Only one small sin: How self-construal affects self-control.

Abstract

Past research has shown that self-construal can influence self-control by reducing interdependent people's impulsivity in the presence of peers. We broaden these findings by examining the hypothesis that an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal fosters self-control even in the absence of peers and for non-impulsive decisions. We further explore whether this effect could be mediated by the more interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of interdependent (vs. independent) people. Such an interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of temptations makes the impact of a single temptation more salient and can thereby increase self-control. Study 1 demonstrated that more interdependent participants show more self-control behaviour by refraining from chocolate consumption to secure a monetary benefit. Studies 2a and 2b highlighted a link between self-construal and trait self-control via the processing of temptations. Study 3 suggested that an interrelated (vs. isolated) perspective on temptations could mediate the effect of (primed) self-construal on self-control. Taken together, self-construal shapes self-control across various decision contexts.

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