Two studies investigated the cognitive activation of a goal following a promise to complete it. Current theorizing about the impact of positive affect as informational feedback in goal pursuit suggests two contradictory conclusions: (1) positive affect can signal that sufficient progress towards a goal has been made, but also (2) positive affect can signal that commitment to a goal should be maintained. When individuals infer that significant progress toward goal achievement has been made, the goal should be deactivated, but when individuals infer that commitment to the goal should be maintained, goal activation should be increased. To determine the conditions in which positive affect leads to increased goal activation as opposed to goal deactivation, we proposed that competing goals serve as a moderator. We found that positive affect led to decreased goal activation when competing goals were present, but to increased goal activation when competing goals were absent.
- Positive affect
- BEHAVIORAL GOALS