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Going beyond the 'self' in self-control: Interpersonal consequences of commitment strategy use
Commitment strategies are effective mechanisms individuals can use to overcome self-control problems. In this paper we explore negative interpersonal consequences of commitment strategy use. In an incentivized trust game (Study 1), we demonstrate that individuals are less likely to trust people who use a commitment device than those who use willpower to achieve their goals. In Study 2, across four domains we demonstrate that people judge commitment strategy users less favorably than willpower users in pursuit of the same goals, particularly when it comes to integrity-based trust. In Study 3 we rule out the alternative explanation that these findings are driven by differences in anticipated future success. Finally, in Study 4 we provide evidence that perceived effort underlies this effect. Thus, we demonstrate the role of willpower as a positive signal in impression formation, as well as the negative interpersonal consequences of relying on external aides when faced with temptation.