Planning and the Control of Action

Frank Wieber, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the role of spontaneous and strategic planning in turning an individual’s knowledge into action. The authors introduce specific if-then plans regarding when, where, and how to act and discuss how such implementation intentions (IIs) support goal attainment. They then differentiate two ways in which IIs can be formed on the basis of goal-related knowledge. For spontaneously formed IIs they highlight the importance of the accessibility of goal-relevant knowledge. For strategically formed IIs they point to the importance of systematically selecting relevant goal-relevant knowledge and translating it into IIs by using the Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII) self-regulation strategy. The interplay of automatic and reflective processes is a focus of discussion. The authors suggest that strategic planning of the automatic activation of goal-relevant knowledge can support reflective decision-making and goal-directed actions through use of context-sensitive reminders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Space
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
ISSN (Print)1877-9220
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0580


  • Automatic process
  • Context-sensitive
  • Control of action
  • Decision-making
  • Goal attainment
  • Goal-related knowledge
  • Implementation intention
  • Mental contrasting
  • Planning
  • Reflective process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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