How Cognitive Resources Alter our Perception of the Past: Ego Depletion Enhances the Susceptibility to Suggestion


Henry Otgaar, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands.



Studies show that engaging in self-control results in deteriorated performance on subsequent tasks. In legal settings, witnesses and/or suspects are probably involved in self-control (e.g. controlling their emotions). The current study tested whether such involvement in self-control would lead to increased suggestibility levels. We found direct evidence for this. Forty-four participants were randomly divided into a high level of depletion condition (regulation of attention) or a low level of depletion condition (no regulation of attention). Also, they were presented with a suggestibility measure (Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale). We showed that depleted participants were significantly more suggestible than non-depleted participants. Our findings are relevant in situations in which suggestive practices may take place. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.