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A Closer Look at the Area of Tension Between Motivation and Volition - The Cognitive and Behavioral Consequences of an Action Crisis and Intervention Strategies

English title A Closer Look at the Area of Tension Between Motivation and Volition - The Cognitive and Behavioral Consequences of an Action Crisis and Intervention Strategies
Applicant Brandstätter Veronika
Number 159389
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2015 - 30.06.2020
Approved amount 393'174.00
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Keywords (6)

mindset; personal goals; action crisis; self-regulation; coping; goal disengagement

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Verfolgung persönlicher Ziele in den unterschiedlichsten Lebensbereichen (z. B. Beruf, Familie, Bildung oder Sport) verleiht dem Leben Bedeutung und Struktur. Umso schwerer fällt es Menschen, ein einmal begonnenes identitätsstiftendes Ziel (z. B. ein Studium), in dessen Verfolgung bereits Zeit und Energie investiert wurde, abzubrechen. Forschung zum Konzept der Handlungskrise widmet sich der kritischen Phase bei der Verfolgung eines Ziels, in welcher die Zielablösung dennoch zur Option und, infolgedessen, gegen eine weitere Zielverfolgung abgewogen wird.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Eine erfolgreiche Lebensführung setzt nicht nur die Entschlossenheit voraus, eigene Ziele hartnäckig unter Aufwendung aller verfügbaren Mittel zu verfolgen, sondern bisweilen auch die Fähigkeit zur Einsicht, dass ein Ziel nicht (sinnvoll) realisierbar ist, z. B. weil es mit unverhältnismässigem Aufwand verbunden ist oder nicht mit den eigenen Fähigkeiten in Einklang steht. Ziel der Forschung zur Handlungskrise ist es, in Bezug auf den letzteren Fall, Zielablösungsprozesse genauer zu beschreiben.

Als Entscheidungsphase zwischen Zielablösung und weiterer Zielverfolgung steht eine Handlungskrise nicht in jedem Fall am Beginn einer Zielablösung. So ist z. B. auch denkbar, dass starke Zweifel am Sinn eines Ziels (z. B. Extrembergsteigen) zur Rückbesinnung auf dessen ursprünglichen Wert führen (z. B. Nähe zur Natur) und neue Wege eröffnen, dessen Verfolgung mit weiteren Lebensbereichen (z. B. der Familie) in Einklang zu bringen. Bisherige Forschung erbrachte allerdings den Nachweis, dass Menschen, die von starken Zweifeln geplagt werden, ob ein Ziel weiterverfolgt oder aufgegeben werden sollte, nicht nur unter einer Beeinträchtigung von Wohlbefinden und Gesundheit leiden, sondern im betreffenden Ziel auch weniger Fortschritt zeigen. Zum einen wird die Auseinandersetzung mit einer möglichen u. U. einschneidenden Veränderung in der Lebensführung (z. B. Abbruch des Studiums) als belastend erlebt, zum anderen erfordert der Entscheidungsprozess viel Aufmerksamkeit, welche in der Konsequenz nicht der Verfolgung des Ziels gewidmet werden kann.

Das vorliegende Forschungsprojekt beschäftigt sich einerseits mit den Konsequenzen des Erlebens von Handlungskrisen für gedankliche Prozesse und das Verhalten, auch für Lebensbereichen, die nicht unmittelbar mit dem betreffenden Ziel in Zusammenhang stehen. Andererseits werden Interventionsstrategien entwickelt und getestet, die darauf abzielen, Personen in einer Handlungskrise den Entscheidungsprozess zu erleichtern und diesen zu beschleunigen.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 16.09.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The dynamics of doubt: Short-term fluctuations and predictors of doubts in personal goal pursuit
Ghassemi Mirjam, Wolf Benjamin, Bettschart Martin, Kreibich Antonia, Herrmann Marcel, Brandstätter Veronika (2020), The dynamics of doubt: Short-term fluctuations and predictors of doubts in personal goal pursuit, in Motivation Science.
Investigating the Unified Motive Scales: The Predictive Validity of the Achievement Motive Subscale
Bettschart Martin, Herrmann Marcel, Wolf Benjamin M., Brandstätter Veronika (2020), Investigating the Unified Motive Scales: The Predictive Validity of the Achievement Motive Subscale, in European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 1-5.
The Seed of Goal-Related Doubts: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Roles of Failure and Expectation of Success Among Police Trainee Applicants
Bettschart Martin, Herrmann Marcel, Wolf Benjamin M., Brandstätter Veronika (2019), The Seed of Goal-Related Doubts: A Longitudinal Investigation of the Roles of Failure and Expectation of Success Among Police Trainee Applicants, in Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2151.
Downgrading goal-relevant resources in action crises: The moderating role of goal reengagement capacities and effects on well-being
Herrmann Marcel, Brandstätter Veronika, Wrosch Carsten (2019), Downgrading goal-relevant resources in action crises: The moderating role of goal reengagement capacities and effects on well-being, in Motivation and Emotion, 43(4), 535-553.
Action crises in personal goals compromise recovery during physical therapy.
Wolf Benjamin M., Herrmann Marcel, Zubler Iris, Brandstätter Veronika (2019), Action crises in personal goals compromise recovery during physical therapy., in Motivation Science, 5(2), 179-184.
Self-efficacy vs. action orientation: Comparing and contrasting two determinants of goal setting and goal striving
Wolf Benjamin M., Herrmann Marcel, Brandstätter Veronika (2018), Self-efficacy vs. action orientation: Comparing and contrasting two determinants of goal setting and goal striving, in Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 35-45.
The Process of Disengagement From Personal Goals Reciprocal Influences Between the Experience of Action Crisis and Appraisals of Goal Desirability and Attainability
Ghassemi Mirjam, Bernecker Katharina, Herrmann Marcel, Brandstätter Veronika (2017), The Process of Disengagement From Personal Goals Reciprocal Influences Between the Experience of Action Crisis and Appraisals of Goal Desirability and Attainability, in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(4), 524-537.
Age-related development of self-regulation: Evidence on stability and change in action orientation
Bettschart Martin, Wolf Benjamin M., Herrmann Marcel, Brandstätter Veronika, Age-related development of self-regulation: Evidence on stability and change in action orientation, in Journal of Research in Personality, 91.

Datasets

Misattribution of negative feelings during action crises

Author Wolf, Benjamin M.
Persistent Identifier (PID) DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/TM9J4
Repository Open Science Framework
Abstract
Tested the hypothesis that intrapsychic conflicts between persistence and disengagement from personal goals (action crises) become subjectively more severe when the negative emotion caused by the conflict is not attributed to an alternative cause. In the experiment, an affect misattribution procedure was used to manipulate whether participants attributed negative emotions to their personal goal or an alternative cause. The results were mixed, suggesting that the experimental design and measurement of potential conflict regarding personal goals needs refinement.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
LINK Institut Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Stadtpolizei Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Dr. Daniel Hausmann, Universität Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Marcel Herrmann Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Zürcher Polizeischule Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Sinergia Projekt "Impact of Stress on Relationship Development..." (SNSF: CRSII1_147634) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Carsten Wrosch, Concordia University Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Kantonspolizei Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Kolloqium Lehrstuhl Professor Greve, Fachbereich 1: Erziehungs- & Sozialwissenschaften Individual talk Zielablösung und Handlungskrise 20.11.2019 Hildesheim, Germany Brandstätter Veronika;
16th Swiss Psychological Society Conference Talk given at a conference Short-term variation in goal-related doubts: An experience sampling study 11.09.2019 Bern, Switzerland Wolf Benjamin Mario; Bettschart Martin; Brandstätter Veronika;
16th Swiss Psychological Society Conference Talk given at a conference Lost on the fence: Action crises as an antecedent of disengagement 11.09.2019 Bern, Switzerland Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario; Bettschart Martin;
31st Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science Talk given at a conference Job-related action crises predict employee turnover in a workplace with high fluctuation 26.05.2019 Washington DC, United States of America Bettschart Martin; Wolf Benjamin Mario; Brandstätter Veronika;
Kolloquium Lehr-Lern-Forschung und Fachdidaktik Thema «Entwicklung der Motivation in Schule und Unterricht» Individual talk Zweifel am Ziel – Vorauslaufende Bedingungen von Handlungskrisen und ihre Wirkung auf Befinden und Leistung im Kontext von Studium und Beruf 15.04.2019 Zürich, Switzerland Brandstätter Veronika;
3rd International Convention of Psychological Science Talk given at a conference When Goal Striving Gets Stuck: Consequences of Action Crises for Health, Well-Being, and Performance 08.03.2019 Paris, France Wolf Benjamin Mario; Bettschart Martin; Brandstätter Veronika;
Kolloquium des Lehrstuhls für Allgemeine Psychologie II an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Individual talk Zweifel am Ziel – Vorauslaufende Bedingungen, vermittelnde Mechanismen und Konsequenzen von Handlungskrisen 18.01.2019 Erlangen, Germany Brandstätter Veronika;
38. Motivationspsychologisches Kolloquium Talk given at a conference Die Handlungskrise als Prädiktor von Kündigungen: Eine angewandte Studie mit Telefonisten eines Marktforschungsinstituts 01.10.2018 Konstanz, Germany Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario;
51st Congress of the German Psychological Society Talk given at a conference Der erste Zweifel: Wann Misserfolg zu einer Handlungskrise führt 15.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario; Bettschart Martin;
30th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science Talk given at a conference Antecedents of action crises 26.05.2018 San Francisco, United States of America Wolf Benjamin Mario; Brandstätter Veronika; Bettschart Martin;
30th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science Talk given at a conference Antecedents of Action Crises 25.05.2018 San Francisco, CA, United States of America Wolf Benjamin Mario; Brandstätter Veronika; Bettschart Martin;
Kolloquium am Lehrstuhl Pädagogische Psychologie und Motivation an der Universität Hamburg Individual talk Zweifel am Ziel – Vorauslaufende Bedingungen und Konsequenzen von Handlungskrisen 02.05.2018 Hamburg, Germany Brandstätter Veronika;
15th Conference of the Swiss Psychological Society Talk given at a conference Action crises in personal goals impair healing during physical therapy 05.09.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario;
10th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation Talk given at a conference When Goal Striving Gets Stuck: Behavioral Consequences of Action Crises 25.05.2017 Boston, MA, United States of America Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario; Bettschart Martin;
29th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science Talk given at a conference When goal striving gets stuck: Antecedents and consequences of action crises 25.05.2017 Boston, United States of America Brandstätter Veronika; Bettschart Martin; Wolf Benjamin Mario;
10th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Science of Motivation Talk given at a conference When goal striving gets stuck: Behavioral consequences of action crises 23.05.2017 Boston, United States of America Bettschart Martin; Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario;
Kolloquium des Instituts für Psychologie, Universität Trier Individual talk Zweifel am Ziel – Vorauslaufende Bedingungen und Konsequenzen von Handlungskrisen 15.02.2017 Trier, Germany Brandstätter Veronika;
36. Motivationspsychologisches Kolloquium Talk given at a conference Ziele auf der Kippe: Die Bedeutung von Selbstregulationskompetenzen für das Erleben von Handlungskrisen in persönlichen Zielen 05.10.2016 Erlangen, Germany Brandstätter Veronika; Wolf Benjamin Mario;
Colloquium Series of the Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab Individual talk Cognitive, Affective, Physiological, and Behavioral Correlates of an Action Crisis as a Critical Phase in Goal Striving 16.06.2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands Brandstätter Veronika;
9th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation Talk given at a conference The Process of Disengagement from Personal Goals 26.05.2016 Chicago, United States of America Brandstätter Veronika;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Symposium: Individual differences in self-regulation 23.05.2019 Washington, DC, United States of America

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Forum Raumwissenschaft 2017 Talk 26.10.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Brandstätter Veronika;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media „Nein, ich schaff’s doch nicht!“ Psychologie Heute International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Zweifelsfrei in den Polizeidienst format magazine – Zeitschrift für Polizeiausbildung und Polizeiforschung Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Die etwas andere Fuck-up Night German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television Gute Vorsätze – scheitern erlaubt! SRF 1 German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Scheitern als fundamentale Notwendigkeit report psychologie International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Weitermachen oder aufgeben? Warum es uns so schwerfällt, uns von persönlichen Zielen zu lösen Doppelpunkt German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Die Kunst des Scheiterns NZZ International 2018
Media relations: radio, television Kleine und große Abschiede - Eine lebenslange Übung Bayern 2 International 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Mehr Motivation im CATI-Center Planung & Analyse German-speaking Switzerland International 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Dranbleiben oder loslassen? Studienabbruch aus motivationspsychologischer Perspektive German-speaking Switzerland 2017

Use-inspired outputs

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
130131 Should I stop or Should I Go? Determinants and Consequences of an Action Crisis as a Critical Phase in Goal Striving 01.11.2010 Project funding
130131 Should I stop or Should I Go? Determinants and Consequences of an Action Crisis as a Critical Phase in Goal Striving 01.11.2010 Project funding

Abstract

Successful goal striving requires not merely persistence in the face of obstacles and setbacks but, equally important, disengagement if the pursuit of a goal proves futile and/or too costly (J. Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Schulz, 2010). However, even when contextual or intrapersonal factors have rendered a goal unattractive and/or unrealistic, individuals frequently remain unable to (readily) disengage from it whereof severe self-regulatory deficiencies as well as psychological and physiological impairments may result (Wrosch, Scheier, Miller, Schulz, & Carver, 2003). Despite high theoretical and practical relevance, theoretical considerations related to goal disengagement have only recently been subjected to empirical testing. With our project, we aim at contributing to this emerging line of research. Current theories about goal disengagement originate mainly in research on life-span development focusing on age-related trajectories of self-regulatory processes in goal striving (Brandtstädter, 2007; J. Heckhausen et al., 2010; Meyer & Greve, 2012; Wrosch & Heckhausen, 1999). In contrast to this research approach, the focus of which lies primarily on age and/or personality as determinants of goal disengagement, in our research, we draw attention to the analysis of disengagement processes on the level of concrete goals. More specifically, we have introduced the concept of an action crisis, defined as the intra-psychic conflict between further goal pursuit and disengagement from the goal that typically results from a loss of goal attainability and/or desirability (Brandstätter & Schüler, 2013). Based on our previous SNSF-project “Should I stop or should I go? Determinants and consequences of an action crisis as a critical phase in goal striving” (# 100014_130131), in the present prolongation project, we intend to deepen our analysis of the cognitive, behavioral, and health consequences of an action crisis and test interventions designed to prevent or rather overcome an action crisis. More specifically, in a series of six laboratory experiments, we seek to further corroborate our theory that an action crisis leads to a mindset shift (Brandstätter & Schüler, 2013), that is, in the implemental (i.e., volitional) mindset a (partial) re-establishment of the deliberative (i.e., motivational) cognitive orientation (Gollwitzer, 2012) and, thereby, an immingling of two, actually incompatible, mindsets. As a consequence, behavioral efficiency should become impaired. In a correlational field study, the assumption will be tested that an action crisis as an intra-psychic conflict constitutes a stressor, the coping with which affects not merely goal-related but likewise health-related behavior as well as its physiological correlates (i.e., cortisol secretion). Eventually, in two experimental longitudinal field studies, applying the insights obtained in our previous research, we plan to evaluate and validate the effectiveness of self-regulatory strategies (Oettingen & Gollwitzer, 2009) in preventing and overcoming an action crisis. In summary, our prolongation project would considerably widen the scope and empirical basis of our theoretical approach and deliver insights of practical relevance into the fields of occupational psychology, counseling (e.g., in academia), and therapy.
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