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Motivated Cognition

  • By: William M. P. Klein & Matthew M. Monin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

When people think and reason, they sometimes have a vested interest in the outcome of their thinking and reasoning. For example, people engage in wishful thinking about whether or not their favorite sports team will win, or whether a relative will survive a risky surgical procedure. In these situations, people may be less open-minded than they might be in other situations in which they do not have a preferred outcome in mind.

Motivated cognition refers to the influence of motives on various types of thought processes such as memory, information processing, reasoning, judgment, and decision making. Many of these processes are relevant to social phenomena such as self-evaluation, person perception, stereotypes, persuasion, and communication. It is important to understand the influence of motivation because such research ...

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