ArticlePDF Available

Recalling Past Temptations: An Information-Processing Perspective on the Dynamics of Self-Control

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

This research investigates how consumers respond to food-related temptations as a function of recalling their own behavior when faced with a similar temptation in the recent past. Bringing together different streams of relevant research, we propose and find that chronically nonimpulsive individuals display behavioral consistency over time-resisting (succumbing) when they recall having resisted (succumbed) earlier. In contrast, impulsive individuals show a switching pattern, resisting current temptations if they recall having succumbed, and vice versa. These propositions are supported by convergent results across four experiments involving real eating behaviors, response latencies, and hypothetical choices. Implications for consumer welfare are discussed and possible interventions are suggested. (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... The suggested links between self-licensing and goal-oriented behaviour, in particular goal commitment and perceived goal progress (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005;Miller & Effron, 2010;Mukhopadhyay, Sengupta, & Ramanathan, 2008), in turn, offer the opportunity to consider self-licensing as a potential obstacle that could cause a crisis in the goal achievement. This assumption is based on the fact that once an individual is aware of the sufficient justification for behaviour inconsistent with achieving a goal (meeting a competitive goal), they are more likely to take advantage of this opportunity (Prinsen et al., 2018). ...
... It is equally important to deal with an intervention that would prevent the occurrence of this type of behaviour. Mukhopadhyay et al. (2008) and Geng, Cheng, Tang, Zhou, and Ye (2016) suggest that recalling the causes of previous positive behaviour may be an effective intervention in preventing a licensing effect. It means that while reminding yourself of previous positive behaviour encourages the occurrence of self-licensing, reminding the reasons that led to this positive behaviour, on the other hand, reduces the likelihood of its occurrence. ...
... Analysis of theoretical and research outputs from other authors (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005;Miller & Effron, 2010;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008) provided a relevant basis for linking self-licensing with goal-oriented behaviour and the crisis that may arise in the goal achievement process. In this context, we perceive selflicensing in two ways. ...
Article
Full-text available
Self-licensing and self-cleansing effects represent two aspects of the same self-regulatory mechanism that is based on the decision-making process. Building upon this background, the link of self-licensing with goal-oriented behaviour as one of the ways how self-regulation is explained is evident. In goal-directed behaviour, we perceive the maladaptive function of self-licensing as a possible obstacle causing a crisis in goal achievement, or the adaptive way how to resolve the self-regulatory conflict. In an action crisis, one considers several options-achieving the goal at all costs, giving up the effort to achieve it and identification of the alternative one. The objective of the study was the experimental examination of the relationships between self-licensing and self-cleansing, action crisis, goal disengagement and goal reengagement as two possible strategies for advancing the goal achievement process. The study was conducted on 195 participants divided into three conditions-self-licensing, self-cleansing and control group. The results did not show significant differences in action crisis, goal disengagement and goal reengagement between groups. The action crisis and goal disengagement were significantly more likely experienced while dealing with a subjective obstacle. Also, women were significantly more prone to goal reengagement than men.
... Ale, keď sú vyzvaní, aby považovali počiatočné sledovanie cieľa za progres smerom k cieľu, zapájajú proces sebaoprávňovania a venujú sa plneniu iných cieľov. Rovnaké počiatočné správanie teda môže mať rozdielne dôsledky podľa toho, ako je formulované (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008). ...
... Naznačené súvislosti sebaoprávňovania so správaním orientovaným na cieľ, najmä záväznosťou a vnímaným progresom v dosahovaní cieľa (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005;Miller & Effron, 2010;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008), zase ponúkajú možnosť uvažovať nad sebaoprávňovaním ako nad potenciálnou prekážkou, ktorá by mohla vyvolávať krízu pri dosahovaní cieľa. Tento predpoklad je založený na tom, že vo chvíli, keď si je jedinec vedomý, že má k dispozícii dostatočné odôvodnenie správania inkonzistentného s dosahovaním cieľa (napĺňanie konkurenčného cieľa), je pravdepodobné, že túto možnosť využije (Prinsen et al., 2018) Zdôvodňujú to tým, že keď sa ľudia zameriavajú iba na progres v dosahovaní cieľa, objaví sa správanie inkonzistentné so zastrešujúcimi cieľmi. ...
... Prekonávanie týchto prekážok je spojené so sebaregulačnými stratégiami, ktoré je nutné do boja s nimi zapojiť (Myrseth & Fishbach, 2009). Hoci sme v teoretických východiskách naznačili, že sebaoprávňovanie môže nájsť uplatnenie v redukcii intrapsychického konfliktu (Prinsen et al., 2018), iné východiská ponúkajú možnosť vnímať sebaoprávňovanie ako potenciálnu prekážku pri dosahovaní cieľa (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005;Miller & Effron, 2010;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008). V kontexte série na seba nadväzujúcich výskumných štúdií sme sa preto rozhodli skúmať vzťah medzi prekážkami v dosahovaní cieľa a krízou v dosahovaní cieľa. ...
Book
Full-text available
The motivation for the creation of the book was the effort to clarify the context of the crisis in achieving the goal in terms of its determinants and procedural context with regard to the specifics of both the goal itself and the individuality of the individual striving to achieve this goal to the academic and lay public. In the present text, the reader has the opportunity to become acquainted with the essential processes that underlie the goal-oriented behavior. The goals themselves are also defined on the spectrum from the basic characteristics to the developed issues and obstacles, respectively. crisis in achieving the goal. Given that the crisis raises the question of what will happen next in the process of achieving the goal, the input of decision-making processes cannot be neglected. In this context, not only decision-making styles are discussed as relatively stable characteristics of the individual, but also the effect of self-licensing as a result of trying to maintain a positive self-image in a situation that does not correspond to the expected behavior. Following the result of the decision, an adaptive goal adjustment is also developed in terms of the exchange of the goal or a complete reduction of the effort to achieve the goal. Four empirical studies are presented. The aim of the first study was to examine the relationship between self-licensing and the characteristics of the goal, with an emphasis on the action crisis. The second study aimed to examine the extent of the action crisis experienced in achieving the goal, given the nature of the obstacle. The third study looked at the experimental examination of the relationships between self-regulatory compensation mechanisms in the form of self-licensing and self-cleansing, action crisis and processes of goal disengagement and goal reengagement as two possible strategies for advancing the goal achievement process. The fourth study examined whether and which determinants concerning the perception of obstacles and goal characteristics as well as individual / personality tendencies predict (are related to) the action crisis experiencing in achieving the problematic goal.
... We further propose that this consistency effect can be stronger for non-impulsive consumers than for impulsive consumers. Nonimpulsive consumers in the relative absence of goal conflict (May & Irmak, 2014;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008) are more likely to pursue the behavior-consistent goal and thus show a significant difference in the level of the counteractive construal of temptation depending on imagined future behavior. However, impulsive consumers with greater goal conflict are less likely to adopt the concomitant goal, thereby mitigating such difference in the extent of altering their perceptions of and decisions about temptation when imagining a future act. ...
... Also, this study contributes to the impulsivity literature by investigating how impulsivity influences the relationship between current and future choices. While the moderating effect of impulsivity has been mostly found in the context of past behavior (e.g., May & Irmak, 2014;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008;Ramanathan & Williams, 2007), there has been little empirical research on the role of impulsivity in the context of future behavior. We address this study gap by suggesting that the likelihood of a future act being repeated varies depending on the level of impulsivity. ...
... The current research proposes that the consistency effect in the relationship between current and future choices differs depending on the level of impulsivity. Extant research has shown that impulsivity is one of the significant moderators that influence immediate selfregulation in the context of sequential choices (e.g., May & Irmak, 2014;Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008;Ramanathan & Williams, 2007). For instance, Ramanathan and Williams (2007) found that after an initial indulgence, nonimpulsive participants are less likely to choose an indulgent option (i.e., they demonstrate switching) ...
Article
Full-text available
Consumer decision processes in the real world often involve consideration of related choices that are temporally separated but similar in nature. In the context of sequential choices, this study examines how consumers respond to temptation in the present when imagining themselves engaging in their future behavior in the face of similar temptation. We demonstrate that consumers are more likely to resist (succumb to) current temptation when imagining themselves resisting (succumbing to) future temptation. Our investigation suggests a consistency effect whereby a future behavior involving temptation allows consumers to demonstrate that behavior when making an actual choice in the present. We further show that this consistency effect is stronger for nonimpulsive consumers and explained by the mechanism of counteractive construal, which occurs when consumers resolve a self‐control conflict by exaggerating the threat of a temptation to a goal (e.g., construing a tempting food as containing more calories than it actually does). By delineating the effect of considering a future behavior on consumers' immediate self‐regulation, this study offers implications for consumers who want to strengthen self‐regulation, for marketers who need to strategically address consumer behavior, and for public policymakers who want to promote a healthier society.
... This is in line with Mukhopadhyay et al. (2008) who enquired consumers' reaction to food temptations in the form of resisting or succumbing, finding that individuals end up repeating past decisions in the present. 3 Although social interactions tend to remain stable over time, when faced with an opinion that is too distant from their private action, individuals could feel uncomfortable and thus reduce the contacts with the person expressing it. ...
Preprint
Consumer food waste, like many environmental behaviours, takes place in private, and is not directly subject to social monitoring. Nevertheless, social interactions can affect private opinions and behaviours. This paper builds an agent-based model of interactions between consumers heterogeneous in their sociability, initial opinions and behaviours related to food waste and willingness to consider different opinions, in order to assess how social interactions can affect private behaviours. Compared to existing models of opinion dynamics, we innovate by including a range of ``cognitive dissonance'' between stated opinions and actual behaviours that consumers are willing to accept before changing one of the two. We calibrate the model using questionnaire data on household food waste in Italy. We find that a limited degree of mixing between different socio-demographic groups, namely adult and young consumers, is enough to trigger change, but a certain openness of mind is required from more wasteful individuals. Equally, a small group of environmentally committed consumers can attract a sizeable share of the population towards low-waste behaviours if they show a certain variability of opinions and are willing to compromise with individuals in their close neighbourhood in terms of opinions. These findings can help design effective interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviours, taking advantage of the beneficial network effects while anticipating negative externalities.
... This is in line with Mukhopadhyay et al. (2008) who enquired consumers' reaction to food temptations in the form of resisting or succumbing, finding that individuals end up repeating past decisions in the present. 3 Although social interactions tend to remain stable over time, when faced with an opinion that is too distant from their private action, individuals could feel uncomfortable and thus reduce the contacts with the person expressing it. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Consumer food waste, like many environmental behaviours, takes place in private, and is not directly subject to social monitoring. Nevertheless, social interactions can affect private opinions and behaviours. This paper builds an agent-based model of interactions between consumers heterogeneous in their sociability, initial opinions and behaviours related to food waste and willingness to consider different opinions, in order to assess how social interactions can affect private behaviours. Compared to existing models of opinion dynamics, we innovate by including a range of ``cognitive dissonance'' between stated opinions and actual behaviours that consumers are willing to accept before changing one of the two. We calibrate the model using questionnaire data on household food waste in Italy. We find that a limited degree of mixing between different socio-demographic groups, namely adult and young consumers, is enough to trigger change, but a certain openness of mind is required from more wasteful individuals. Equally, a small group of environmentally committed consumers can attract a sizeable share of the population towards low-waste behaviours if they show a certain variability of opinions and are willing to compromise with individuals in their close neighbourhood in terms of opinions. These findings can help design effective interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviours, taking advantage of the beneficial network effects while anticipating negative externalities.
... This is in line with Mukhopadhyay et al. (2008) who enquired consumers' reaction to food temptations in the form of resisting or succumbing, finding that individuals end up repeating past decisions in the present. 3 Although social interactions tend to remain stable over time, when faced with an opinion that is too distant from their private action, individuals could feel uncomfortable and thus reduce the contacts with the person expressing it. ...
Article
Consumer food waste, like many environmental behaviours, takes place in private, and is not directly subject to social monitoring. Nevertheless, social interactions can affect private opinions and behaviours. This paper builds an agent-based model of interactions between consumers heterogeneous in their sociability, their initial opinions and behaviours related to food waste, and their willingness to consider different opinions, in order to assess how social interactions can affect private behaviours. Compared to existing models of opinion dynamics, we innovate by including a range of “cognitive dissonance” between stated opinions and actual behaviours that consumers are willing to accept before changing one of the two. We calibrate the model using questionnaire data on household food waste in Italy. We find that a limited degree of mixing between different socio-demographic groups, namely adult and young consumers, is enough to trigger change, but a certain openness of mind is required from more wasteful individuals. Equally, a small group of environmentally committed consumers can attract a sizeable share of the population towards low-waste behaviours if they show a certain variability of opinions and are willing to compromise with individuals in their close neighbourhood in terms of opinions. These findings can help design effective interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviours, taking advantage of the beneficial network effects while anticipating negative externalities.
Article
Consumers’ online impulsive buying behavior has become more and more frequent in the digital era. There is increasing concern regarding the adverse consequences that impulsive buying has generated for consumer wellbeing and the sustainability of our society and environment. In search of a way to decreasing impulsive consumption, this article proposes a comprehensive framework to explore the potential determinants of online impulsive buying behavior from the perspective of consumer characteristics grounded on the literature on sustainability, psychology and consumer behavior. Through an online survey, a total of 425 valid responses were obtained. Extroversion and neuroticism in personality, negative emotions, collectivism in culture and the cognitive and affective factors of impulsive buying tendency are found to be positively correlated with impulsive buying behavior, whereas self-control shows a negative impact on impulsive buying behavior. Furthermore, this study identifies the mediating roles that negative emotions and collectivism play. Specifically, in addition to the direct routes, neuroticism, self-control and the affective factor of impulsive buying tendency can indirectly influence impulsive buying behavior through the mediation of negative emotions, whereas extroversion can indirectly affect impulsive buying behavior with collectivism as the mediator. To conclude, theoretical and practical implications of this research are elaborated to promote sustainable consumption from both the micro and macro perspectives.
Article
Much can be learned from studying the effectiveness of consumers’ justifications for their behavior across multiple sequential choice occasions, but research on this topic is scarce. In response, the present research puts forth a conceptual framework for addressing vice-virtue dilemmas through the lens of repeated justifications for indulgent choice based on the notion of perceived exceptionality over time and the salient prior decisions that help to determine this exceptionality. The authors discuss their framework for a broader understanding of indulgent choice and decision-making patterns, as well as possible process mechanisms and specific avenues for future research.
Article
Full-text available
The twenty-first century healthcare system has shifted focus away from the traditional disease-oriented model to a patient-centered approach toward care and support. At the same time, technological innovation and transdisciplinary advances have helped double the volume of available healthcare, biomedical, and social research data every 12–14 months. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the evolution of a healthcare ecosystem that is both patient-centered and data-driven. On one hand, patients have access to traditional care modalities, support systems, as well as digital tracking and virtual care. On the other hand, advanced analytics (e.g., natural language processing-, machine learning- and deep learning-empowered artificial intelligence, and big data analytics) uses provider-and patient-generated clinical as well as health and wellness data, along with financial and social structure data. We propose a substantive consumer-centric perspective in marketing research on healthcare topics aimed at building a corpus of work that embraces a pluralistic methodological stance. Specifically, we suggest four broad categories of focal dependent variables, including health awareness and perception outcomes, preventive care, diagnostic care, and wellness promotion, and four categories of independent variables, including contextual influences, structural determinants, antecedent individual differences, and consumer segments or clusters. In terms of methodology, healthcare research in marketing can benefit from a pluralistic methodological perspective that combines experimental, econometric and newer AI-based approaches to both identify and isolate factors that may serve as barriers or facilitators of ameliorating interventions, and to extract insights from large aggregates of secondary and survey data that can inform the practice of personalized medicine and precision public health. Importantly, the data collection, analytics, and reporting of such research must reflect due regard for individual privacy and data security. They must be transparent, shared, and developed through collaborative networks, and disseminated so as to be accessible to all entities in the health care ecosystem. Researchers must strive for greater diversity and inclusivity in data, eliminate data and algorithmic bias, and enhance accountability through ongoing replication.
Article
Airport retail has undergone significant change in the last decade. Today, many airports provide a broad selection of product varieties and an augmented shopping experience. In this study we focus on sequential purchasing which remains an unexplored topic in airport retail. Grounded in shopping momentum, we use real-world purchase data from 279,000 passenger boarding cards to test a conceptual model that examines relationships between first purchase expenditure, walking distances, time available for sequential shopping, crowding, payment type, product involvement, promotions and product type on sequential purchasing in three terminals at Dubai International Airport. Findings offer a significant theoretical contribution to the travel retail and sequential purchasing literature and have important practical implications for airport retail practitioners.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
Full-text available
Publisher Summary Individuals come to “know” their own attitudes, emotions, and other internal states partially by inferring them from observations of their own overt behavior and/ or the circumstances in which this behavior occurs. Thus, to the extent that internal cues are weak, ambiguous, or uninterpretable, the individual is functionally in the same position as an outside observer, an observer who must necessarily rely upon those same external cues to infer the individual's inner states. This chapter traces the conceptual antecedents and empirical consequences of these propositions, attempts to place the theory in a slightly enlarged frame of reference, and clarifies just what phenomena the theory can and cannot account for in the rapidly growing experimental literature of self-attribution phenomena. Several experiments and paradigms from the cognitive dissonance literature are amenable to self-perception interpretations. But precisely because such experiments are subject to alternative interpretations, they cannot be used as unequivocal evidence for self-perception theory. The reinterpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena and other self-perception phenomena have been discussed. The chapter highlights some differences between self-perception and interpersonal perception and shift of paradigm in social psychology. It discusses some unsolved problems, such as the conceptual status of noncognitive response classes and the strategy of functional analysis.
Article
Full-text available
Context The prevalence of obesity and overweight increased in the United States between 1978 and 1991. More recent reports have suggested continued increases but are based on self-reported data.Objective To examine trends and prevalences of overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥25) and obesity (BMI ≥30), using measured height and weight data.Design, Setting, and Participants Survey of 4115 adult men and women conducted in 1999 and 2000 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of the US population.Main Outcome Measure Age-adjusted prevalence of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity compared with prior surveys, and sex-, age-, and race/ethnicity–specific estimates.Results The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 30.5% in 1999-2000 compared with 22.9% in NHANES III (1988-1994; P<.001). The prevalence of overweight also increased during this period from 55.9% to 64.5% (P<.001). Extreme obesity (BMI ≥40) also increased significantly in the population, from 2.9% to 4.7% (P = .002). Although not all changes were statistically significant, increases occurred for both men and women in all age groups and for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexican Americans. Racial/ethnic groups did not differ significantly in the prevalence of obesity or overweight for men. Among women, obesity and overweight prevalences were highest among non-Hispanic black women. More than half of non-Hispanic black women aged 40 years or older were obese and more than 80% were overweight.Conclusions The increases in the prevalences of obesity and overweight previously observed continued in 1999-2000. The potential health benefits from reduction in overweight and obesity are of considerable public health importance.
Article
Full-text available
The theory outlined in the present chapter adopts a cognitive approach to motivation. In the pages that follow we describe a research program premised on the notion that the cognitive treatment affords conceptual and methodological advantages enabling new insights into problems of motivated action, self-regulation and self-control. We begin by placing our work in the broader historical context of social psychological theorizing about motivation and cognition. We then present our theoretical notions and trace their implications for a variety of psychological issues including activity-experience, goal-commitment, choice, and substitution. The gist of the chapter that follows describes our empirical research concerning a broad range of phenomena informed by the goal-systemic analysis. Motivation Versus Cognition, or Motivation as Cognition Motivation versus cognition: the “separatist program. ” Social psychological theories have often treated motivation as separate from cognition, and have often approached it in a somewhat static manner. The separatism of the “motivation versus cognition ” approach was manifest in several major formulations and debates. Thus, for example, the dissonance versus self-perception debate (Bem, 1972) pitted against each other motivational (i.e., dissonance) versus cognitive (i.e., self-perception) explanations of attitude change phenomena. A similar subsequent controversy pertained to the question of whether a motivational explanation of biased causal attributions in terms of ego-defensive tendencies (cf. Kelley, 1972) is valid, given the alternative possibility of a purely cognitive explanation (Miller & Ross, 1975). The separatism of the “motivation versus cognition ” approach assigned distinct functions to motivational and cognitive variables. This is apparent in major social psychological notions of persuasion, judgment or impression formation. For instance, in the popular dual-mode theories of
Article
Restrained and unrestrained subjects (n = 24) were weighed daily for a 6-week period and again 6 months later in order to determine whether dietary restraint or relative body weight is the better predictor of weight variability. Restraint was a significantly better predictor of naturally occurring weight fluctuations than was relative body weight. Furthermore, the 2 factors of the Restraint Scale, Concern for Dieting and Weight Fluctuations, were both significant predictors of weight variability. We propose that exaggerated weight fluctuations are not a natural concomitant of higher body weight but possibly the consequence of a cycle of dieting and overeating, which seems to preclude actual weight loss.
Article
The intention-superiority effect is the finding that response latencies are faster for items related to an uncompleted intention as compared with materials that have no associated intentionality. T. Goschke and J. Kuhl(1993) used recognition latency for simple action scripts to document this effect. We used a lexical-decision task to replicate that shorter latencies were associated with uncompleted intentions as compared with neutral materials (Experiments 1 and 3). Experiments 2-4, however, demonstrated that latencies were longer for completed scripts as compared with neutral materials. In Experiment 3, shorter latencies were also obtained for partially completed scripts. The results are discussed in terms of the activation and inhibition that may guide behavior, as well as how these results may inform theories of prospective memory.
Article
Addresses fundamental self-regulatory issues by considering the basic ways in which goals can differ from each other not only in terms of their motivational contents but also in terms of their significant cognitive properties. To integrate these differing goal qualities under a general perspective, this chapter adopts a systematic approach in assuming that an individual's goals and means can be viewed as a network of cognitive associations endowed with specific structural properties. The authors begin by portraying the fundamental characteristics of goal systems: how goals inter-connect with other goals and with their attainment means and what significant configurations result from these associations. In doing so, they outline a number of characteristics of goal-systems such as their potential for implicit activation, their contextual dependence, and the transfer of properties that may occur between their components. This chapter then considers the consequences of goal systems for various self-regulatory phenomena including goal commitment, choice, substitution, and intrinsic motivation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)