The Mental Representation of Plans

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FAUDE, Tanya S., 2005. The Mental Representation of Plans

@phdthesis{Faude2005Menta-10823, title={The Mental Representation of Plans}, year={2005}, author={Faude, Tanya S.}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

deposit-license Faude, Tanya S. The Mental Representation of Plans 2011-03-25T09:22:57Z application/pdf eng Faude, Tanya S. 2011-03-25T09:22:57Z Plans in the form of implementation intentions have been shown to be an effective tool for overcoming self-regulatory problems in goal pursuit and for promoting goal attainment (Gollwitzer, 1993, 1996; Gollwitzer, Bayer, & McCulloch, 2005; Gollwitzer & Sheeran, in press). Implementation intentions are if-then plans that link good opportunities to act (i.e., specified situations) with behavioral responses that are effective in accomplishing one s goals (i.e., goal-directed behaviors). The concept of implementation intentions is viewed as a particularly fruitful approach to self-regulation as it addresses the cognitive and motivational processes (previously studied in isolation) that facilitate the translation of intentions into action. However, so far, only the if-component (i.e., the specified situation) of implementation intentions has been investigated on a cognitive level of analysis, whereas the then-component (i.e., the goal-directed response) has been restricted to a behavioral level. The present dissertation addresses this shortcoming by investigating the basic cognitive properties of both components of implementation intentions.<br />Three experiments investigated the mental representation of the components of implementation intentions by using a lexical decision task. In Experiment 1, the formation of self-generated implementation intentions revealed that the specified situation and the goal-directed behavior become mentally represented and highly activated. In Experiment 2, formation of assigned implementation intentions showed that the effect of plan activation (i.e., heightened activation of both components of implementation intentions) is based on the superior status of the components (compared to situations and behaviors that are not part of an implementation intention) and the functional relation of the if- and then-component. Experiment 3 administered the lexical decision task under mental load and found that the plan activation effect does not require cognitive resources, thus pointing to the automatic nature of the effect.<br />Several implications for future implementation intention research in the interface between cognitive and motivational properties are discussed. 2005 Die mentale Repräsentation von Plänen

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