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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    • "Additionally, translating intentions successfully also requires making very specific action plans, also referred to as implementation intentions[39]. Forming an implementation intention (plans that specify when, where, and how one will perform the behaviour; if x, then behaviour y) has shown to improve rates of behavioural enactment, by delegating control of behaviour to specified situational cues[39,47]. It is therefore relevant for future studies to explore methods to enhance translations of plans into actual behaviour. "
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