Everyday temptations: An experience sampling study of desire, conflict, and self-control

Hofmann, Wilhelm, Baumeister, Roy F., Foerster, Georg and Vohs, Kathleen D. (2012) Everyday temptations: An experience sampling study of desire, conflict, and self-control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102 6: 1318-1335. doi:10.1037/a0026545

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Author Hofmann, Wilhelm
Baumeister, Roy F.
Foerster, Georg
Vohs, Kathleen D.
Title Everyday temptations: An experience sampling study of desire, conflict, and self-control
Journal name Journal of Personality and Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3514
Publication date 2012-06-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0026545
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 102
Issue 6
Start page 1318
End page 1335
Total pages 18
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Abstract How often and how strongly do people experience desires, to what extent do their desires conflict with other goals, and how often and successfully do people exercise self-control to resist their desires? To investigate desire and attempts to control desire in everyday life, we conducted a large-scale experience sampling study based on a conceptual framework integrating desire strength, conflict, resistance (use of self-control), and behavior enactment. A sample of 205 adults wore beepers for a week. They furnished 7,827 reports of desire episodes and completed personality measures of behavioral inhibition system/behavior activation system (BIS/BAS) sensitivity, trait self-control, perfectionism, and narcissistic entitlement. Results suggest that desires are frequent, variable in intensity, and largely unproblematic. Those urges that do conflict with other goals tend to elicit resistance, with uneven success. Desire strength, conflict, resistance, and self-regulatory success were moderated in multiple ways by personality variables as well as by situational and interpersonal factors such as alcohol consumption, the mere presence of others, and the presence of others who already had enacted the desire in question. Whereas personality generally had a stronger impact on the dimensions of desire that emerged early in its course (desire strength and conflict), situational factors showed relatively more influence on components later in the process (resistance and behavior enactment). In total, these findings offer a novel and detailed perspective on the nature of everyday desires and associated self-regulatory successes and failures.
Keyword Desire
Goal conflict
Trait self-control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 1RL1AA017541
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 169 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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