The influence of abstract and concrete mindsets on anticipating and guiding others' self-regulatory efforts

Antonio L. Freitas, Peter Gollwitzer, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To investigate how people anticipate and attempt to shape others' self-regulatory efforts, this work examined the impact of abstract and concrete mindsets on attention to goal-relevant aspects of others' situations. An abstract (relative to a concrete) mindset, by making accessible the cognitive operation of considering activities' purpose (versus process) was predicted to focus attention on how others' self-evaluative situations could impact others' long-term aims of self-knowledge and self-improvement, thus facilitating the anticipation and preference that others pursue accurate, even self-critical, feedback. Participants in an abstract (relative to a concrete) mindset both anticipated (Experiment 1) and suggested (Experiments 2a and b) that others pursue realistic rather than overly positive self-relevant information, with the latter effect apparently explained by the salience of abstract versus concrete goal-relevant features of others' situations (Experiment 2b). Implications for self-regulatory mindsets, as well as for interpersonal relations, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-752
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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