Speaker: Prof Edward R. Hirt

Title: Restoration effects following depletion: The curious case of spontaneous resource replenishment

Date: Thursday 17 September, 12-1 pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Past research on depletion has illustrated how prior exertion of self-control leads individuals to perform more poorly at subsequent self-control tasks.  However, a number of recent studies have illustrated cases in which certain manipulations, such as positive mood, power, self-affirmation, meditation, and exposure to nature, can ameliorate the effects of prior depletion and restore individuals’ performance back to a level commensurate with non-depleted controls.  Most of these demonstrations posit their own separate mechanisms for these restoration effects.  In the present work, we present a model that attempts to account for the success of these diverse instances of restoration.  The model emphasizes the role of expectancies derived from lay beliefs regarding the mental energy changes associated with various conditions, which affect perceptions of mental fatigue and its consequences for cognitive and behavioral performance.  I will present evidence from two lines of work investigating specific examples of restoration (positive mood, power) that provide support for our model, and then discuss our current and future work aimed at integrating these effects within a broader framework of self-regulation.    

About the Speaker:

Edward R. Hirt is a professor of social psychology from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University.  He received his undergraduate BS degree in Psychology from the University of Dayton, and from there went onto the graduate school at Arizona State University, where he worked with Robert Cialdini.  At ASU, he met Jim Sherman, who was on sabbatical from Indiana University, and he began a collaboration that would ultimately lead him to transfer to IU to finish his PhD.   He took his first job at Penn State University, but soon thereafter moved to the University of Wisconsin, where he was colleagues with two other young social psychologists, Trish Devine and Constantine Sedikides.   In 1991, he was recruited back to Indiana University, where he has been for the past 15 years. 

 Dr. Hirt has served as an Associate Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. He has also served as an expert witness in multiple court cases.  Though a self-professed eclectic (no surprise, given his graduate school mentor Jim Sherman), Dr. Hirt’s research interests include the self (most notably, self-protective processes such as self-handicapping), social identity, mood effects, judgment/decision making, and the self-regulation of motivation and performance.   During his current sabbatical, Dr. Hirt is busy editing a book on Self-Regulation and Ego Control.  It is his work on self-regulation that will serve as the topic for his presentation.


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