Article

Is the letter cancellation task a suitable index of ego depletion? Empirical and conceptual issues

Alternative title Ego-depletion and letter cancellation

Citation

Wimmer M, Dome L, Hancock P & Wennekers T (2019) Is the letter cancellation task a suitable index of ego depletion? Empirical and conceptual issues [Ego-depletion and letter cancellation]. Social Psychology, 50 (5-6), Art. No.: 345-354. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000393

Abstract
The aim was to quantify ego-depletion and measure its effect on inhibitory control. Adults (N = 523) received the letter “e” cancellation ego-depletion task and were subsequently tested on Stroop task performance. Difficulty of the cancellation task was systematically manipulated by modifying the text from semantically meaningful to non-meaningful sentences and words (Experiment 1) and by increasing ego-depletion rule complexity (Experiment 2). Participants’ performance was affected by both text and rule manipulations. There was no relation between ego-depletion task performance and subsequent Stroop performance. Thus, irrespective of the difficulty of the ego depletion task, Stroop performance was unaffected. The widely used cancellation task may not be a suitable inducer of ego-depletion if ego-depletion is considered as a lack of inhibitory control.

Keywords
ego-depletion; inhibitory control; letter cancellation; replication; conceptual questions

Journal
Social Psychology: Volume 50, Issue 5-6

StatusPublished
Publication date30/09/2019
Publication date online05/11/2019
Date accepted by journal08/05/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/29497
ISSN1864-9335
eISSN2151-2590