To Be Optimistic Or to Be Accurate: How Self-Control and Accuracy Motives Influence Predictions of Goal Pursuit

Ying Zhang, University of Chicago
Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
Findings from three experiments suggest that consumers generate more optimistic predictions of their future goal pursuit (e.g., saving) when they perceive obstacles that may threaten their goal attainment (e.g., holiday sale). These optimistic predictions counteract the effect of obstacles on predicted success and they are intended to motivate more goal pursuit. We further find that when consumers try to make accurate predictions, their predictions become more conservative and do counteract obstacles. As a result, they engage in less goal pursuit. These findings demonstrate the simultaneous presence of a self-control motive and an accuracy motive in people’s forward-looking predictions of goal pursuit.
[ to cite ]:
Ying Zhang and Ayelet Fishbach (2007) ,"To Be Optimistic Or to Be Accurate: How Self-Control and Accuracy Motives Influence Predictions of Goal Pursuit", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 413-415.