Self Control, Focus, Performance
In a recent study trying to figure out the relationship between self control and performance, researchers tested whether self-control is required for keeping attention away from anxiety-related worries that would ordinarily distract a person from performing on a test.
They found that anxiety had a negative impact on performance of verbal learning and mental arithmetic if participants’ self-control resources were depleted, but anxiety was unrelated if participants’ self-control was intact.
They found that the worry component of test anxiety was more strongly related to perceived distraction by worries while performing an arithmetic task for participants with depleted self-control resources than for non-depleted participants.
1. People with low self-control are more likely to be distracted by negative thoughts and therefore perform worse in tasks.
2. Distraction by worries is shown to be responsible for sub-optimal performance.
3. Self-control enhances mental focus and the ability to ignore anxious thoughts.
Summary: low self control –> distraction –> low performance
high self control –> mental focus –> good performance
What have we learned??? Self control is a good thing.
Role of Self-Control Strength in the Relation Between Anxiety and Cognitive Performance by Bertrams, Alex; Englert, Chris; Dickhäuser, Oliver; Baumeister, Roy F. Emotion, Mar 25, 2013.