3 years ago

Self-Uncertainty and the Influence of Alternative Goals on Self-Regulation.

DeMarree KG, Rios K, Light AE
The current research examines factors that facilitate or undermine goal pursuit. Past research indicates that attempts to reduce self-uncertainty can result in increased goal motivation. We explore a critical boundary condition of this effect-the presence of alternative goals. Though self-regulatory processes usually keep interest in alternative goals in check, uncertainty reduction may undermine these self-regulatory efforts by (a) reducing conflict monitoring and (b) increasing valuation of alternative goals. As such, reminders of alternative goals will draw effort away from focal goals for self-uncertain (but not self-certain) participants. Across four studies and eight supplemental studies, using different focal goals (e.g., academic achievement, healthy eating) and alternative goals (e.g., social/emotional goals, attractiveness, indulgence), we found that alternative goal salience does not negatively influence goal-directed behavior among participants primed with self-certainty, but that reminders of alternative goals undermine goal pursuit among participants primed with self-uncertainty.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28934896

DOI: PubMed:28934896

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