Psychology Seminars - C221 Wednesdays 13:00-14:00
Mark Elliot, University of Strathclyde
Abstract: Implementation intentions (Gollwitzer, 1993) are simple IF-THEN plans that are designed to help people over-come their inability to convert their goal intentions (e.g., to avoid speeding) into action (e.g., on-road compliance with speed limits). In the IF component of an implementation intention people are required to specify a critical situation in which to perform an intended behaviour. In the THEN component of an implementation intention they are required to specify a goal direct response that helps to ensure the intended behaviour is performed when the critical situation is encountered. This programme of research was designed to investigate the extent to which implementation intentions constitute a useful strategy for reducing drivers’ speeding behaviour – a highly habitual behaviour that is performed by many drivers despite them possessing generally positive goal intentions to avoid speeding. The presentation will outline a series of studies, which together show that implementation intentions can result in large-sized reductions in speeding, that implementation intentions ‘work’ by breaking the effects of habit, thereby allowing goal intentions to initiate desired behaviour, and that implementation intentions can generate behaviour-change not only in critical situations that are specified in the IF component of the plan but also in contextually similar situations, in line with a stimulus generalization effect.
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