Mental Contrasting and the Self-Regulation of Responding to Negative Feedback

Andreas Kappes, Gabriele Oettingen, Hyeonju Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mentally contrasting a desired future with impeding reality promotes goal pursuit when expectations of success are high and curbs goal pursuit when expectations of success are low. Four studies tested whether mental contrasting affects responses to goal-relevant negative feedback. Mental contrasting promoted the processing of negative feedback (Studies 1 and 2), which in turn helped participants to form plans beneficial for goal pursuit (Study 2). Mental contrasting also protected the self-view of competence against negative feedback (Study 3) and facilitated beneficial attributions for negative feedback (Study 4). All effects occurred in line with expectations of success. These results suggest that mental contrasting regulates effective responses to negative feedback by bringing goal pursuit in line with expectations of success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-857
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012



  • expectations
  • goal commitment
  • goal pursuit
  • mental contrasting
  • negative feedback
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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