Self-control is assessed using a remarkable array of measures. In a series of five data-sets (overall N = 2,641) and a mini meta-analysis, we explored the association between canonical operationalisations of self-control: The Self-Control Scale and two measures of inhibition related executive functioning (the Stroop and Flanker paradigms). Overall, Bayesian correlational analyses suggested little-to-no relationship between self-reported self-control and performance on the Stroop and Flanker tasks. The Bayesian meta-analytical summary of all five data-sets further favoured a null relationship between both types of measurement. These results suggest that the field’s most widely used measure of self-reported self-control is uncorrelated with two of the most widely adopted executive functioning measures of self-control. Consequently, theoretical and practical conclusions drawn using one measure (e.g., the Self-Control Scale) cannot be generalised to findings using the other (e.g., the Stroop task). The lack of empirical correlation between measures of self-control do not invalidate either measure, but instead suggest that treatments of the construct of self-control need to pay greater attention to convergent validity among the many measures used to operationalize self-control.
- cognitive control
- inhibitory executive functioning
- Bayesian statistics
Saunders, B., Milyavskaya, M., Etz, A., Randles, D., & Inzlicht, M. (2018). Reported self-control is not meaningfully associated with inhibition-related executive function: A Bayesian analysis. Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), . https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.134