Being of Two Minds: Switching Mindsets Exhausts Self-Regulatory Resources

The human psyche is equipped with the capacity to solve problems using different mental states or mindsets. Different mindsets can lead to different judgment and decision making styles, each associated with its own perspective and biases. To change perspective, people can, and often do, switch mindsets. We argue, however, that mindset switching can be costly for subsequent decisions. We propose that mindset switching is an executive function that relies on the same psychological resource that governs other acts of executive functioning, including self-regulation. This implies that there are psychic costs to switching mindsets that are borne out in depleted executive resources. One implication of this framework is that switching mindsets should render people more likely to fail at subsequent self-regulation than they would if maintaining a consistent mindset. The findings from experiments that manipulated mindset switching in five domains support this model.

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APA-Format Citation

Hamilton, R., Vohs, K. D., Sellier, A. L., & Meyvis, T. (2011). Being of two minds: Switching mindsets exhausts self-regulatory resources. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes115(1), 13-24.