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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain$
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Ran Hassin, Kevin Ochsner, and Yaacov Trope

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.001.0001

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Walking the Line between Goals and Temptations: Asymmetric Effects of Counteractive Control

Walking the Line between Goals and Temptations: Asymmetric Effects of Counteractive Control

Chapter:
(p.389) CHAPTER 21 Walking the Line between Goals and Temptations: Asymmetric Effects of Counteractive Control
Source:
Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain
Author(s):

Ayelet Fishbach

Benjamin A. Converse

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.003.0021

Research on counteractive control explores the processes that individuals employ to increase the motivational strength of their high-order goals and decrease the motivational strength of their low-order temptations. In this chapter, we first describe the basic assumption of counteractive control theory: that self-control is an instrumental response to motivational conflicts. People only exercise self-control when a significant conflict is expected between high- and low-order motives. We then describe how self-control operations bolster the motivational strength of goal pursuit via one path and asymmetrically undermine the motivational strength of temptation pursuit via a second path. Next, we discuss the specific self-control strategies, including those that modify the choice situation, shift attainment expectations, and change the psychological representation of choice alternatives. We further distinguish between explicit self-control operations that rely on conscious processing, and implicit operations that do not require explicit consideration. We end with a broader discussion of the conditions under which goals and temptations appear to be in conflict or not.

Keywords:   counteractive control, self-control dilemma, goal, temptation, goal conflict identification

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