Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > Highly Restrictive Goals Turn Temptations into Multifinal Means

A goal that is characterized by highly restrictive demands threatens personal behavioral freedoms, activating psychological reactance. Reactance is a goal to restore the freedom to engage in those threatened behaviors. As such, temptations that are forbidden by the highly restrictive goal satisfy the goal to indulge in an appealing behavior (the definition of temptation), and the freedom goal activated by psychological reactance. The present work investigated the hypothesis that highly restrictive goals transform temptations into multifinal means. Consequently increasing their perceived value and decreasing their perceived instrumentality, compared to unifinal alternatives. Two studies supported this hypothesis. Temptations-means were perceived as less instrumental than goal-means in the context of a highly restrictive goal, but not in the context of a less restrictive goal (Study 2). Additionally, highly restrictive goals caused greater desire for restricted than non-restricted temptations, but a less restrictive goal did not (Study 3). These findings demonstrated that when goals are framed as highly restrictive, temptations are transformed from unifinal into multifinal means.