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Conference papers

Motivational impact of imagining future events : influence of specific vs. generic possible selves

Abstract : Prior research on autobiographical memory has shown that generic memories of success and specific memories of failure resulted in better motivation and performance than generic memories of failure and specific memories of success. The present study examined whether similar results would be found when dealing with possible selves (PS), defined as individuals' ideas of what they would like to become or fear becoming. In a student sample (N = 80), we used a mental imagery procedure to induce either success or failure PS related to academic achievement in the following year (experiencing a "disastrous" vs. a "particularly good" semester). Participants were then asked to imagine how they would behave and feel either on a specific day or throughout the whole period. Evocation of these PS was followed by measures of self-efficacy and academic motivation. The predicted pattern of results was obtained for academic motivation: generic success PS and specific failure ones resulted in higher scores than specific success PS or generic failure ones. Self-efficacy scores were higher in the specific failure PS condition compared to the generic failure one. However, no difference was found between the two success PS conditions. Overall the results support a similarity hypothesis between the properties of past personal memories and future event anticipations. Conceptual and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
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Contributor : Sophie Brunot Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, December 3, 2018 - 4:46:14 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 13, 2021 - 12:10:02 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01943273, version 1


Anne-Laure de Place, Sophie Brunot. Motivational impact of imagining future events : influence of specific vs. generic possible selves. The 14th Meeting of European Congress of Psychology, Jul 2015, Milan, Italy. ⟨hal-01943273⟩



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