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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

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

Ayelet Fishbach

Benjamin A. Converse

Oxford University Press

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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