- When you have to climb downhill to reach the top: The effect of action versus state orientation on solving a goal-subgoal conflict in the Tower of Hanoi task
- Experimental Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 61 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Complex problems often include a response conflict between a subgoal and a final goal. The present experiment investigated the roles of situational demands and individual differences in self-regulation on solving goal-subgoal conflicts in a computerized Tower of Hanoi task. Action-oriented versus state-oriented individuals were randomly assigned to a demanding condition in which they deliberated about a personal decision problem, or to a nondemanding control condition. In line with expectations state-oriented individuals had greater difficulties to solve goal-subgoal conflicts in the demanding compared to the nondemanding condition. Action-oriented individuals performed well in both conditions. In line with Personality Systems Interactions theory (Kuhl, 2000) the findings show that complex problem solving depends on how well people are able to deal with situational demands.
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