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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Travel Grant Report

04.11.2015, by Kai Sassenberg in grant report

Johannes Seehusen (University of Groningen)
Visit to Ayelet Fishbach (Booth School of Business, University of Chicago)

I started my PhD at the University of Groningen in 2012 under the supervision of Kai Epstude and Russell Spears on the cognitive underpinnings of self-control and goal pursuit. The EASP travel grant gave me the opportunity to visit the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. During my visit, I collaborated with Prof. Ayelet Fishbach on a research project and had the chance to present my research in one of her lab meetings, attend workshops, extend my professional network and attend the SSM and APS conferences in New York.

My meetings with Prof. Fishbach have been extremely inspiring. We mainly focused on developing a new research project investigating the effect of alternatives on the exercise of planned goal pursuits. For example, we are interested whether the availability of a Plan B influences the extent to which people follow through on their Plan A. We discussed a theoretical framework for the project, designed several empirical studies, and collected data for an initial study. The results were very insightful and encouraged us to follow through on this research. At the moment, we are planning to conduct several follow-up studies and aim to write up a manuscript, which we intend to submit to a journal in the near future.

Furthermore, I attended the APS and SSM conferences in New York, where I held a poster presentation on one of the empirical chapters of my dissertation. More specifically, I presented two experiments, in which we demonstrated that the availability of counterfactual temptation increases a sense of self-regulatory efficacy and motivates future goal pursuits. I met exceptional scholars in the field of motivation research during these conferences and received extremely helpful and inspiring feedback on my work.

Undoubtedly, the EASP travel grant made a significant contribution to my development as a psychological researcher. I would like to thank Professor Fishbach for the time she dedicated on our research, the EASP for making this inspiring experience possible, and last but not least, Sibylle Classen for her kindness and support.