Well self-regulated people use mental contrasting

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Mentally contrasting a desired future with reality is a self-regulation strategy helping people manage their life by promoting selective goal pursuit: people pursue feasible futures and disengage from unfeasible ones. We investigated whether participants who effectively regulate their academic and everyday life spontaneously use mental contrasting. Indeed, students who were good self-regulators in the academic domain, as indicated by their high self-reported academic self-regulation skills, high need for achievement, and above-average grades mentally contrasted when writing about an important achievement-related wish (Study 1). So did participants who were good self-regulators in everyday life as indicated by their high self-reported generalized self-regulation skills and high need for cognition (Study 2). Results indicate that successful self-regulation is linked to spontaneous mental contrasting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift fur Sozialpsychologie
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)348-364
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Hogrefe Publishing.

    Research areas

  • Academic performance, Five-factor personality traits, Mental contrasting, Need for achievement, Need for cognition, Self-regulation
  • Psychology