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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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Going Beyond the Motivation Given: Self-Control and Situational Control Over Behavior

Going Beyond the Motivation Given: Self-Control and Situational Control Over Behavior

Chapter:
(p.537) 19 Going Beyond the Motivation Given: Self-Control and Situational Control Over Behavior
Source:
The New Unconscious
Author(s):

Yaacov Trope

Ayelet Fishbach

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.003.0020

Inspired by Kurt Lewin's (1935) field theory, social psychologists have sought to demonstrate that a wide range of human behavior, socially desirable as well as undesirable, is under the control of immediate situational forces. Indeed, the field of social psychology has been defined as the study of situational determinants of thought, feeling, and action. Research on automaticity has provided a new impetus to the study of situational control over behavior. This research suggests that situational cues can govern behavior without being consciously processed and without making a deliberate choice of an appropriate course of action. Short-term motives, especially those that are automatically triggered by the immediate stimulus situation, may prevent people from pursuing their long-term goals. This chapter examines how people protect their long-term goals against temporary, situationally elicited motives and proposes that when short-term motives threaten the attainment of long-term goals, people proactively employ counteractive self-control strategies—strategies that are designed to offset the influence of short-term motives on behavior. Evidence lends support for the goal-directedness assumption of counteractive control.

Keywords:   human behavior, social psychology, automaticity, situational cues, short-term motives, long-term goals, counteractive self-control, goal-directedness

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