A Brock University professor’s research that found a link between energy depletion levels and self control has received an honourable mention for Best Paper Award from the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences.
The research paper recognized was authored by Goodman School of Business Professor Antonia Mantonakis and colleagues Darlene Walsh from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, and Steve Joordens from University of Toronto.
“This paper actually stemmed from one of my very first research projects as an undergraduate student working with Professor Joordens at University of Toronto, so for the paper to come together and be recognized in this way all these years later is such an honour – it’s the highlight of my year,” Mantonakis said.
Focusing on depletion levels and self-control, previous research suggests when people are tired or have decreased energy levels, they also have less self-control. In other words, when people are tired from a busy day at work, they are more easily enticed by junk food than they would be if they were feeling refreshed and energetic.
Building on this research, Mantonakis and colleagues investigated how people can increase their own levels of self-control. This research is important because counteracting the effects of energy depletion can encourage people to eat and exercise better, even if they are feeling lethargic.
Mantonakis and her co-authors found that one way to overcome depletion effects is to simply start an activity. For example, the act of starting a familiar exercise routine can motivate someone to finish it without being impeded by their previous energy levels.
“We found that if you just start an activity, you will finish it because it’s only in the initial task that the depletion effects occur. You can easily overcome these effects by just doing the initial task, which will motivate you.”