By planning the what, where, and when of pursuing a goal, people improve the likelihood that they will ultimately attain that goal. Whereas research to date has explored the breadth of this planning effect and its underlying processes, contextual variables that influence the formation and execution of plans have mostly gone unexplored. In light of the central role played by emotional experience in goal pursuit, its impact on planning remains an open question of both theoretical and practical importance. Here, we suggest that anger and sadness—and their corresponding, distinct cognitive appraisal patterns regarding control—differentially impact (1) the tendency to plan and (2) the implementation of plans. Anger (greater control) led to the formation of more plans for goal-directed behavior (Studies 1 and 2) and faster execution of real behavior as prescribed by predetermined plans (Study 3). Broader implications for theories of emotion and goal pursuit are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology