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Needs instigate positive fantasies of idealized futures

Kappes, Heather Barry ORCID: 0000-0002-6335-3888, Schwörer, Bettina and Oettingen, Gabriele (2012) Needs instigate positive fantasies of idealized futures. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42 (3). pp. 299-307. ISSN 0046-2772

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Identification Number: 10.1002/ejsp.1854


One form that mental time travel takes is fantasies about the future. Research to date has not established when people generate fantasies that depict an imagined future as particularly positive. We identify need state as a variable promoting positive fantasies about relevant stimuli (i.e., those that could address the need). In four studies, people with an aroused need (or with a stronger need) generated more positive fantasies depicting idealized future scenarios that were relevant to addressing the need, compared with people without this need (or with a weaker need). These results held for a variety of needs (meaning in life, drinking, relatedness, and power) and whether needs were manipulated (Studies 1–3) or measured (Study 4). The findings shed light on when and why people depict imagined futures as particularly positive.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 John Wiley & Sons
Divisions: Management
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2012 10:15
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:28

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