On Finding the Source of Human Energy: The Influence of Famous Quotations on Willpower

Jesús Alcoba, Laura López


Positive psychology focuses on aspects that human beings can improve, thereby enhancing their growth and happiness. One of these aspects is willpower, a quality that has been demonstrated to have various benefits on people, as widely shown in the literature. As a result, a growing body of research is attempting to establish the conditions under which an individual’s willpower can be increased. This work attempts to confirm whether the famous quotations that people often use to inspire or motivate themselves can have a real effect on willpower. Two experiments were conducted assigning randomly subjects to a group and priming them with famous quotations, and afterwards comparing their performance in a willpower task with a control group. The second experiment added a willpower depletion task before priming. As a result, primed subjects endured the willpower task significantly more time than control group, demonstrating that famous quotations related to willpower help to increase this capacity and to counteract the effect of willpower depletion.


positive psychology; self-control; willpower; famous quotations

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