Self-affirmation improves performance on tasks related to executive functioning

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Abstract

Objectives The current study explored the effect of self-affirmation on two aspects of performance that have been related to executive functioning: working memory (assessed by a 2-back task) and inhibition (assessed by a Stroop task). The goal was to establish whether self-affirmation improved performance on these tasks. Method Participants (N = 83) were randomized to either a self-affirmation or a control task and then completed the computerized tasks, in a fixed sequence. Results Self-affirmed participants performed better than non-affirmed participants on both tasks. Conclusion Self-affirmation can improve aspects of performance related to executive functioning. This finding may help to explain the wide range of beneficial effects that self-affirmation can have on cognition and behavior.

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Harris, P. S., Harris, P. R., & Miles, E. (2017). Self-affirmation improves performance on tasks related to executive functioning. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 70, 281–285. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2016.11.011

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