Asymmetric Effects of Counteractive Control

Counteractive control theory predicts that goals decrease the motivational strength of tempting alternatives, whereas temptations increase the motivational strength of goal-related alternatives. We explore these asymmetric effects on motivation in three studies that tested for evaluations, predictions and performance. Study 1 finds that dieters devalue fatty foods and augment the value of healthy foods. Study 2 finds that individuals in a committed relationship devalue the perceived attractiveness of alternative partners and augment the attractiveness of their own partner. Study 3 finds that students set optimistic predictions of spending more time on academic activities and less time on leisure activities. These evaluations and predictions determine performance.


Ayelet Fishbach, Ying Zhang, and Kristian Myrseth (2008) ,"Asymmetric Effects of Counteractive Control", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 217-220.


Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
Ying Zhang, University of Texas, Austin
Kristian Myrseth, University of Chicago


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

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