Motivated misperception: Self-regulatory resources affect goal appraisals

Michelle R. vanDellen*, Catherine T. Shea, Erin K. Davisson, Christy Z. Koval, Gráinne M. Fitzsimons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Three studies examine how self-regulatory resources affect goal appraisals, finding support for the hypothesis that when low in self-regulatory resources, individuals endorse statements that rationalize either inaction or less effortful goal pursuit. Study 1 examines appraisals of self-set personal goals, finding that resource-depleted participants describe their goals as less urgent and less consequential. Study 2 examines reappraisals of weight loss goals, replicating the effects of Study 1. Finally, Study 3 examines this reappraisal process in the context of a broader societal goal of environmental conservation. This work contributes a new perspective to the large literature on resource depletion by demonstrating that depletion alters cognition in ways that may excuse the well-documented decrease in behavioral pursuit that arises from resource depletion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Goals
  • Resource depletion
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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