Demand to Act and Use of Mental Contrasting

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Mentally contrasting a desired future with present reality fosters selective goal pursuit: People pursue feasible desired futures and let go from unfeasible ones. We investigated whether people spontaneously use mental contrasting when the demand to act toward their desired future is high. Study 1 provided correlational evidence: The participants who planned to act most immediately were also those who used mental contrasting. Studies 2 and 3 added experimental evidence: Imagining an immediate (vs. no immediate) action and being confronted with the opportunity to perform an instrumental (vs. noninstrumental) action, respectively, led participants to mentally contrast. The findings have theoretical implications by suggesting that people initiate mental contrasting as a problem-solving strategy; they have applied implications for interventions teaching mental contrasting.

ZeitschriftSocial Psychology
Seiten (von - bis)344-359
Anzahl der Seiten16
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.11.2018
Extern publiziertJa

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported by German Science Foundation Grant OE 237/12-1 awarded to Gabriele Oettingen. We thank the Motivation Lab at NYU for helpful comments on earlier versions. The help of Laura Clausen, Nina Janßen, Tina Pudack, and Niklas Rassi with collecting and coding the data is gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Hogrefe Publishing.