General Conclusions and Future Directions

The sheer number and diversity of the studies reviewed here is a testament to the return of motivational perspectives on cognition to the vanguard of psychology. The richness and consistency of the findings emerging from these studies is also a testament to the utility of this perspective in the study of thinking and reasoning. We optimistically forecast a further expansion of research informed by motivational perspectives and, in conclusion, briefly outline two general directions we believe should be priorities for the future.

The first direction involves expanding current conceptualizations of the ways in which motivational and cognitive processes interact during judgment. Although there is still much to be learned from examining the effects on thinking of people's motivations for certain outcomes (either directional or nondirectional), there may potentially be other important sources of motivated thought as well. In this chapter, we reviewed our own initial research on one of these possible sources - people's motivations for employing preferred strategies during judgment. We expect that further study will lead to the development of additional perspectives on the interface of motivation and cognition that go beyond both motivated outcomes and motivated strategies.

The second direction involves moving past research that examines different varieties of motivated thinking in isolation from one another (i.e., studying situations in which people are only motivated to achieve positive self-views or only motivated to be accurate). There is a need to consider how multiple goals, desires, and motives interact to influence the thought process - that is, the effects of patterns of motivational forces. For instance, it has been noted for some time now that people possess many potential objectives when processing information (e.g., Chen & Chaiken, 1999). Although it is certainly the case that, at times, objectives such as accuracy, ingrati-ation, or self-enhancement may be predominant (Kruglanski, 1 999), it is also true that there are many instances in which several of these objectives are pursued simultaneously. What happens when people not only want to be accurate but also want to please others or boost their own self-esteem? Studies addressing these questions are just beginning to appear, and early findings are indicating that important interactions can occur (Lundgren & Prislin, 1998; Nienhuis, Manstead, & Spears, 2001; Ruscher, Fiske, & Schnake, 2000).

Similarly, although we have made a distinction between outcome- and strategy-motivated thinking and discussed their effects independently, there are situations in which these two sources of motivation operate in concert. One of these situations has been the focus of recent studies by Molden and Higgins (2004). These studies examined how preferences for eager versus vigilant decision strategies influence people's generation of alternative explanations for their own success and failure. In addition to replicating both the previously discussed self-serving pattern of attributions for performance (an outcome-motivated effect) and the selection of a greater number of alternative attributions by those preferring eager strategies over vigilant strategies (a strategy-motivated effect), these studies showed that self-serving and strategic motivations interacted to determine the extent to which people generalized their current experiences to their future performance. Individuals using eager strategies, because they tended to consider multiple attributions, including both internal and external causes, showed only moderate generalization after both success and failure. In contrast, individuals using vigilant strategies, because they tended to consider only a few attributions, including primarily internal causes following success but external causes following failure, showed strong generalizations following success and almost no generalization after failure. These results demonstrate the importance of considering the effects of multiple sources of motivated reasoning simultaneously (see also Forster, Higgins, & Strack, 2000).

One final way in which investigating the cognitive effects of interacting motivational forces could be fruitfully expanded is by synthesizing work on how motivation influences reasoning with work on how affect influences reasoning (see Forgas, 2000; Martin & Clore, 2001). Great strides have been made in determining the mechanisms by which affective and emotional states can alter people's judgments. Many of the changes in the quality and quantity of information processing found in this research bear a striking resemblance to the motivational effects reviewed here. For example, positive moods have generally been found to support less thorough and complex information processing, similar to closure motivation, whereas negative moods have generally been found to support more thorough and complex information processing, similar to accuracy motivation (for a review, see Schwarz & Clore, 1996). This is not to say, however, that the effects reviewed here are actually just due to changes in emotion, because many of the studies discussed carefully controlled for affective influences and continued to find independent effects. Therefore, it would be fruitful to investigate how affective thinking may give rise to motivational thinking (e.g., Erber & Erber, 2000), and how motivational thinking may give rise to affective thinking (e.g., Higgins, 2000b), in order to develop a better understanding of how these two factors are related and what their combined and separate consequences might be.

In conclusion, this chapter reviewed research that displays the broad applicability of emerging motivational perspectives to the study of thinking and reasoning. Through this review, we attempted to convey the potential utility of these perspectives and to advocate a greater incorporation of principles of outcome- and strategy-based motivation in future research. The further refinement and elaboration of these principles, we believe, will benefit not only the study ofthink-ing but also cognitive science in general.

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