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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Feb;84(2):296-309.

Leading us not unto temptation: momentary allurements elicit overriding goal activation.

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Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


The present research explored the nature of automatic associations formed between short-term motives (temptations) and the overriding goals with which they interfere. Five experimental studies, encompassing several self-regulatory domains, found that temptations tend to activate such higher priority goals, whereas the latter tend to inhibit the temptations. These activation patterns occurred outside of participants' conscious awareness and did not appear to tax their mental resources. Moreover, they varied as a function of subjective goal importance and were more pronounced for successful versus unsuccessful self-regulators in a given domain. Finally, priming by temptation stimuli was found not only to influence the activation of overriding goals but also to affect goal-congruent behavioral choices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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