RESEARCH PAPER
Reaching goals through different means: will and cognition in the action of people with low and high action control
 
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1
SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
2
Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Poland
Submission date: 2019-05-21
Final revision date: 2019-08-29
Acceptance date: 2019-09-05
Online publication date: 2019-09-26
Publication date: 2019-12-30
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(4):274–287
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background:
When observing how people strive to achieve their goals, we can discern two main styles. Some people accomplish their goals mainly through strong will while others may need additional and compound plans to rely on. Two different modes of implemen-tation of intentional behavior are explored.

Participants and procedure:
Two correlational studies on young Polish adults (N = 227 and N = 516) were performed. Structural equations and modeling techniques using the partial least squares (PLS) method were used to verify the predictions.

Results:
The first investigation revealed that the intention of saving money is achieved through the mechanism of implementation inten-tion. It was found that people with a low level of action control (state-orientation) and people with a high level of action control (action-orientation) implement a similar level of saving behavior. However, they do so in different ways. Action-oriented partic-ipants also seemed to make plans, and these plans supported goal attainment, though this process did not affect behavior to the same degree as for state-oriented participants. The results are discussed, drawing on the Julius Kuhl Action Control Theory as well as its explication which is the Theory of Personality Systems Interactions.

Conclusions:
The present research indicates that cognitive mechanisms may compensate for volitional deficits (planning behavior) in people with low action control, whereas in the case of people with a high level of action control their will (intensification of intentions) plays a crucial role.

 
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