In this project we aim to test the respective contributions of applying self-control and the experience of boredom to goal directed behaviour. 

This project aims at investigating a key gap in the self-control literature from a new perspective, providing a potential explanation for mixed findings in ego-depletion research. The basic research outlined in this project combines two so far separate lines of research: self-control and boredom. In two subprojects, we plan to use different psychological, neuronal, and physiological measures to unravel the temporal dynamics of self-control and boredom and their impact on cognitive performance and on physical performance. The focus on the temporal dynamics of each variable is of relevance because the perception that accompanies the exertion of self-control (e.g., feelings of exertion) and the sensation of boredom are not static, and researchers have stressed the relevance of capturing these fluctuations. We hypothesize that not only self-control but also boredom is a guiding signal for goal-directed behaviour. We plan to use different measures, such as explicit responses, performance, response times, brain activity, and pupil size. With the use of multiple measures, we aim to disentangle attention and effort to understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of depletion conditions. 

Project duration

01.04.2022 - 31.05.2025


Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
MA Alexandra Lapteva
MA Alexandra Lapteva UniDistance Suisse
MSc Vanessa Radtke
MSc Vanessa Radtke UniDistance Suisse & University of Konstanz
Bsc Sarah Schnyder
Bsc Sarah Schnyder UniDistance Suisse
Dr Wanja Wolff
Dr Wanja Wolff University of Konstanz

Main institution

Research project funded by Swiss National Science Foundation (Lead Agency) “Boredom and self-control as guiding signals for goal-directed behavior: A novel approach to the ego depletion effect” Martarelli, C. S. & Wolff, W. 01.04.2022-31.03.2025 (228’398 CHF).