Mental contrasting of the future and reality to master negative feedback

Gabriele Oettingen, Andreas Kappes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Negative feedback is an inevitable part of successful goal attainment. For example, one sets out to jog 3 miles but has to stop after 1.5 miles, gasping for breath. This feedback may be acknowledged as important information suggesting that one needs to get into better shape. However, one may also interpret it as an indicator of low athleticism, leading one to give up on the desire to establish a regular exercise routine. Kurt Lewin (1948) described how such dilemmas capture the paradoxical nature of the pursuit of wish fulfillment. For successful wish fulfillment, people need to acknowledge negative feedback without letting it harm their positive beliefs in themselves or their beliefs about what the future holds for them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Imagination and Mental Simulation
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781136678103
ISBN (Print)1841698873, 9781841698878
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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