Approach and avoidance are two basic motivational orientations. Their activation influences cognitive and perceptive processes: Previous work suggests that an approach orientation instigates a focus on larger units as compared to avoidance. Study 1 confirms this assumption using a paradigm that more directly taps a person's tendency to represent objects as belonging to small or large units than prior studies. It was further predicted that the self should also be represented as belonging to larger units, and hence be more interdependent under approach than under avoidance. Study 2 supports this prediction. As a consequence of this focus on belonging to larger units, it was finally predicted that approach results in a stronger identification with one's in-group than avoidance. Studies 3 and 4 support that prediction.
- Processing style
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