FOR "Psychoeconomics" TP 03 The Self-Regulation of Decision-Relevant Modes of Thought


The distinction between a quick associative versus a slow effortful mode of thought provides the basis for the project. We will explore whether the self-regulation strategy of if-then planning could help people to better cope with critical situations (e.g., situations associated with negative affective states or adverse motivational orientations) in which a spontaneously triggered quick associative mode of thought produces suboptimal outcomes. More specifically, we will test whether a reflective mode of thought instigated by if-then plans can overcome these problems in different economic decision paradigms.

  • FB Psychologie
  • AG Gollwitzer (Sozialpsychologie & Motivation)
    Janczyk, Markus; Dambacher, Michael; Bieleke, Maik; Gollwitzer, Peter M. (2015): The benefit of no choice : goal-directed plans enhance perceptual processing Psychological Research. 2015, 79(2), pp. 206-220. ISSN 0340-0727. eISSN 1430-2772. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s00426-014-0549-5

The benefit of no choice : goal-directed plans enhance perceptual processing


Choosing among different options is costly. Typically, response times are slower if participants can choose between several alternatives (free-choice) compared to when a stimulus determines a single correct response (forced-choice). This performance difference is commonly attributed to additional cognitive processing in free-choice tasks, which require time-consuming decisions between response options. Alternatively, the forced-choice advantage might result from facilitated perceptual processing, a prediction derived from the framework of implementation intentions. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 were PRP experiments and showed the expected underadditive interaction of the SOA manipulation and task type, pointing to a pre-central perceptual origin of the performance difference. Using the additive-factors logic, Experiment 3 further supported this view. We discuss the findings in the light of alternative accounts and offer potential mechanisms underlying performance differences in forced- and free-choice tasks.

Forschungszusammenhang (Projekte)

Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Kennziffer
Forschergruppe Drittmittel Forschungsförderprogramm 569/12
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Laufzeit: 01.03.2013 – 30.09.2019