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Published Online: 4 March 2014

Increasing Self-Regulatory Energy Using an Internet-Based Training Application Delivered by Smartphone Technology

Publication: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 17, Issue Number 3

Abstract

Self-control resources can be defined in terms of “energy.” Repeated attempts to override desires and impulses can result in a state of reduced self-control energy termed “ego depletion” leading to a reduced capacity to regulate future self-control behaviors effectively. Regular practice or “training” on self-control tasks may improve an individual's capacity to overcome ego depletion effectively. The current research tested the effectiveness of training using a novel Internet-based smartphone application to improve self-control and reduce ego depletion. In two experiments, participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental group, which received a daily program of self-control training using a modified Stroop-task Internet-based application delivered via smartphone to participants over a 4-week period, or a no-training control group. Participants assigned to the experimental group performed significantly better on post-training laboratory self-control tasks relative to participants in the control group. Findings support the hypothesized training effect on self-control and highlight the effectiveness of a novel Internet-based application delivered by smartphone as a practical means to administer and monitor a self-control training program. The smartphone training application has considerable advantages over other means to train self-control adopted in previous studies in that it has increased ecological validity and enables effective monitoring of compliance with the training program.

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Published In

cover image Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 17Issue Number 3March 2014
Pages: 181 - 186
PubMed: 24015984

History

Published online: 4 March 2014
Published in print: March 2014
Published ahead of print: 9 September 2013

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Affiliations

Jo Cranwell
Human Factors Research Group/Mixed Reality Laboratory, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Steve Benford
Human Factors Research Group/Mixed Reality Laboratory, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Robert J. Houghton
Human Factors Research Group/Mixed Reality Laboratory, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Michael Golembewski
Human Factors Research Group/Mixed Reality Laboratory, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Joel E. Fischer
Human Factors Research Group/Mixed Reality Laboratory, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Martin S. Hagger
School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Group, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Jo CranwellMixed Reality Laboratory (MRL)School of Computer ScienceThe University of NottinghamJubilee CampusWollaton RoadNottinghamNG8 1BBE-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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