Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/10541
Title: Will You Train Harder for the Next Marathon? The Effect of Counterfactual and Prefactual Thinking on Marathon Runners’ Intentions.
Authors: Stragà, Marta
Ferrante, Donatella
Keywords: Counterfactual thinking; Prefactual thinking; Preparatory functionPredictionIntention
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Marta, Stragà, Donatella, Ferrante, "Will You Train Harder for the Next Marathon? The Effect of Counterfactual and Prefactual Thinking on Marathon Runners’ Intentions." in: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, Walter Gerbino (eds.) "TSPC2014. Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition, November 27-28", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2014, pp. 144-146.
Abstract: 
According to the literature, imagining how things would have
been better in the past (counterfactual thinking) serves to
prepare for future, highlighting prescriptions that can be
converted in future intentions and in a more appropriate
behavior. This view implicitly assumes that people think
about controllable elements in their counterfactual thoughts
and that the content of imaginary thoughts about the past and
the future is the same. However, some studies (Ferrante,
Girotto, Stragà, & Walsh, 2013) found a temporal asymmetry
between past and future hypothetical thinking: thinking about
how a failure could be a success in the future (prefactual
thinking) elicit more controllable elements than thinking
about how the same failure could have been a success in the
past. In the present study, we replicated and extended
previous findings in a more ecological setting. Athletes who
have just run a marathon were asked to generate
counterfactual or prefactual thoughts. The results showed the
same temporal asymmetry found in Ferrante et al. (2013). In
addition, we found that focusing on training, instead of
focusing on other elements, resulted in a greater intention to
train harder for the next marathon in the prefactual condition,
but not in the counterfactual condition. Taken together, these
findings question the postulated preparatory function of
counterfactual thinking.
Type: Book Chapter
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/10541
eISBN: 978-88-8303-610-1
Appears in Collections:TSPC2014: Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition, November 27th-28th 2014

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