Serra, Raymond Nicholas (2010-12). Approach Motivation and Attentional Breadth: Role of Construal Levels. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Previous research has observed that approach motivation can both increase and decrease attentional breadth. How does the same motivation have these seemingly divergent effects? Three studies tested the hypothesis that mental construal levels help to determine the breadth of approach-motivated attention. In all studies, construal levels were manipulated to be high or low and breadth of attention was assessed in the context of high approach motivation. Study 1 found that higher trait approach motivation predicts increased attentional breadth, but only following the induction of a high-level (versus low-level) mental construals. Study 2 found that, while viewing images of appetitive objects (i.e., desserts), high-level construals increased attentional breadth relative to low-level construals. Study 3, however, found little evidence that high (versus low) construal levels influenced attentional breadth while viewing images of appetitive or neutral objects. These results help to reconcile divergent past findings regarding approach motivation and breadth of attention, but the results fall short of providing definitive evidence for the hypothesized role of mental construal levels in approach-motivated attentional breadth.
  • Previous research has observed that approach motivation can both increase and decrease attentional breadth. How does the same motivation have these seemingly divergent effects? Three studies tested the hypothesis that mental construal levels help to determine the breadth of approach-motivated attention. In all studies, construal levels were manipulated to be high or low and breadth of attention was assessed in the context of high approach motivation.

    Study 1 found that higher trait approach motivation predicts increased attentional breadth, but only following the induction of a high-level (versus low-level) mental construals. Study 2 found that, while viewing images of appetitive objects (i.e., desserts), high-level construals increased attentional breadth relative to low-level construals. Study 3, however, found little evidence that high (versus low) construal levels influenced attentional breadth while viewing images of appetitive or neutral objects.

    These results help to reconcile divergent past findings regarding approach motivation and breadth of attention, but the results fall short of providing definitive evidence for the hypothesized role of mental construal levels in approach-motivated attentional breadth.

publication date

  • December 2010