Ego depletion in the relationship between behavior inhibition and loss aversion

Wenbin Gao1, Yue Zhou1, Ting Tao1, Yan Yu1, Ligang Wang1
1CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Gao, W., Zhou, Y., Tao, T., Yu, Y., & Wang, L. (2019). Ego depletion in the relationship between behavior inhibition and loss aversion. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7713.

Volume 47 Issue 4 | e7713 | Published: April 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7713

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We examined the associations between ego depletion, personality, and decision-making behavior, and investigated whether ego depletion enhances the relationship between the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and loss aversion. Participants (N = 70) were randomly assigned to depletion or control conditions, completed a financial decision-making task to test the framing effect, and responded to a measure of BIS. The results showed a framing effect in the decision-making task that was not weakened by ego depletion. However, participants in the depleted (vs. control) group, regardless of framing, showed more loss aversion in the decision-making task. Further, ego depletion enhanced the positive association between the BIS and framing effects, which means that ego depletion moderated the effect of the BIS on loss aversion. Thus, ego depletion did not directly contribute to more conservative or impulsive decision making, but it did lead individuals to act more in line with their habits or characteristics. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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