Using High-Level Construal and Perceptions of Changeability to Promote Self-Change over Self-Protection Motives in Response to Negative Feedback

Diagnostic negative information presents people with a motivational dilemma. Although negative feedback can provide useful information with which to guide future self-improvement efforts, it also presents short-term affective costs. We propose that construal level, jointly with the perceived changeability of the feedback domain, determines whether people choose to accept or dismiss such information. Whereas low-level construal promotes short-term self-protection motivation (promoting dismissal), high-level construal promotes long-term self-change motivation (promoting acceptance)—to the extent that change is perceived as possible. Four studies support this hypothesis and examine underlying cognitive and motivational mechanisms. The present work may provide an integrative theoretical framework for understanding when people will be open to and accept negative diagnostic information, and has important practical implications for promoting self-change efforts.

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Method(s) Used in Paper

How vs. Why Mindset Manipulation

by Antonio Freitas, Peter Gollwitzer, and Yaacov Trope.
Published in "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology" in 2004.

APA-Format Citation

Belding, J N, et al. “Using High-Level Construal and Perceptions of Changeability to Promote Self-Change over Self-Protection Motives in Response to Negative Feedback.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25910942.