Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Primed Interference: The Cognitive and Behavioral Costs of an Incongruity between Chronic and Primed Motivational Orientations, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


Research has shown that temporarily primed motivational orientations have essentially the same effects on how people pursue their goals as their chronic orientations. This article shows that, despite the interchangeability of temporary and chronic motivations, primed motivational orientations that are incongruent with chronic orientations create interference, requiring the deployment of cognitive resources and thus undermining performance on subsequent tasks that rely on these resources. Across 6 studies, we primed motivational orientations that were either congruent or incongruent with participants' chronic orientations and then assessed their performance on subsequent tasks that required cognitive resources. Consistent with the primed interference hypothesis, we found that incongruity between temporary and chronic motivational orientations undermined participants' (a) inhibition of incorrect but highly accessible responses, (b) mental arithmetic, (c) analytical reasoning, and (d) resistance to temptation. These results--which were observed following the activation of motivations for promotion or prevention (Studies 1-2 and 5-6), high or low need for belonging (Study 3), and high or low power orientations (Study 4)--illustrate the broad implications of holding incongruent chronic and primed orientations.




Monika Lisjak, Daniel Molden, Angela Y. Lee

Date Published



Lisjak, Monika, Daniel Molden, and Angela Y. Lee. 2012. Primed Interference: The Cognitive and Behavioral Costs of an Incongruity between Chronic and Primed Motivational Orientations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more

Take Action