The Sticky Anchor Hypothesis: Ego Depletion Increases Susceptibility to Situational Cues


Journal Article

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Self-control depletion has been linked both to increased selfish behavior and increased susceptibility to situational cues. The present research tested two competing hypotheses about the consequence of depletion by measuring how people allocate rewards between themselves and another person. Seven experiments analyzed behavior in standard dictator games and reverse dictator games, settings in which participants could take money from another person. Across all of these experiments, depleted participants made smaller changes to the initial allocation, thereby sticking closer to the default position (anchor) than non-depleted participants. These findings provide support for a “sticky anchor hypothesis,” which states that the effects of depletion on behavior are influenced by the proximal situational cues rather than by directly stimulating selfishness per se. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Banker, S; Ainsworth, SE; Baumeister, RF; Ariely, D; Vohs, KD

Published Date

  • December 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1027 - 1040

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1099-0771

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-3257

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/bdm.2022

Citation Source

  • Scopus