Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task

C. Englert, A. Bertrams, P. Furley, R.R.D. Oudejans

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Objectives: It has been repeatedly demonstrated that athletes in a state of ego depletion do not perform up to their capabilities in high pressure situations. We assume that momentarily available self-control strength determines whether individuals in high pressure situations can resist distracting stimuli. Design/method: In the present study, we applied a between-subjects design, as 31 experienced basketball players were randomly assigned to a depletion group or a non-depletion group. Participants performed 30 free throws while listening to statements representing worrisome thoughts (as frequently experienced in high pressure situations) over stereo headphones. Participants were instructed to block out these distracting audio messages and focus on the free throws. We postulated that depleted participants would be more likely to be distracted. They were also assumed to perform worse in the free throw task. Results: The results supported our assumption as depleted participants paid more attention to the distracting stimuli. In addition, they displayed worse performance in the free throw task. Conclusions: These results indicate that sufficient levels of self-control strength can serve as a buffer against distracting stimuli under pressure.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages26-31
    JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
    Volume18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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    Basketball
    Ego
    Pressure
    Athletes
    Buffers
    Self-Control

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    title = "Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task",
    abstract = "Objectives: It has been repeatedly demonstrated that athletes in a state of ego depletion do not perform up to their capabilities in high pressure situations. We assume that momentarily available self-control strength determines whether individuals in high pressure situations can resist distracting stimuli. Design/method: In the present study, we applied a between-subjects design, as 31 experienced basketball players were randomly assigned to a depletion group or a non-depletion group. Participants performed 30 free throws while listening to statements representing worrisome thoughts (as frequently experienced in high pressure situations) over stereo headphones. Participants were instructed to block out these distracting audio messages and focus on the free throws. We postulated that depleted participants would be more likely to be distracted. They were also assumed to perform worse in the free throw task. Results: The results supported our assumption as depleted participants paid more attention to the distracting stimuli. In addition, they displayed worse performance in the free throw task. Conclusions: These results indicate that sufficient levels of self-control strength can serve as a buffer against distracting stimuli under pressure.",
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    Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task. / Englert, C.; Bertrams, A.; Furley, P.; Oudejans, R.R.D.

    In: Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol. 18, 2015, p. 26-31.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    AU - Englert, C.

    AU - Bertrams, A.

    AU - Furley, P.

    AU - Oudejans, R.R.D.

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    AB - Objectives: It has been repeatedly demonstrated that athletes in a state of ego depletion do not perform up to their capabilities in high pressure situations. We assume that momentarily available self-control strength determines whether individuals in high pressure situations can resist distracting stimuli. Design/method: In the present study, we applied a between-subjects design, as 31 experienced basketball players were randomly assigned to a depletion group or a non-depletion group. Participants performed 30 free throws while listening to statements representing worrisome thoughts (as frequently experienced in high pressure situations) over stereo headphones. Participants were instructed to block out these distracting audio messages and focus on the free throws. We postulated that depleted participants would be more likely to be distracted. They were also assumed to perform worse in the free throw task. Results: The results supported our assumption as depleted participants paid more attention to the distracting stimuli. In addition, they displayed worse performance in the free throw task. Conclusions: These results indicate that sufficient levels of self-control strength can serve as a buffer against distracting stimuli under pressure.

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