Nonconscious goal pursuit and the effortful control of behavior.

Ran R. Hassin, Henk Aarts, Baruch Eitam, Ruud Custers, Tali Kleiman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter begins with a discussion of existing literature on automatic, nonconscious goal pursuit. The adaptiveness paradox: On the one hand, in order to be effective, nonconscious goal pursuit must be adaptive. On the other hand, nonconscious, automatic processes are widely believed to rely on existing networks of associations and are hence thought to be inflexible. Three new hypotheses are proposed to resolve the paradox, because at their core lies the contention that working memory (WM) is involved in nonconscious goal pursuit. It is argued that given the nature of WM involvement in nonconscious goal pursuit allows them to be flexible. A series of studies that focus on one particular type of automatic processes—nonconscious goal pursuit—is reviewed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford handbook of human action
EditorsE. Morsella, J. A. Bargh, P. M. Gollwitzer
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2009


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