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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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Motivational Sources of Unintended Thought: Irrational Intrusions or Side Effects of Rational Strategies?

Motivational Sources of Unintended Thought: Irrational Intrusions or Side Effects of Rational Strategies?

Chapter:
(p.516) 18 Motivational Sources of Unintended Thought: Irrational Intrusions or Side Effects of Rational Strategies?
Source:
The New Unconscious
Author(s):

E. Tory Higgins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.003.0019

The notion that motivational needs can disrupt and distort thought processes continues to be the predominant perspective on the role of motivation in unintended thought. This chapter proposes an alternative motivational perspective in which motivation is related to distinct types of self-regulatory orientation that each have their own strategic rationality. Within each self-regulatory orientation, the use of a specific strategy is both rational and effective. In other words, the strategies suit or fit the self-regulatory state involved in the goal pursuit. This chapter discusses two sources of strategic side effects that have unintended consequences for thought—tradeoffs and value transfer. The first unintended negative side effect of strategic rationality derives from the tradeoffs of strategic self-regulation. In addition to the unintended side effects of the costs of strategic rationality, the benefits of strategic rationality can themselves have unintended side effects that influence thought. To illustrate tradeoffs and value transfer, this chapter reviews research that has examined the effects of eagerness versus vigilance strategies on basic thought processes.

Keywords:   motivational needs, motivation, unintended thought, tradeoffs, value transfer, strategic rationality, eagerness, vigilance, goal pursuit, self-regulation

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