Planning to Fail: Mental Simulation and Self-handicapping

Description

Self-handicapping involves creating obstacles to success prior to a performance in order to blame failure on this obstacle rather than on a lack of ability. The project examines how thoughts about the future determine the motivation behind and planning of self-handicapping. An initial study seeks to demonstrate that prefactual thoughts (i.e., thoughts about how a future event could happen differently) about failure constitute plans for self-handicapping. Two subsequent studies examine the question of self-deception, namely how self-handicappers might plan their strategy and yet believe in the validity of their own excuses. These studies examine whether these plans occur outside of awareness, and whether they function automatically and without conscious control. Two final studies examine the role of anticipated regret in the motivation to self-handicap. The first seeks to demonstrate that self-handicappers are more likely than others to consider how they will feel as a result of failing without an excuse. The second tests whether these feelings in fact motivate self-handicapping behavior.

Self-handicapping involves creating obstacles to success prior to a performance in order to blame failure on this obstacle rather than on a lack of ability. The project examines how thoughts about the future determine the motivation behind and planning of self-handicapping. An initial study seeks to demonstrate that prefactual thoughts (i.e., thoughts about how a future event could happen differently) about failure constitute plans for self-handicapping. Two subsequent studies examine the question of self-deception, namely how self-handicappers might plan their strategy and yet believe in the validity of their own excuses. These studies examine whether these plans occur outside of awareness, and whether they function automatically and without conscious control. Two final studies examine the role of anticipated regret in the motivation to self-handicap. The first seeks to demonstrate that self-handicappers are more likely than others to consider how they will feel as a result of failing without an excuse. The second tests whether these feelings in fact motivate self-handicapping behavior.

Institutions
  • FB Psychologie
Funding sources
NameProject no.DescriptionPeriod
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft549/05no information
Further information
Period: 01.03.2005 – 28.02.2007