Current Directions in Psychological Science vol:25 issue:5 pages:351-356
Following an initial act of self-control, human performance on subsequent tasks that also require self-control exertion is impaired. This phenomenon, termed ego depletion, is constrained by beliefs and perceptions in humans. Interestingly,this effect has also been observed in dogs, which arguably do not share similar belief systems. This observation suggests that a common biological mechanism might underlie the phenomenon for both species. It also suggests that we can learn something about human self-control by conducting research with dogs. In this article, we relate findings on the depletion effect in dogs to the different mechanisms that are proposed to explain the effect in humans. Finally, we elaborate on practical implications for working dogs.