Beyond priming effects: The role of positive affect and discrepancies in implicit processes of motivation and goal pursuit
Authors: Custers, Ruud; Aarts, Henk
Source: European Review of Social Psychology, 1 January 2005, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 257-300(44)
Abstract:Recent research demonstrates that goal pursuit can be instigated without conscious interventions when the mental accessibility of goal representations is enhanced by environmental cues. However, the mechanisms producing this non-conscious, motivational, goal-directed activity are not clearly addressed in the literature. In this chapter we present a framework within which the non-conscious activation of goal-directed behaviour can be understood. The framework departs from the idea that a goal is represented as a desired state and identifies three characteristics of this representation that render non-conscious goal pursuit more likely to occur: its mental accessibility, the discrepancy of the represented state with the actual state, and its association with positive affect. We present findings, largely established in our own labs, that demonstrate the crucial role of these three factors. We will close the chapter by showing how the framework can help to address some of the pressing issues in the research on non-conscious goal pursuit.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Utrecht University, The Netherlands