Bending perception to desire: Effects of task demands, motivation, and cognitive resources

Abstract

Determinants of motivated judgments were examined in this research. Three experiments investigated how dominant motivation, biasing difficulty and mental resources combine to produce motivationally congruent judgments. Studies 1 and 2 showed that where a biasing motivation is dominant the presence of resources can augment a motivational bias in judgment. Study 3 replicated that result and showed that resources contribute to the formation of biased judgments only where biasing is difficult to accomplish, but not where it is relatively easy to accomplish. In addition, Study 3 showed that where the accuracy motivation is dominant and biasing is the easy default, unbiased judgments will occur only in the presence (vs. absence) of resources. In contrast, where unbiased judgments are easy to come by, such judgments occur irrespective of resources.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by a grant from the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to the first author and an NSF Grant 0314291/0313483 to the second author.

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Correspondence to Jocelyn J. Bélanger.

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Bélanger, J.J., Kruglanski, A.W., Chen, X. et al. Bending perception to desire: Effects of task demands, motivation, and cognitive resources. Motiv Emot 38, 802–814 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-014-9436-z

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Keywords

  • Cognitive energetics theory
  • Goals
  • Cognitive resources
  • Decision making