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Self-Control and The Backfire Effects of Implementation Intentions: A Construal-Level Perspective

Grant number: 16/23661-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2017
Effective date (End): June 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Administration - Business Administration
Principal Investigator:José Afonso Mazzon
Grantee:Felipe Marinelli Affonso
Supervisor: Chris Janiszewski
Host Institution: Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade (FEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Miami, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:16/11464-6 - Consumer goal pursuit: the effects of ego depletion on implementation intentions, BP.MS


Previous research has demonstrated that implementation intentions - concrete plans that specify how, when and where a goal will be attained - promotes goal pursuit and attainment. Forming such intentions has been shown to overcome ego-depletion effects in task goals (difficult anagrams and Stroop tasks). Yet, forming implementation intentions may not be a good strategy to counteract ego-depletion when consumers face decisions involving goal conflicts. Contrary to existing findings in the literature, we propose a backfire effect of implementation intentions when consumers experience self-control conflicts: when consumers are resource depleted, they will be more likely to choose indulgent (vs. virtuous) options if they form implementation (vs. goal) intentions. We propose three experiments in two self-regulatory domains (healthy eating and money saving) investigating this issue. These effects are proposed to occur because ego-depletion impairs the implemental plan initiation, thus inducing a concrete construal (instead of the plan) to influence behavior, making consumers vulnerable to temptations and more prone to self-control failures. As boundary conditions to this backfire effect, we expect that inducing consumers to construe in high-level terms will lead them to act in accordance with their primary, central objectives, increasing their amount of virtuous (relative to indulgent) choices. We also expect that priming self-focus should mitigate this backfire effect, since self-focused consumers become more aware of their frequently hyperopic tendency, prompting an increased level of virtuous (relative to indulgent) choices when construing in low-level terms.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
AFFONSO, FELIPE M.; JANISZEWSKI, CHRIS; BETTMAN, JAMES R.. Boundaries of Constructive Choice: On the Accessibility of Maximize Accuracy and Minimize Effort Goals. JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY, v. 31, n. 2, p. 217-239, . (16/11464-6, 16/23661-0)

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