Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
3584 CS UTRECHT
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"When do people represent actions in terms of outcomes?"

Institute
Universiteit Utrecht - Social, Health and Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Dan Sun

Supervisor(s)
Henk Aarts Promotor Utrecht University
Ruud Custers Daily Supervisor Utrecht University

Period
1 September 2017 - 31 August 2021

Funding
Nvt


Summary

Engaging in goal-directed behavior requires knowledge about how actions are related to outcomes. It is assumed that this knowledge is stored in action-outcome representations in which information about actions is associated with outcomes. As a result, people are able to select actions by thinking about the event one wants to produce. According to the ideomotor principle, even the mere ideation of an outcome would even be enough to set the relevant action in motion. Together, this explains how thinking of, or perceiving (social) outcomes or events influences behavior. Little is known, however, about the conditions under which action-outcome representations are formed. It is generally assumed this happens whenever people observe events that follow their actions, suggesting that people spontaneously encode these events as outcomes, linking them to the actions that produced them. However, this does not always appear to be the case. In the current project, we investigate the conditions under which action-outcome representations are formed. That is, we ask the question: “When do people actually represent events in the world as outcomes that are the result of their actions?”.


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