Individual Differences in Goal Pursuit Despite Interfering Aversion, Temptation, and Distraction.

Steimke R, Stelzel C, Gaschler R, Rothkirch M, Ludwig VU, Paschke LM, Trempler I, Kathmann N, Goschke T, Walter H - Front Psychol (2016)

Bottom Line: We found that aversion, temptation, and neutral distraction were associated with significantly increased error rates, reaction times and gaze pattern deviations.Measures of aversion, temptation, and distraction showed moderate split-half reliability, but did not correlate with each other across participants.Our individual differences analyses suggest that (1) the ability to endure aversion, resist temptations and ignore neutral distractions are independent of each other and (2) these three domains are related to other measures of self-control.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlin, Germany; Department of Psychology, Technische Universität DresdenDresden, Germany; Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlin, Germany; Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlin, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Self-control can be defined as the ability to exert control over ones impulses. Currently, most research in the area relies on self-report. Focusing on attentional control processes involved in self-control, we modified a spatial selective attentional cueing task to test three domains of self-control experimentally in one task using aversive, tempting, and neutral picture-distractors. The aims of the study were (1) to investigate individual differences in the susceptibility to aversive, tempting, and neutral distraction within one paradigm and (2) to test the association of these three self-control domains to conventional measures of self-control including self-report. The final sample consisted of 116 participants. The task required participants to identify target letters "E" or "F" presented at a cued target location while the distractors were presented. Behavioral and eyetracking data were obtained during the performance of the task. High task performance was encouraged via monetary incentives. In addition to the attentional self-control task, self-reported self-control was assessed and participants performed a color Stroop task, an unsolvable anagram task and a delay of gratification task using chocolate sweets. We found that aversion, temptation, and neutral distraction were associated with significantly increased error rates, reaction times and gaze pattern deviations. Overall task performance on our task correlated with self-reported self-control ability. Measures of aversion, temptation, and distraction showed moderate split-half reliability, but did not correlate with each other across participants. Additionally, participants who made a self-controlled decision in the delay of gratification task were less distracted by temptations in our task than participants who made an impulsive choice. Our individual differences analyses suggest that (1) the ability to endure aversion, resist temptations and ignore neutral distractions are independent of each other and (2) these three domains are related to other measures of self-control.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Display of the trial Schema. Each trial starts with a fixation cross followed by an arrow indicating the location of the next target letter 5.9° of visual angle left or right from the center. After the arrow presentation the screen was empty for a variable delay. Drawings are placeholders for photographs from the International Affective Picture System (Lang et al., 2008) and the internet.
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Figure 1: Display of the trial Schema. Each trial starts with a fixation cross followed by an arrow indicating the location of the next target letter 5.9° of visual angle left or right from the center. After the arrow presentation the screen was empty for a variable delay. Drawings are placeholders for photographs from the International Affective Picture System (Lang et al., 2008) and the internet.

Mentions: Participants were instructed to indicate by button press whether they identified a white target letter as an “E” (right index finger) or an “F” (right middle finger). The target was briefly presented on a dark gray background. Participants were asked to respond as accurately and as quickly as possible. Four different types of distractors were possible: (1) a disgusting picture (e.g., of vomit, wounds, or spiders) at the location where the target letter would subsequently be presented, called the disgust condition; (2) a neutral picture presented at the target location, called the neutral ipsilateral condition; (3) a picture displaying a couple in an erotic situation displayed on the contralateral side of the screen relative to the target location, called the erotic condition; and (4) a neutral picture presented on the contralateral side of the screen, called the neutral contralateral condition (Figure 1). The letter size was 1.99° visual angle. The distractor pictures were 20.7° in width and 15.8° in height presented on a 36.5 cm by 27.5 cm screen with a resolution of 1024 pixels × 768 pixels.


Decomposing Self-Control: Individual Differences in Goal Pursuit Despite Interfering Aversion, Temptation, and Distraction.

Steimke R, Stelzel C, Gaschler R, Rothkirch M, Ludwig VU, Paschke LM, Trempler I, Kathmann N, Goschke T, Walter H - Front Psychol (2016)

Display of the trial Schema. Each trial starts with a fixation cross followed by an arrow indicating the location of the next target letter 5.9° of visual angle left or right from the center. After the arrow presentation the screen was empty for a variable delay. Drawings are placeholders for photographs from the International Affective Picture System (Lang et al., 2008) and the internet.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4834631&req=5

Figure 1: Display of the trial Schema. Each trial starts with a fixation cross followed by an arrow indicating the location of the next target letter 5.9° of visual angle left or right from the center. After the arrow presentation the screen was empty for a variable delay. Drawings are placeholders for photographs from the International Affective Picture System (Lang et al., 2008) and the internet.
Mentions: Participants were instructed to indicate by button press whether they identified a white target letter as an “E” (right index finger) or an “F” (right middle finger). The target was briefly presented on a dark gray background. Participants were asked to respond as accurately and as quickly as possible. Four different types of distractors were possible: (1) a disgusting picture (e.g., of vomit, wounds, or spiders) at the location where the target letter would subsequently be presented, called the disgust condition; (2) a neutral picture presented at the target location, called the neutral ipsilateral condition; (3) a picture displaying a couple in an erotic situation displayed on the contralateral side of the screen relative to the target location, called the erotic condition; and (4) a neutral picture presented on the contralateral side of the screen, called the neutral contralateral condition (Figure 1). The letter size was 1.99° visual angle. The distractor pictures were 20.7° in width and 15.8° in height presented on a 36.5 cm by 27.5 cm screen with a resolution of 1024 pixels × 768 pixels.

Bottom Line: We found that aversion, temptation, and neutral distraction were associated with significantly increased error rates, reaction times and gaze pattern deviations.Measures of aversion, temptation, and distraction showed moderate split-half reliability, but did not correlate with each other across participants.Our individual differences analyses suggest that (1) the ability to endure aversion, resist temptations and ignore neutral distractions are independent of each other and (2) these three domains are related to other measures of self-control.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlin, Germany; Department of Psychology, Technische Universität DresdenDresden, Germany; Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlin, Germany; Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlin, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Self-control can be defined as the ability to exert control over ones impulses. Currently, most research in the area relies on self-report. Focusing on attentional control processes involved in self-control, we modified a spatial selective attentional cueing task to test three domains of self-control experimentally in one task using aversive, tempting, and neutral picture-distractors. The aims of the study were (1) to investigate individual differences in the susceptibility to aversive, tempting, and neutral distraction within one paradigm and (2) to test the association of these three self-control domains to conventional measures of self-control including self-report. The final sample consisted of 116 participants. The task required participants to identify target letters "E" or "F" presented at a cued target location while the distractors were presented. Behavioral and eyetracking data were obtained during the performance of the task. High task performance was encouraged via monetary incentives. In addition to the attentional self-control task, self-reported self-control was assessed and participants performed a color Stroop task, an unsolvable anagram task and a delay of gratification task using chocolate sweets. We found that aversion, temptation, and neutral distraction were associated with significantly increased error rates, reaction times and gaze pattern deviations. Overall task performance on our task correlated with self-reported self-control ability. Measures of aversion, temptation, and distraction showed moderate split-half reliability, but did not correlate with each other across participants. Additionally, participants who made a self-controlled decision in the delay of gratification task were less distracted by temptations in our task than participants who made an impulsive choice. Our individual differences analyses suggest that (1) the ability to endure aversion, resist temptations and ignore neutral distractions are independent of each other and (2) these three domains are related to other measures of self-control.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus