Cooling the heat of temptation: Mental self-control and the automatic evaluation of tempting stimuli

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Cooling the heat of temptation: Mental self-control and the automatic evaluation of tempting stimuli

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Title: Cooling the heat of temptation: Mental self-control and the automatic evaluation of tempting stimuli
Author: Hofmann, Wilhelm; Deutsch, Roland; Lancaster, Katie; Banaji, Mahzarin R.

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Citation: Hofmann, Wilhelm, Roland Deutsch, Katie Lancaster, and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 2010. “Cooling the Heat of Temptation: Mental Self-Control and the Automatic Evaluation of Tempting Stimuli.” European Journal of Social Psychology 40: 17–25. doi:10.1002/ejsp.708.
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Abstract: The present research investigated whether mental self-control strategies can reduce the automatic positivity elicited by tempting stimuli. In two studies employing chocolate as the temptation of interest, we found that participants instructed to imagine a chocolate product in a nonconsummatory manner exhibited significantly less automatic positivity with regard to the product as compared to participants instructed to imagine the hedonic, consummatory aspects of the product and control participants engaged in a neutral task. These findings were replicated in a second study. Additionally, in Study 2 we found that automatic evaluations of chocolate were lowest for participants instructed to form implementation intentions to refrain from consumption. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that mental self-control strategies such as nonconsummatory transformation and implementation intentions extend to the level of automatic processing by reducing the positivity of automatically activated affective responses.
Published Version: doi:10.1002/ejsp.708
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33471128
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