Envisioning the Future and Self-Regulation

Shelley E. Taylor

in Predictions in the Brain

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780195395518
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897230 | DOI:
Envisioning the Future and Self-Regulation

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This chapter reviews research on mental simulations. Mental simulations can help people manage potential problems and reach goals that might otherwise be more difficult. Such activities as health behavior change, achievement of personal goals, and consumer decision making can all benefit from mental simulations. Although imagining either the outcome one wishes to achieve or the process required to achieve it can be helpful, on the whole, the evidence supporting the value of process simulations, namely envisioning the steps needed to achieve a goal, is more consistent. Process simulations appear to aid performance primarily by helping people come up with specific plans and steps that they can take to solve problems or further their goals, and by helping people manage their emotions effectively. As such, the range of behaviors to which process simulations might profitably be directed could be enlarged.

Keywords: predictions; mental simulations; brain; future planning; potential problems

Chapter.  6652 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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