Identity, motivation and unconscious self-control: The case of motivated implementation intentions

Dorin Nastas


Contemporary social psychological research has accumulated an impressive empirical support for the advocacy of the idea that most of our life is going on in an automatic or unconscious manner (e.g. Bargh & Chartland, 1999; Bargh, 1997; Baumaister & Sommer, 1997). At a glance it is a discouraging finding for human beings who are so proud of having free will, self-control, of being conscious and possessing other qualities that enable the exercise of willful control both on the self and environment. That is why many current theories of motivation and self-regulation are still placing two much emphasis on the consciousness and conscious choice (cf. Bargh & Chartland, 1999, p. 463).
In this context, the issue of expanding and exploring processes that permit unconscious self-control is one of direct interest both for theoretical advance and of practical use. Recently a strong tradition of research is focusing on implementation intentions as a powerful self-regulatory strategy that permit efficient willful automatic goal pursuit (e.g. Gollwitzer, 1993; Gollwitzer, 1996; Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997; Brandstatter, Lengfelder, & Gollwitzer, 2001; Lengfelder & Gollwitzer, 2001; for extensive reviews see Gollwitzer, 1999; Gollwitzer & Schaal, 1998).
The purpose of this paper is to continue to investigate some varieties of conscious goal setting people use in their daily lives for the purpose of efficient self-regulation. We are mainly concerned with exploring the ecological existence and relative efficiency of so called “motivated intentions” – intentions that are formulated by adding the “why” part to the intended action.

Dorin Nastas – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania

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