Ego depletion in visual perception: Ego-depleted viewers experience less ambiguous figure reversal

  • Marina C. Wimmer
  • Steven Stirk
  • Peter J. B. Hancock
Brief Report

Abstract

This study examined the effects of ego depletion on ambiguous figure perception. Adults (N = 315) received an ego depletion task and were subsequently tested on their inhibitory control abilities that were indexed by the Stroop task (Experiment 1) and their ability to perceive both interpretations of ambiguous figures that was indexed by reversal (Experiment 2). Ego depletion had a very small effect on reducing inhibitory control (Cohen’s d = .15) (Experiment 1). Ego-depleted participants had a tendency to take longer to respond in Stroop trials. In Experiment 2, ego depletion had small to medium effects on the experience of reversal. Ego-depleted viewers tended to take longer to reverse ambiguous figures (duration to first reversal) when naïve of the ambiguity and experienced less reversal both when naïve and informed of the ambiguity. Together, findings suggest that ego depletion has small effects on inhibitory control and small to medium effects on bottom-up and top-down perceptual processes. The depletion of cognitive resources can reduce our visual perceptual experience.

Keywords

Ambiguous figures Reversal Bottom-up processes Top-down processes Ego depletion 

References

  1. Alós-Ferrer, C., Hügelschäfer, S., & Li, J. (2015). Self-control depletion and decision making. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 8, 203–216. doi:10.1037/npe0000047 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumeister, R. F. (2014). Self-regulation, ego depletion, and inhibition. Neuropsychologia, 65, 313–319. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.08.012 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice, D. M. (1998). Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1252–1265. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.5.1252 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bialystok, E., & Shapero, D. (2005). Ambiguous benefits: The effect of bilingualism on reversing ambiguous figures. Developmental Science, 8, 595–604. doi:10.1111/j.14677687.2005.00451.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Botvinick, M. M., Braver, T. S., Barch, D. M., Carter, C. S., & Cohen, J. D. (2001). Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychological Review, 108, 624–652. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.108.3.624 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Botwinick, J. (1961). Husband and father-in-law: A reversible figure. American Journal of Psychology, 74, 312–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bugelski, B. R., & Alampay, D. A. (1961). The role of frequency in developing perceptual sets. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 15, 205–211. doi:10.1037/h0083443 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlson, S. M., & Meltzoff, A. M. (2008). Bilingual experience and executive functioning in young children. Developmental Science, 11, 282–298. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00675.x CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Damian, M. F., & Freeman, N. H. (2008). Flexible and inflexible response components: A Stroop study with typewritten output. Acta Psychologica, 128, 91–101. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2007.10.002 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191. doi:10.3758/BF03193146 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Fernandez-Duque, D., & Knight, M. B. (2008). Cognitive control: Dynamic, sustained, and voluntary influences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34, 340–355. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.34.2.340 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Fisher, G. (1967). Measuring ambiguity. American Journal of Psychology, 80, 541–557. doi:10.2307/1421187 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Galliot, M. T., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., Plant, E. A., Tice, D. M., & Schmeichel, B. J. (2007). Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: Willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 325–336. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.2.325 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hagger, M. S., Wood, C., Stiff, C., & Chatzisarantis, N. L. D. (2010). Ego depletion and the strength model of self-control: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 495–525. doi:10.1037/a0019486 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hochberg, J., & Peterson, M. A. (1987). Piecemeal organization and cognitive components in object perception: Perceptually coupled responses to moving objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 116, 370–380. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.116.4.370 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Inzlicht, M., Schmeichel, B. J., & Mcrae, N. C. (2014). Why self-control seems (but may not be) limited. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18, 127–133. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2013.12.009 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jastrow, J. (1900). Fact and fable in psychology. Oxford: Houghton Mifflin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johns, M., Inzlicht, M., & Schmader, T. (2008). Stereotype threat and executive resource depletion: Examining the influence of emotion regulation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 691–705. doi:10.1037/a0013834 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Logan, G. D., & Zbrodoff, J. N. (1998). Stroop-type interference: Congruity effects in color naming with typewritten responses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 24, 978–992. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.24.3.978 Google Scholar
  20. Long, G. M., & Batterman, J. M. (2012). Dissecting perceptual processes with a new tri-stable reversible figure. Perception, 41, 1163–1185. doi:10.1068/p7313 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Long, G. M., & Toppino, T. C. (2004). Enduring interest in perceptual ambiguity: Alternating views of reversible figures. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 748–768. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.130.5.748 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Ludwig, C., Borella, E., Tettamanti, M., & de Ribaupierre, A. (2010). Adult age differences in the color Stroop test: A comparison between an item-by-item and blocked version. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 51, 135–142. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2009.09.040 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Mathes, B., Strüber, D., Stadler, M. A., & Basar-Eroglu, C. (2006). Voluntary control of Necker cube reversals modulates the EEG delta- and gamma-band response. Neuroscience Letters, 402, 145–149. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2006.03.063 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Mayr, U., Awh, E., & Laurey, P. (2003). Conflict adaptation effects in the absence of executive control. Nature Neuroscience, 6, 450–452. doi:10.1038/nn1051 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Melcher, D., & Wade, N. J. (2006). Cave art interpretation II. Perception, 35, 719–722. doi:10.1068/p3506ed CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Meng, M., & Tong, F. (2004). Can attention selectively bias bistable perception? Differences between binocular rivalry and ambiguous figures. Journal of Vision, 4, 539–551. doi:10.1167/4.7.2 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Muraven, M., & Slessareva, E. (2003). Mechanisms of self-control failure: Motivation and limited resources. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 894–906. doi:10.1177/0146167203029007008 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Peterson, M. A., & Gibson, B. S. (1991). Directing spatial attention within an object: Altering the functional equivalence of shape descriptions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 17, 170–182. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.17.1.170 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Salo, R., Henik, A., & Robertson, L. C. (2001). Interpreting Stroop interference: An analysis of differences between task versions. Neuropsychology, 15, 462–471. doi:10.1037/08944105.15.4.462 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Slotnik, S. D., & Yantis, S. (2005). Common neural substrates for the control and effects of visual attention and perceptual bistability. Cognitive Brain Research, 24, 97–108. doi:10.1016/j.cogbrainres.2004.12.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662. doi:10.1037/h0054651 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Strüber, D., & Stadler, M. (1999). Differences in top-down influences on the reversal rate of different categories of reversible figures. Perception, 28, 1185–1196. doi:10.1068/p2973 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Suzuki, S., & Peterson, M. A. (2000). Multiplicative effects of intention on the perception of bistable apparent motion. Psychological Science, 11, 202–209. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00242 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Van Ee, R., van Dam, L. C. J., & Brouwer, G. J. (2005). Voluntary control and the dynamics of perceptual bi-stability. Vision Research, 45, 41–55. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2004.07.030 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Ward, E. J., & Scholl, B. J. (2015). Inattentional blindness reflects limitations on perception, not memory: Evidence from repeated failures of awareness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 722–727. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0745-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wimmer, M. C., & Doherty, M. J. (2011). The development of ambiguous figure perception. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 76(1), 1–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wimmer, M. C., & Marx, C. (2014). Inhibitory processes in visual perception: A bilingual advantage. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 412–419.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina C. Wimmer
    • 1
  • Steven Stirk
    • 1
  • Peter J. B. Hancock
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Psychology, Cognition InstituteUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Psychology, Faculty of Natural SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK

Personalised recommendations