Self-regulation of commitment to reduce cigarette consumption: Mental contrasting of future with reality

Gabriele Oettingen, Doris Mayer, Jennifer Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The model of fantasy realisation (Oettingen, 2000) specifies mental contrasting of a positive future with negative reality as a strategy that creates strong goal commitments. We propose that fantasies about a positive and negative future produce strong goal commitments when contrasted with the respective reality. The present study supports this hypothesis in the area of reducing cigarette consumption. Mental contrasting of a positive future with negative reality as well as mental contrasting of a negative future with positive reality led to taking immediate action when participants had high expectations of success. Results indicate that both fantasies about a positive future and a negative future can be used to commit to goals that benefit health and prevent disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-977
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 29 2010



  • Expectations
  • Fantasies
  • Goal commitment
  • Mental contrasting
  • Self-regulation
  • Smoking reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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