Effect of Ego Depletion and Expectancy Beliefs on Working Memory, Problem Solving, Task Persistence, and Performance


  • Adnan Adil University of Sargodha
  • Asmara Kanwal University of Sargodha
  • Saba Ghayas University of Sargodha
  • Anam Khan University of Sargodha


The present study was undertaken to examine the influence of ego depletion and expectancy beliefs (EB) about the limited will power of self-control on task performance and task persistence through a 2 (ego depleted vs. non-ego depleted group) x 3 (group with positive EB, group with negative EB, and the group without any EB) between subject experimental design. The participants (N = 210) were undergraduates of University of Sargodha who were randomly distributed to each of the six treatment conditions. Ego Depletion Task (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, and Tice, 1998) and Feedback Task (Fried and Aronson, 1995) were adapted for the manipulation of the independent variables. Working memory (WM) was assessed through Digit Symbol Coding subscale of WAIS (Wechsler, 1997) and scores and time taken on an anagram task (Clarkson, Hirt, Jia, and Alexander, 2010) operationalized performance on problem-solving and task persistence, respectively. Multivariate analysis of variance indicated that the participants in the non-depleted group had significantly higher mean scores on problem-solving and WM tasks than those of their counterparts in the ego-depleted group. The group with the positive EB had the highest mean scores on WM and problem-solving tasks as compared to the other groups. The interaction effect of beliefs about limited will power of selfcontrol and ego depletion remained nonsignificant. Limitations and recommendations for future research were reflected upon.