Thursday, June 29, 2006

Goals and Habits

Peter Gollwitzer about implementation intentions and similar habit relevant thoughts:
People can delegate the initiation of goal-directed behavior to environmental stimuli by forming so-called implementation intentions (If situation x is encountered, I will perform behavior y!). We observed that forming implementation intentions facilitates detecting, attending to, and recalling the critical situation. Moreover, in the presence of the critical situation the initiation of the specified goal-directed behavior is immediate, efficient, and does not need a conscious intent.

We are currently investigating whether forming implementation intentions can be used as an effective self-regulatory tool when it comes to resisting temptations, avoiding to stereotype members of an out-group, blocking unwanted goal pursuits triggered outside the person’s awareness or unwanted implicit perception-behavior effects. Moreover, it is analyzed how efficiently action control via implementation intentions saves a person’s self-regulatory resources. We also ask whether implementation intentions protect a person’s thoughts and actions from unwanted influences of self-states (such as a good or bad mood, self-definitional incompleteness, feelings of anger or sadness) once the critical situation is encountered.

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