Longitudinal evidence that Event Related Potential measures of self-regulation do not predict everyday goal pursuit

Blair Saunders (Lead / Corresponding author), Marina Milyavskaya (Lead / Corresponding author), Michael Inzlicht

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Abstract

Self-regulation has been studied across levels of analysis; however, little attention has been paid to the extent to which self-report, neural, and behavioral indices predict goal pursuit in real-life. We use a mixed-method approach (N=201) to triangulate evidence among established measures of different aspects of self-regulation to predict both the process of goal pursuit using experience sampling, as well as longer-term goal progress at 1, 3, and 6-month follow-ups. While self-reported trait self-control predicts goal attainment months later, we observe a null relationship between longitudinal goal attainment and ERPs associated with performance-monitoring and reactivity to positive/rewarding stimuli. Despite evidence that these ERPs are reliable and trait-like, and despite theorizing that suggests otherwise, our findings suggest that these ERPs are not meaningfully associated with everyday goal attainment. These findings challenge the ecological validity of brain measures thought to assess aspects of self-regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3201
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Cognitive control
  • Human behaviour

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