Moralization and self-control strategy selection

Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 30 (4):1586 - 1595 (2023)
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Abstract

To manage conflicts between temptation and commitment, people use self-control. The process model of self-control outlines different strategies for managing the onset and experience of temptation. However, little is known about the decision-making factors underlying strategy selection. Across three experiments (N = 317), we tested whether the moral valence of a commitment predicts how people advise attentional self-control strategies. In Experiments 1 and 2, people rated attentional focus strategies as significantly more effective for people tempted to break moral relative to immoral commitments, even when controlling for perceived temptation and trait self-control. Experiment 3 showed that as people perceived commitments to have more positive moral valence, they judged attentional focus strategies to be significantly more effective relative to attentional distraction strategies. Moreover, this effect was partly mediated by perceived differences in motivation. These results indicate that moralization informs decision-making processes related to self-control strategy selection.

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Author Profiles

Samuel Murray
Providence College
Juan Pablo Bermúdez
Universidad Externado De Colombia
Felipe De Brigard
Duke University

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