The effect of motivation and positive affect on ego depletion: Replenishment versus release mechanism

Ze Zhu, Jian Li, Bo Zhang, Ye Li, Houcan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, 2 experiments were conducted to investigate whether motivation and positive affect can alleviate ego depletion and to elucidate their possible mechanisms. In Experiment 1, a crossing-out-letter task was adapted to reach an ego depletion state for Chinese participants. Participants were then randomly assigned to the extrinsic motivation group, the positive affect group or the depletion control group. After the experimental treatment, a dumbbell task was used to measure participants' remaining self-regulatory resources. The results showed that participants in the motivation and positive affect groups performed better on the dumbbell task than participants in the depletion control group. Experiment 2 was similar to Experiment 1 except that participants were asked to perform an additional unexpected dumbbell task after a neutral video following the above procedure. The results of Experiment 1 were replicated; however, participants' performance on the additional dumbbell task differed. The positive affect group performed better than the depletion control group, indicating an increase in self-regulatory resources and thus supporting the replenishment effect of positive affect. No significant difference was found between the motivation group and the depletion control group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ego depletion
  • Mechanism
  • Motivation
  • Positive affect
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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