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Cogn Emot. 2011 Apr;25(3):453-65. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2010.538598.

Affect in the aftermath: how goal pursuit influences implicit evaluations.

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University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Previous research has shown that the activation of a goal leads to more implicit positivity toward goal-relevant stimuli. We examined how the actual pursuit of a goal influences subsequent implicit positivity toward such stimuli. Participants were consciously or non-consciously primed with a goal, or not, and then completed a goal-relevant task on which they succeeded or failed. We then measured their goal-relevant implicit attitudes. Those who were primed with the goal (consciously or non-consciously) and experienced success exhibited more implicit positivity toward the goal, compared with the no-goal condition. Experiencing failure in the goal priming conditions reduced implicit positivity toward the goal, indicating disengagement from the goal. We discuss the theoretical implications for understanding the role of implicit attitudes in self-regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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