Successful self-regulation involves the ability to pursue one's goals and purposes in a flexible and adaptive manner. Key to this ability is the capacities to inhibit, monitor, and plan one's behavior, always within the constraints afforded by one's social and physical environment. Such mechanisms have traditionally been regarded as conscious and strategic. However, recent research has revealed several distinct forms of self regulation - evaluative, motivational, and behavioral - which operate nonconsciously, without the person's intention or awareness. These forms of self-regulation have been shown to facilitate the individual's successful adaptation to the present situation in many ways. Yet the mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood, nor are the ways these effects combine and interact with each other. Accordingly, the long-term objectives of the proposed research are to (a) further elucidate the underlying mechanisms of these processes, (b) and identify the 'real-life' conditions under which they occur. These issues will be addressed through a variety of approaches. For example, some studies will examine how nonconscious goals direct selective attention within rich, naturalistic scenes, with this attention measured (via eye tracking ? technology) as a probable mediator of priming effects elicited by that environment. Others will ? assess whether the blocking or frustration of nonconscious goals produces aggressive tendencies, as does the blocking of conscious goals. Studies will also extend work on interpersonal goal priming from the domain of close relationships to the broader range of others with whom one interacts on a regular basis (e. g., based on their social roles, or official investigatority), and to the domain of societal norms and expectations, as in obedience and conformity phenomena. Understanding the nature, scope, and function of these nonconscious self-regulatory mechanisms is essential for a complete account of healthy functioning and psychological well-being. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-D (02))
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Quinn, Kevin J
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Yale University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New Haven
United States
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Huang, Julie Y; Bargh, John A (2014) The Selfish Goal: autonomously operating motivational structures as the proximate cause of human judgment and behavior. Behav Brain Sci 37:121-35
Harris, Jennifer L; Pierce, Melissa; Bargh, John A (2014) Priming effect of antismoking PSAs on smoking behaviour: a pilot study. Tob Control 23:285-90
Gray, Jeremy R; Bargh, John A; Morsella, Ezequiel (2013) Neural correlates of the essence of conscious conflict: fMRI of sustaining incompatible intentions. Exp Brain Res 229:453-65
Huang, Julie Y; Ackerman, Joshua M; Bargh, John A (2013) Superman to the rescue: Simulating physical invulnerability attenuates exclusion-related interpersonal biases. J Exp Soc Psychol 49:349-354
Bargh, John A; Shalev, Idit (2012) The substitutability of physical and social warmth in daily life. Emotion 12:154-62
Kang, Yoona; Williams, Lawrence E; Clark, Margaret S et al. (2011) Physical temperature effects on trust behavior: the role of insula. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 6:507-15
Huang, Julie Y; Song, Hyunjin; Bargh, John A (2011) Smooth Trajectories Travel Farther into the Future: Perceptual Fluency Effects on Prediction of Trend Continuation. J Exp Soc Psychol 47:506-508
Ackerman, Joshua M; Nocera, Christopher C; Bargh, John A (2010) Incidental haptic sensations influence social judgments and decisions. Science 328:1712-5
Morsella, Ezequiel; Krieger, Stephen C; Bargh, John A (2010) Minimal neuroanatomy for a conscious brain: homing in on the networks constituting consciousness. Neural Netw 23:14-5
Hassin, Ran R; Bargh, John A; Zimerman, Shira (2009) Automatic and Flexible: The Case of Non-conscious Goal Pursuit. Soc Cogn 27:20-36

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