Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life

Krott N, Oettingen G (2017)
Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain.

Konferenzbeitrag | Englisch
 
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Autor*in
Krott, NoraUniBi ; Oettingen, Gabriele
Abstract / Bemerkung
Positive counterfactuals about an alternative past - “if only” reconstructions of negative life events -are functional in preparing people to act when opportunities to restore the alternative past will arise. If the counterfactual past is lost, counterfactuals are dysfunctional and lead to distress and coping difficulties. In those cases, letting go of the counterfactual past should help people to actively engage in their current life (Markman, Karadogan, Lindberg, & Zell, 2009). The self-regulation strategy of mental contrasting complements positive fantasies about a counterfactual past with current reality, helping people to let go from their lost counterfactual past when expectations to attain the counterfactual past are low (Krott & Oettingen, 2016). In four experimental studies, we hypothesized and observed that mental contrasting of positive counterfactual fantasies with current reality leads people to engage in their current reality. In Study 1, participants who mentally contrasted their positive counterfactual fantasies about a better alternative to a negative interpersonal event (vs. indulged in their positive counterfactual fantasies) engaged more in an interpersonal task. In Study 2, currently unemployed participants who mentally contrasted (vs. indulged) their positive counterfactual fantasies about a lost job opportunity engaged more in an academic task. In Study 3, mental contrasting (vs. indulging or control) participants engaged more in a cognitive task. In Study 4, mental contrasting (vs. indulging or control) participants implemented more specific plans for a personal future wish. The results suggest that mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies can help people to actively engage in their current reality.
Erscheinungsjahr
2017
Konferenz
18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology
Konferenzort
Granada, Spain
Page URI
https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/record/2935961

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Krott N, Oettingen G. Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain.
Krott, N., & Oettingen, G. (2017). Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain.
Krott, N., and Oettingen, G. (2017).“Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life”. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain.
Krott, N., & Oettingen, G., 2017. Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain.
N. Krott and G. Oettingen, “Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life”, Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain, 2017.
Krott, N., Oettingen, G.: Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain (2017).
Krott, Nora, and Oettingen, Gabriele. “Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies engages people in their present life”. Presented at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain, 2017.

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