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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38680. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038680. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Theories of willpower affect sustained learning.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America. ermiller@stanford.edu

Abstract

Building cognitive abilities often requires sustained engagement with effortful tasks. We demonstrate that beliefs about willpower-whether willpower is viewed as a limited or non-limited resource-impact sustained learning on a strenuous mental task. As predicted, beliefs about willpower did not affect accuracy or improvement during the initial phases of learning; however, participants who were led to view willpower as non-limited showed greater sustained learning over the full duration of the task. These findings highlight the interactive nature of motivational and cognitive processes: motivational factors can substantially affect people's ability to recruit their cognitive resources to sustain learning over time.

PMID:
22745675
PMCID:
PMC3382137
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0038680
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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