ABSTRACTEmotional events tend to be remembered better than neutral events, but emotional states and stimuli may also interfere with cognitive processes that underlie memory performance. The current study investigated the effects of emotional content on working memory capacity, which involves both short term storage and executive attention control. We tested competing hypotheses in a preregistered experiment. The emotional enhancement hypothesis predicts that emotional stimuli attract attention and additional processing resources relative to neutral stimuli, thereby making it easier to encode and (...) store emotional information in WMC. The emotional impairment hypothesis, by contrast, predicts that emotional stimuli interfere with attention control and the active maintenance of information in working memory. Participants completed a common measure of WMC (the operation span task; Turner, M. L., & Engle, R. W. . Is working memory capacity task dependent? Journal of Memory and Language, 28,... (shrink)
The opportunity cost model offers an ultimate explanation of ego depletion that helps to move the field beyond biologically improbable resource accounts. The model's more proximate explanation, however, falls short of accounting for much data and is based on an outdated view of human rationality. We suggest that our own process model offers a better proximate account of self-control fatigue.