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Believe you can and you will: The belief in high self-control decreases interest in attractive alternatives

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.08.009
  • Self-Control
  • Romantic Relationships
  • Infidelity


Abstract In the present research, we examined the effects of self-control beliefs on relationship protective behavior. We hypothesized that providing participants with feedback on their level of self-control would help them shield their relationship from attractive alternatives. Study 1 showed that romantically involved participants who received positive feedback on their level of self-control showed less interest in attractive alternatives as compared to participants who did not receive self-control feedback. Study 2 replicated these results and, additionally, showed that negative feedback increased interest in alternative others for romantically involved, but not for single participants. Together, these studies showed that in the context of close relationships, providing people with self-control feedback increases their ability to exercise self-control.

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