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The New Unconscious$
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Ran R. Hassin, James S. Uleman, and John A. Bargh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.001.0001

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The Control of the Unwanted

The Control of the Unwanted

Chapter:
(p.484) (p.485) 17 The Control of the Unwanted
Source:
The New Unconscious
Author(s):

Peter M. Gollwitzer

Ute C. Boyer

Kathleen C. McCulloch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.003.0018

Intentions to do more good and less bad are reliably associated with actual efforts in the intended directions. However, the link between intention and behavior is modest, largely due to the fact that people, despite having formed strong intentions, fail to act on them. Given this predicament, one wonders what people can do to facilitate the translation of intentions into behavior. This chapter argues that people should engage in a second act of willing by making if-then plans (implementation intentions) that specify how the (goal) intention is to be realized. It asserts that such plans produce automatic action control by intentionally delegating the control of one's goal-directed thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to specific situational cues. Thus, by forming implementation intentions, people can strategically switch from conscious and effortful control of their goal-directed behaviors to being automatically controlled by selected situational cues. This type of automatic action control is strategic automaticity or instant habits.

Keywords:   intention, behavior, implementation intentions, willing, automatic action control, goal-directed behaviors, situational cues, strategic automaticity, instant habits, feelings

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