Pick me up: Ego depletion and receptivity to relationship initiation
Gary W. Lewandowski Jr, Natalie J. Ciarocco, Michelle Pettenato, and Jessica Stephan
The success of a relationship initiation strategy, such as a pick-up line or opening gambit, may depend on the target’s state receptivity. Self-control is a limited resource that, when depleted, can potentially influence interpersonal interactions. The present research examines whether ego depletion can influence receptivity to various types of opening gambits. To accomplish this, 99 currently single participants either wrote a story with several restrictions (ego-depletion group) or wrote with- out restrictions (non-depletion group), and then read direct, innocuous, or cute opening gambits. Following each type of gambit, participants rated their receptivity by indicating how likely they would be to continue to talk to the initiator, view the initiator positively, and give the initiator their phone number. As predicted, analyses revealed that those who participated in the ego-depletion task were significantly less receptive to cute opening gambits and there was a trend of being more receptive to innocuous opening gambits, relative to the non-depletion group. Ego depletion did not influence direct gambits.
(h/t Christian Jarrett)