Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.
The gist is that they find evidence against the (currently fashionable) hypothesis that willpower is an expendable resource. Here is the leader:
Veronika Job, Carol S. Dweck, and Gregory M. Walton
Much recent research suggests that willpower—the capacity to exert self-control—is a limited resource that is depleted after exertion. We propose that whether depletion takes place or not depends on a person’s belief about whether willpower is a limited resource. Study 1 found that individual differences in lay theories about willpower moderate ego-depletion effects: People who viewed the capacity for self-control as not limited did not show diminished self-control after a depleting experience. Study 2 replicated the effect, manipulating lay theories about willpower. Study 3 addressed questions about the mechanism underlying the effect. Study 4, a longitudinal field study, found that theories about willpower predict change in eating behavior, procrastination, and self-regulated goal striving in depleting circumstances. Taken together, the findings suggest that reduced self-control after a depleting task or during demanding periods may reflect people’s beliefs about the availability of willpower rather than true resource depletion.
(HT: Brashman, as posted on HackerNews.)