Counteractive Construal in Consumer Goal Pursuit

Counteractive Construal in Consumer Goal Pursuit

By
Ying Zhang, Szu-chi Huang, Susan M. Broniarczyk
Journal of Consumer Research.
2010, Vol. 37, Issue 1, Pages 129-142

The present research explores a self‐control operation, namely, counteractive construal, that helps consumers resolve the conflicts between an important goal and a short‐term temptation by altering the construal of the temptation. We propose that when experiencing a self‐control conflict, consumers intentionally construe temptation as more damaging to the attainment of a long‐term goal and use these distorted construals to help resolve the conflict in favor of the goals. Four studies in two self‐regulatory domains (a dieting goal and an academic goal) provided converging evidence for the counteractive construal hypothesis. We found that people who were experiencing self‐control conflict expected tempting food items to contain more calories or expected parties to take more time away from studying and were consequently less interested in consuming these temptations.