Ego depletion by response exaggeration Academic Article uri icon


  • Suppressing or inhibiting responses has a host of negative effects, including a temporary reduction in self-regulatory strength (ego depletion). Less attention has been given to response exaggeration, which should also deplete regulatory strength and therefore disrupt subsequent self-control. We tested the depletion hypothesis by having participants perform tests of cognitive fluency after exaggerating responses (or not) to a disgusting film clip. Response exaggeration produced increased emotional expression but did not increase subjective emotional experience. Moreover, exaggerating disgust reactions impaired subsequent performance on tests of cognitive fluency. The cognitive aftereffects of exaggeration were not attributable to emotional experience or to changes in sympathetic or parasympathetic arousal (as indicated by skin conductance and heart rate variability high frequency power, respectively). Poorer cognitive fluency after response exaggeration indicates a detrimental effect of purposeful self-regulation. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Schmeichel, B. J., Demaree, H. A., Robinson, J. L., & Pu, J.

citation count

  • 52

publication date

  • January 2006