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Neuropsychologia. 2014 Dec;65:313-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.08.012. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Self-regulation, ego depletion, and inhibition.

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Florida State University, University in Tallahassee, FL, USA; King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia; VU Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:


Inhibition is a major form of self-regulation. As such, it depends on self-awareness and comparing oneself to standards and is also susceptible to fluctuations in willpower resources. Ego depletion is the state of reduced willpower caused by prior exertion of self-control. Ego depletion undermines inhibition both because restraints are weaker and because urges are felt more intensely than usual. Conscious inhibition of desires is a pervasive feature of everyday life and may be a requirement of life in civilized, cultural society, and in that sense it goes to the evolved core of human nature. Intentional inhibition not only restrains antisocial impulses but can also facilitate optimal performance, such as during test taking. Self-regulation and ego depletion- may also affect less intentional forms of inhibition, even chronic tendencies to inhibit. Broadly stated, inhibition is necessary for human social life and nearly all societies encourage and enforce it.


Ego depletion; Inhibition; Intention; Self-regulation

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