Effects of Mindset on Positive Illusions

Shelley E. Taylor, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


S. E. Taylor and J. D. Brown's (1988) position that mentally healthy people exhibit positive illusions raises a dilemma: How do people function effectively if their perceptions are positively biased? Using Gollwitzer's deliberative-implemental mindset distinction, we assessed whether people in a deliberative mindset show less evidence of positive illusions than people in an implemental mindset. Participants completed a mindset task and assessments of mood, self-perceptions, and perceived (in)vulnerability to risk. Deliberation led to worsened mood, greater perceived risk, and poorer self-perceptions, relative to implementation; control (no mindset) participants typically scored in between. Study 3 demonstrated that the mindset manipulation corresponds to how people actually make decisions or implement them. Results suggest that people use relatively realistic thinking when setting goals and more positive thinking when implementing them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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