Lead me not into temptation: Using cognitive reappraisal to reduce goal inconsistent behavior

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Abstract

Temptations besiege us, and we must resist their appeal if we are to achieve our long-term goals. In two studies, we tested the hypothesis that cognitive reappraisal could be used to successfully maintain performance in a task embedded in temptation. In Study 1, 62 participants had to search for information on the Internet while resisting attractive task-irrelevant content on preselected sites. In Study 2, 58 participants had to count target words in a funny TV sequence. Compared to the no-reappraisal condition, participants who understood the situation as a test of willpower (the reappraisal condition) (1) performed better at the task (Studies 1 and 2), and (2) were less tempted by the attractive content of the TV sequence (Study 2). These findings suggest that, by making the temptation less attractive and the task more appealing, cognitive reappraisal can help us resist temptation. © 2012 Leroy et al.

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Leroy, V., Grégoire, J., Magen, E., Gross, J. J., & Mikolajczak, M. (2012). Lead me not into temptation: Using cognitive reappraisal to reduce goal inconsistent behavior. PLoS ONE, 7(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039493

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