A study named desire: Local focus increases approach motivation for desserts
When we desire something, our approach motivation is high. Recent research shows affective states high in approach motivation cause attentional narrowing (localization) (e.g.; Gable and Harmon-Jones in Psychological Science 19:476–482, 2008; Juergensen and Demaree in Motivation and Emotion 39:580–588, 2015). Does the reciprocal relationship exist? That is, when our attention is narrowed, does our motivation to approach something desirable increase? To test this, we primed participants with either global or local attentional focus before viewing images of desirable items (e.g., desserts) or neutral items (e.g., furniture). Relative to participants primed with global attentional focus, participants primed with local attentional focus demonstrated greater approach motivation to desirable desserts compared to neutral items on an Approach Avoidance Task. Despite greater approach motivation for desserts, participants with localized attention did not subjectively rate desserts as more desirable than participants with global attention. These results suggest that increased approach motivation following local priming is evidenced at an implicit level only: participants appear to be unaware of appetitive images’ increased desirability.
KeywordsApproach motivation Global local focus Desire
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