The Counteractive Optimism in Goal Pursuit

Ying Zhang, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago, USA
Findings from three experiments suggest that people counteract the presence of obstacles in goal pursuit by generating more optimistic predictions of their future goal pursuit, and in turn become more motivated to work on this goal. Such counteractive optimism, however, only occurs when individuals are not concerned about the accuracy of their predictions. Whenever accuracy of predictions is highlighted, the presence of obstacles makes people more conservative in predictions and subsequently less motivated in goal pursuit. These findings highlight the role of counteractive optimism as a self-control mechanism in helping consumers overcome obstacles.
[ to cite ]:
Ying Zhang and Ayelet Fishbach (2010) ,"The Counteractive Optimism in Goal Pursuit", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 204-206 .