Why One Can’T Stop Looking At That Temptation: Dynamics of Attentional Biases in Self-Control Dilemmas

Suresh Ramanathan, University of Chicago, USA
Two studies examine the role of attentional biases for indulgences among impulsive and non-impulsive people in explaining consumption behavior. Using a visual probe task, the studies examine whether attentional biases for temptations emerge in the form of initial orienting towards the temptation or an inability to disengage from it. Further, I investigate whether these biases affect the incidence and extent of impulsive behavior. Results show that while impulsive people exhibit both forms of bias towards tempting stimuli, it is their inability to disengage attention from such temptations that drives the extent to which they subsequently indulge themselves. In a second study, I provide additional evidence for the process by showing that such attentional biases are reflected in more intense approach reactions towards temptations.
[ to cite ]:
Suresh Ramanathan (2009) ,"Why One Can’T Stop Looking At That Temptation: Dynamics of Attentional Biases in Self-Control Dilemmas", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 146-149.