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Advances in Psychological Science    2017, Vol. 25 Issue (5) : 846-856     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00846
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The double-edged effect and mechanism of episodic future thinking on goal attainment
WANG Tong; YANG Qing; HUANG Xiting
(Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
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Abstract  

Episodic future thinking (EFT) is the psychological process of projecting oneself into thinking and experiencing future self-related episodes in advance. EFT affects goal attainment in a double-edged way: process simulation and the generation of negative thoughts or images would facilitate goal attainment, while experiencing positive thoughts or images about a desired future would have adverse effects. Motivation level and clarity of implementation intention may be crucial in determining whether the effect of EFT on goal attainment would be beneficial or not. Therefore, by promoting motivation and clarity of implementation intention, related interventions could be developed to turn the deleterious effect of EFT into a beneficial one. Future studies should explore the cognitive and neural mechanisms of effects of different types of EFT on goal attainment, and should discuss how factors such as goal features and personality moderate the effect of EFT on goal attainment.

Keywords episodic future thinking      goal attainment      beneficial      deleterious      motivation      implementation intentions      interventions     
Corresponding Authors: HUANG Xiting, E-mail: xthuang@swu.edu.cn    
Issue Date: 15 May 2017
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WANG Tong
YANG Qing
HUANG Xiting
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WANG Tong,YANG Qing,HUANG Xiting. The double-edged effect and mechanism of episodic future thinking on goal attainment[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2017, 25(5): 846-856.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00846     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2017/V25/I5/846
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