Being of Two Minds: Switching Mindsets Exhausts Self-Regulatory Resources

12 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2008 Last revised: 18 Dec 2010

Ryan Hamilton

Emory University

Kathleen Vohs

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Anne-Laure Sellier

Tom Meyvis

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

The human psyche is equipped with the capacity to solve problems using different mental states or mindsets.Different mindsets can lead to different judgment and decision making styles, each associated with its own perspective and biases. To change perspective, people can, and often do, switch mindsets. We argue, however, that mindset switching can be costly for subsequent decisions. We propose that mindset switching is an executive function that relies on the same psychological resource that governs other acts of executive functioning, including self-regulation. This implies that there are psychic costs to switching mindsets that are borne out in depleted executive resources. One implication of this framework is that switching mindsets should render people more likely to fail at subsequent self-regulation than they would if maintaining a consistent mindset. The findings from experiments that manipulated mindset switching in five domains support this model.

Keywords: self-control, self-regulation, mindsets, bilingualism

JEL Classification: C92

Suggested Citation

Hamilton, Ryan and Vohs, Kathleen and Sellier, Anne-Laure and Meyvis, Tom, Being of Two Minds: Switching Mindsets Exhausts Self-Regulatory Resources (2010). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1147689

Ryan Hamilton (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Kathleen Vohs

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Suite 3-150
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Tom Meyvis

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States

No contact information is available for Anne-Laure Sellier

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