The Interplay Between Goal Intentions and Implementation Intentions

Universität Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Impact Factor: 2.52). 02/2005; 31(1):87-98. DOI: 10.1177/0146167204271308
Source: PubMed


Two studies tested whether action control by implementation intentions is sensitive to the activation and strength of participants' underlying goal intentions. In Study 1, participants formed implementation intentions (or did not) and their goal intentions were measured. Findings revealed a significant interaction between implementation intentions and the strength of respective goal intentions. Implementation intentions benefited the rate of goal attainment when participants had strong goal intentions but not when goal intentions were weak. Study 2 activated either a task-relevant or a neutral goal outside of participants' conscious awareness and found that implementation intentions affected performance only when the relevant goal had been activated. These findings indicate that the rate of goal attainment engendered by implementation intentions takes account of the state (strength, activation) of people's superordinate goal intentions.

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Available from: Paschal Sheeran,
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    • "More recently, some computational models have adapted a more default interventionist approach in which planning intervenes to alter habits only when necessary (e.g., Pezzulo et al. 2013). It is useful to note that, although we invoke the dual-process framework in this review, action control is influenced by more than two processes, including automated goal pursuit (Sheeran et al. 2005) as well as Pavlovian conditioning of incentive motivation (Balleine & O'Doherty 2010). "
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    • "This empirical finding indicates that intentions are an important but insufficient prerequisite for successful behaviour (Wiedemann et al. 2009). This is a phenomenon that has been labelled the intention–behaviour gap (Sheeran, Webb, and Gollwitzer 2005). A large and growing body of literature has investigated IT acceptance (Chen and Cheng 2009; Chiu et al. 2009; Lin, Chen, and Fang 2011; Blake and Kyper 2013; Shiau and Luo 2013; Achadinha, Jama, and Nel 2014) and use behaviour and several models have been developed to explain user acceptance of technology. "
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    • "For this study, we defined intention as a mental representation of a desired future or desired behavior to attain that future (Zigarmi and Nimon, 2011). Intentions through this lens were understood as a path or plan for purposeful action that rose from an individual's appraisal of their current in-the-moment experience (Bagozzi, 1992; Sheeran et al., 2005). Zigarmi and Nimon (2011) presented rationale for the importance and conceptual basis for five employee work intentions using empirical evidence found in the literature over the past 40 years. "

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