A wealth of research has documented the positive associations between autonomy and health and well-being. Acting in autonomous, self-determined ways promotes intrinsic motivation and has been linked to more successful goal pursuit in numerous domains. However, it is unclear how motivation might affect the ability or tendency to use self-regulatory strategies. If such strategies are the building blocks that enable successful goal pursuit, then investigating how motivation affects strategy implementation might help elucidate the mechanisms underlying the relationship between motivation and goal pursuit.
The goal of this dissertation was to assess whether and how motivation impacts goal pursuit during a novel appetitive self-regulation task in which participants use cognitive reappraisal to control their cravings for personally-desired foods. Since choice is a primary method for supporting autonomy, and autonomy is associated with greater intrinsic motivation and more successful goal pursuit, we expected that manipulating motivation via choice would result in enhanced goal pursuit during this task. Across three experiments, we showed that autonomous and controlled goal pursuit were dissociable neurally, and that autonomous goal pursuit was perceived as less difficult across task goals. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the degree to which choice helps or hinders goal pursuit is dependent on how self-determined and autonomously motivated choice feels. Together, these results help refine neurobiological and social psychological theories of motivation, self-regulation, and goal pursuit.
This dissertation includes previously published co-authored material.
|Advisor:||Pfeifer, Jennifer, Berkman, Elliot|
|Commitee:||Zeithamova, Dagmar, Giuliani, Nicole|
|School:||University of Oregon|
|Department:||Department of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-B 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Neurosciences, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Goal pursuit, Motivation, Neuroimaging, Self-regulation|
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