Increasing Self-Regulatory Energy Using an Internet-Based Training Application Delivered by Smartphone Technology

Jo Cranwell , Steve Benford, Robert Houghton, Michael Golembewski, Joel Fischer, Martin S. Hagger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Self-control resources can be defined in terms of “energy.” Repeated attempts to override desires and impulses can result in a state of reduced self-control energy termed “ego depletion” leading to a reduced capacity to regulate future self-control behaviors effectively. Regular practice or “training” on self-control tasks may improve an individual's capacity to overcome ego depletion effectively. The current research tested the effectiveness of training using a novel Internet-based smartphone application to improve self-control and reduce ego depletion. In two experiments, participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental group, which received a daily program of self-control training using a modified Stroop-task Internet-based application delivered via smartphone to participants over a 4-week period, or a no-training control group. Participants assigned to the experimental group performed significantly better on post-training laboratory self-control tasks relative to participants in the control group. Findings support the hypothesized training effect on self-control and highlight the effectiveness of a novel Internet-based application delivered by smartphone as a practical means to administer and monitor a self-control training program. The smartphone training application has considerable advantages over other means to train self-control adopted in previous studies in that it has increased ecological validity and enables effective monitoring of compliance with the training program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2014


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