An ironic effect of monitoring closeness

a School of Psychological Sciences , Tel Aviv University , Tel Aviv , Israel.
Cognition and Emotion (Impact Factor: 2.52). 06/2013; 27(8). DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2013.794771
Source: PubMed


Most theories of goal pursuit underscore the beneficial consequences of monitoring progress towards goals. However, effects of affect labelling and dissociations between experience and meta-consciousness suggest that monitoring may not always facilitate goal pursuit. We predicted that in the case of pursuing interpersonal closeness, intense monitoring of progress would have a detrimental effect. We tested this hypothesis with the intimate conversation procedure, adapted from Aron, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, and Bator (1997). Participants in the closeness-monitoring condition asked themselves every five minutes in the course of a 45-minute interaction with a partner whether they felt any closer to their partner, whereas participants in the control condition monitored the room temperature. As predicted, intense monitoring interfered with achieving a feeling of closeness, as measured by sitting distance between pair members following the intimate conversation procedure. We discuss the possibility that monitoring would also be detrimental for achieving other goals that are internal states.

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