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The selfs symbolic role in implicit approach/avoidance: Movement time evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Michael D. Robinson
  • D. Zabelina
  • R. Boyd
  • K. Bresin
  • S. Ode
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)311-322
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/06/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Theories of self-regulation emphasize the special role that the symbolic self may play in approach and avoidance movements, but experimental evidence is lacking. In two experiments (total N = 157), participants moved either a self-relevant (e.g., “me”) or non-self (e.g., “not me”) agent to one of two locations, one occupied by a positive word and the other occupied by a negative word. In both experiments, the movement agent interacted with the destination valence such that it was only the symbolic self that moved more quickly to positive rather than negative locations. These results established a role for the symbolic self in approach/avoidance that had been questioned, thereby supporting both classic and contemporary self-related theories of approach and avoidance.