Ideal Versus Ought Predilections for Approach and Avoidance: Distinct Self-Regulatory Systems

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Abstract

Two studies using different paradigms activated either ideal self-guides (a person's hopes or wishes) or ought self-guides (a person's sense of duty and responsibility) and measured Ss' concern with different forms of self-regulation: approaching matches to desired end states or mismatches to undesired end states and avoiding mismatches to desired end states or matches to undesired end states. A 3rd study asked ideal versus ought discrepant Ss to select among alternative strategies for friendship. The results suggest that a concern with approach is greater for ideal than ought self-regulation, whereas a concern with avoidance is greater for ought than ideal self-regulation.

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