Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 620–634 | Cite as

Emotion and control in the planning of goals

  • Sam J. Maglio
  • Peter M. Gollwitzer
  • Gabriele Oettingen
Original Paper


By planning the what, where, and when of pursuing a goal, people improve the likelihood that they will ultimately attain that goal. Whereas research to date has explored the breadth of this planning effect and its underlying processes, contextual variables that influence the formation and execution of plans have mostly gone unexplored. In light of the central role played by emotional experience in goal pursuit, its impact on planning remains an open question of both theoretical and practical importance. Here, we suggest that anger and sadness—and their corresponding, distinct cognitive appraisal patterns regarding control—differentially impact (1) the tendency to plan and (2) the implementation of plans. Anger (greater control) led to the formation of more plans for goal-directed behavior (Studies 1 and 2) and faster execution of real behavior as prescribed by predetermined plans (Study 3). Broader implications for theories of emotion and goal pursuit are discussed.


Anger Sadness Goals Planning Action 



We thank the Motivation Lab at NYU and the Social Psychology and Motivation team at the University of Konstanz for feedback on this project and Eric Wang, Alex Jaudas, Paul Illg, Marina Bode, and Dominik Busching for their support with execution of the studies. This research was supported by grants to the second and third authors from the German Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam J. Maglio
    • 1
  • Peter M. Gollwitzer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gabriele Oettingen
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoCanada
  2. 2.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.University of KonstanzConstanceGermany
  4. 4.University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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