Implicit motives and explicit goals: Two distinctive modes of motivational functioning and their relations to psychopathology

Johannes Michalak, Oliver Püschel, Jutta Joormann, Dietmar Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the past two decades, increasing evidence has been gathered in basic research on motivation for the view that two separate systems direct human behavior: an emotion-driven implicit system and a cognition-based explicit system. In two studies we examined the associations between avoidance tendencies in both motivational systems and psychopathology (study 1, 53 undergraduates; study 2, 65 outpatients suffering from anxiety or mood disorders). Avoidance tendencies in implicit motives were assessed with a semiprojective technique (Multi-Motive Grid, MMG). Avoidance tendencies of explicit personal goals were coded by two trained raters and by asking participants to judge the emotion they would expect to experience if they reached or failed to reach the goals. Psychopathology was assessed with various disorder-specific and unspecific questionnaires. In both studies, avoidance tendencies in the implicit as well as in the explicit system were associated with clinical symptoms and other functional impairments. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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