Choice and ego-depletion: The moderating role of autonomy

Arlen C. Moller, Edward L. Deci, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Scopus citations


The self-regulatory strength model maintains that all acts of self-regulation, self-control, and choice result in a state of fatigue called ego-depletion. Self-determination theory differentiates between autonomous regulation and controlled regulation. Because making decisions represents one instance of self-regulation, the authors also differentiate between autonomous choice and controlled choice. Three experiments support the hypothesis that whereas conditions representing controlled choice would be egodepleting, conditions that represented autonomous choice would not. In Experiment 3, the authors found significant mediation by perceived self-determination of the relation between the choice condition (autonomous vs. controlled) and ego-depletion as measured by performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1036
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Autonomy
  • Choice
  • Ego-depletion
  • Self-control
  • Self-determination
  • Self-regulation


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