General action and inaction goals can influence the amount of motor or cognitive output irrespective of the type of behavior in question, with the same stimuli producing trivial and important motor and cognitive manifestations normally viewed as parts of different systems. A series of experiments examined the effects of instilling general action and inaction goals using word primes, such as "action" and "rest." The first 5 experiments showed that the same stimuli influenced motor output, such as doodling on a piece of paper and eating, as well as cognitive output, such as recall and problem solving. The last 2 experiments supported the prediction that these diverse effects can result from the instigation of general action and inaction goals. Specifically, these last 2 studies confirmed that participants were motivated to achieve active or inactive states and that attaining them decreased the effects of the primes on behavior.
- action goals
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science