Social Psychology and Motivation

Our working group deals with the analysis of purposeful action - how goal-directed action takes place and how it can be improved. The starting point of our research is the Rubicon model of action phases and its extensions in the theory of intentional action control and the mindset theory.

The theory of intentional action control differentiates the control by means of goal intentions ("I want to achieve goal Z") versus implementation intentions (specific "if-then" plans in the form "If situation X occurs, then I perform behavior Y!"). Implementation intentions improve goal attainment in experimental as well as in applied contexts (e.g., snacking, social situations, sports). Mindset theory distinguishes the cognitive procedures (mindsets) that are active in the selection of a goal (deliberative mindset) from the cognitive procedures that are active when planning an already set goal (implemental mindset). While a deliberative mindset is characterized by unbiased, open information processing, the information processing in the implemental mindset is focused on the realization of the set goal and thus distorted.