Visual Attention and Goal Pursuit: Deliberative and Implemental Mindsets Affect Breadth of Attention

Oliver B. Büttner, Frank Wieber, Anna Maria Schulz, Ute C. Bayer, Arnd Florack, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mindset theory suggests that a deliberative mindset entails openness to information in one’s environment, whereas an implemental mindset entails filtering of information. We hypothesized that this open- versus closed-mindedness influences individuals’ breadth of visual attention. In Studies 1 and 2, we induced an implemental or deliberative mindset, and measured breadth of attention using participants’ length estimates of x-winged Müller-Lyer figures. Both studies demonstrate a narrower breadth of attention in the implemental mindset than in the deliberative mindset. In Study 3, we manipulated participants’ mindsets and measured the breadth of attention by tracking eye movements during scene perception. Implemental mindset participants focused on foreground objects, whereas deliberative mindset participants attended more evenly to the entire scene. Our findings imply that deliberative versus implemental mindsets already operate at the level of visual attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1248-1259
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2014


  • eye tracking
  • mindsets
  • motivation/goal setting
  • self-regulation
  • visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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