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A Theory of Action Thought Structure

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024290/00001

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Title: A Theory of Action Thought Structure How Verb Aspect Influences Memory and Future Actions
Physical Description: 1 online resource (63 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Hart, William
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: behavior, language, self, whorfian
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Psychologists have long know that how people think about their own behavior influences how successful they are, but the specific verbs used in this thinking had received no attention. I hypothesized that people who discuss their past behavior (solving a problem) in terms of what they were doing would imagine their behavior as ongoing (vs. completed) and therefore would gain better access to the actual thoughts that facilitated the behavior. Moreover, these thoughts might translate into better performance at a future time. In four experiments, participants performed a task in the lab and then described their behavior on the task either in terms of what they were doing or what they did on it. These experiments demonstrated that describing a past behavior in terms of what I was doing (vs. what I did) enhanced recall for specific details of the experience, and increased success on a similar task later.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by William Hart.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Shepperd, James A.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2009-11-30

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024290:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024290/00001

Material Information

Title: A Theory of Action Thought Structure How Verb Aspect Influences Memory and Future Actions
Physical Description: 1 online resource (63 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Hart, William
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: behavior, language, self, whorfian
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Psychologists have long know that how people think about their own behavior influences how successful they are, but the specific verbs used in this thinking had received no attention. I hypothesized that people who discuss their past behavior (solving a problem) in terms of what they were doing would imagine their behavior as ongoing (vs. completed) and therefore would gain better access to the actual thoughts that facilitated the behavior. Moreover, these thoughts might translate into better performance at a future time. In four experiments, participants performed a task in the lab and then described their behavior on the task either in terms of what they were doing or what they did on it. These experiments demonstrated that describing a past behavior in terms of what I was doing (vs. what I did) enhanced recall for specific details of the experience, and increased success on a similar task later.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by William Hart.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Shepperd, James A.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2009-11-30

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024290:00001


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A THEORY OF ACTION THOUGHT STRUCTURE: HOW VER B ASPECT INFLUENCES MEMORY AND FUTURE ACTIONS By WILLIAM HART A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009 1

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2009 William Hart 2

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To Lisa, my parents, and sisters 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT S This paper could not have been possible w ithout the help of Dr. Dolores Albarracn. Throughout this project, Dolores was a major source of knowledge and inspiration. I express sincere appreciation to Dr. John Chambers, Dr. Wind Cowles, Dr. Ira Fischler, and Dr. James Shepperd for serving on my committee. In additi on to my committee members, I also thank the members in the Attitudes and Persuasion Lab at th e Psychology Department at the University of Florida and the Social Action Lab at the Univer sity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the discussion of the ideas reported in this dissertation. Last but not le ast, I need to thank my family and friends for their love and support. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................11 Action Thoughts Affect Self-Percepti on, Emotion, and Future Behavior..............................1 Self-Perception................................................................................................................13 Emotion........................................................................................................................ ...15 Future Behavior...............................................................................................................16 Action Thought Structure and Self-Regulation ......................................................................17 Action Structure in Narrative Comprehe nsion: Effects of Verb Aspect................................19 The Present Research........................................................................................................... ...22 Underlying Processes: Alternative Mechanisms.............................................................23 Overview of Four Experiments.......................................................................................24 2 EXPERIMENT 1: REENACTING A PAST BEHAVIOR....................................................28 Method....................................................................................................................................28 Participants and Design...................................................................................................28 Materials and Experimental Procedure...........................................................................28 Results and Discussion......................................................................................................... ..30 3 EXPERIMENT 2: REMEMBERIN G AND RESUMING A BEHAVIOR...........................32 Method....................................................................................................................................32 Participants and Design...................................................................................................32 Materials and Experimental Procedure...........................................................................32 Results and Discussion......................................................................................................... ..34 4 EXPERIMENT 3: THE GOAL -MEDIATION ALTERNATIVE.........................................37 Method....................................................................................................................................37 Participants and Design...................................................................................................37 Materials and Experimental Procedure...........................................................................37 Results and Discussion......................................................................................................... ..38 5

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5 EXPERIMENT 4: THE GE NERALACTION ALTERNATIVE.........................................41 Method....................................................................................................................................42 Participants and Design...................................................................................................42 Materials and Experimental Procedure...........................................................................42 Results and Discussion......................................................................................................... ..43 6 GENERAL DISCUSSION.....................................................................................................46 Summary of Findings............................................................................................................ .46 Do People Use Verb Aspect Naturally to Manage Goals?.....................................................47 Improving Health and Human Performance: Extensions to Emotion, Self-Perception, and Persuasion.....................................................................................................................48 Extensions to Impression Formation: Verb Aspect Influences Judgments of Actor Intentionality.......................................................................................................................52 Theoretical Extensions to The Language -Thought Relation and Theories of Grounded Cognition.............................................................................................................................54 Closing Note...........................................................................................................................55 REFERENCES..............................................................................................................................56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................63 6

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Adjusted mean reaction times to recognize anagram-related words as a function of aspect and delay............................................................................................................... ..405-1 Anagram solutions as a func tion of aspect and relevance.................................................45 7

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LIST OF FIGURE S Figure page 3-1 Mediation model............................................................................................................ ....36 8

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Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A THEORY OF ACTION THOUGHT STRUCTURE: HOW VERB ASPECT INFLUENCES MEMORY AND FUTURE ACTIONS By William Hart May 2009 Chair: James Shepperd Major: Psychology Psychologists have long known that thoughts of our prior actions (action thoughts) can influence a gamut of self-regulati on processes, from self-percepti ons to emotional reactions to behavioral responses. Yet, the specific struct ure of these thoughts ha s received very little attention. To fill this gap, I examined how the structure of action thoughts influences memory for these actions and tendencies to repeat the actions in the future. Specifically, I examined whether describing past actions as ongoi ng using the imperfective verb aspect (for example, I was working on my paper) rather than describing them as completed using the pe rfective verb aspect (for example, I worked on my paper) promotes memory for action-relevant knowledge and reenactment of the actions in a future context. In Experiment 1, participants who used the imperfective aspect to describe their strategy on a prior interpersonal task were more likely to use this strategy on a later task than participants who used the perfective as pect to describe their strategy on the task. Experiment 2 demonstrated that describing behaviors on a task using the imperfective rather than the perfective aspect increased willingness to resume that task by improving memory for task contents. Experiment 3 found that the effect s of the imperfective aspect on memory decayed over time, and Experiment 4 revealed that the imperfective aspect facilitated performance of a future behavior only when the described past behavior was relevant 9

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10 to the future behavior. Thus, the effects of aspect are moderated by memory decay and are behavior specific. This research contributes to understanding how subtle linguistic features can influence thought processes and may have va rious practical implications. For example, decreasing the frequency of unhealthy behavior s might be facilitated by discussing these behaviors in terms of what I did In contrast, increasing the freque ncy of healthy behaviors might be facilitated by discussing these behaviors in terms of what I was doing

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Thoughts of personal prior actions (or action t houghts) serve important functions in our daily lives, f rom producing emotional reactions to igniting behavioral responses. For example, former basketball star Michael Jordan used hi s vivid memory of being cut from his high school basketball team to stir up embarrassment and anger, which fueled his intense workouts: It was embarrassing, not making that team. Th ey posted the roster and it was there for a long, long time without my name on it. I remember being really mad tooWhenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ough t to stop, Id close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it, and that usually got me going again. (May, 1991, p.105) Michael Jordan aside, most people use action tho ughts to regulate their emotions and behavior. (Pillemer, 1998; Webster, 1993) Also, people use act ion thoughts to make inferences about their own self-worth, preferences, goals, and intentions. (Bem, 1972; McAdams, 1993) It is well known that action thoughts affect a variety of self-regulatory outcomes such as emotional reactions, self-perceptions, and behavi oral responses. What is less well understood is how the structure of action thoughts contribut es to self-regulatory outcomes. Language affords the ability to structure our prior actions in ways that imply th e actions are ongoing or completed. For example, the imperfective verb aspect (I was working ) represents a past action as ongoing, whereas the perfective verb aspect (I worked ) represents a past action as completed.1 (Comrie, 1976; Madden & Zwaan, 2003; Morrow, 1990) This proj ect applied experimental methods to test whether verb aspect might affect behavior by influencing memory for action-relevant knowledge, which can be defined as knowledge for the perceptual (for exam ple, objects in the visual field), introspective (for example, intentions and cogniti ve operations), and bodily states 1 Note that perfective aspect is conceptually distinct from the perfect (see Comrie, 1976; formed by to have + past participle), which some linguists do not consider an aspect but a tense. The imperfect tense is marked with a past tense and an imperfective aspect (e.g., progressive: I was walking or habitual: I used to walk ). I examined effects of non-perfect imperfective progressive and non-perfect perfective forms of verbs on memory and behavior. 11

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(for example, m ovement) encoded during a beha vioral experience. (Barsalou, 2008) Specifically, aspect may influence memory for action-relevant knowledge by signaling that an action will or will not be continued in the future. (Ga rrod & Sanford, 1990; Givon, 1992; Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998) The imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect may increase the likelihood of retrieving actionrelevant knowledge in preparation for ongoing ac tion. As action-relevant knowledge presumably links to the introspective stat es registered during the action, retrieving more action-relevant knowledge should enhance retrieval of the in tentions and behaviors (cognitive and motor) encoded during the experience. Because intentions and behaviors activated in one context can transfer to a new context, the imperfective aspect should also facilitate performing the action again in a new context. (Schooler, 2002) Such an effect of verb aspect on memory and behavior would highlight the importance of thought structure in self -regulation as one functional characteristic of language. (Vygotsky, 1962) The goal of this paper is to perform an initial test of how action thought structure influences memory and self-regulation. In this introduction, I describe what is known about how action thoughts influence self-per ception, emotion, and behavior. Gi ven the current interest in action thought structure, I subse quently review the small amount of research that has examined how the structure of action thought s influences self-regulation. I later review re search on verb aspect to understand the likely imp lications of verb aspect used in self-descriptions. I conclude the introduction with a discussion of the plausible mechanisms by which verb aspect might influence memory and behavior, and then describe four experiments. Action Thoughts Affect Self-Percept ion, Emotion, and Future Behavior Action thoughts are known to have far-reaching effects on self-regulation outcomes. Prior research has looked into how ac tion thoughts affect self-percep tion, emotion, and behavior. In 12

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some studies, action thoughts were made accessi ble by having participants explicitly recall different behavioral memories (f or example, times they acted sociably vs. awkwardly), whereas, in other studies, action thoughts were made accessi ble by having participants perform a behavior in the lab (for example, they acted sociably vs awkwardly). In the next section, I will review how action thoughts (whether recall ed explicitly or influenced by overt behavior) affect selfperception, emotion, and behavior. I will review these outcomes separately, but note that this organizational device is not meant to imply that these outcomes are unrelated or that action thoughts affect these outcomes separately. Self-Perception What would happen to your sense of self if all your behavior al memories got erased over night? William James (1890) suggested the extrem e possibility that you would wake up feeling like a completely changed person. Consistent with Jamess idea, brain patients who have badly disrupted autobiographical memory lose their sense of identity. (Schacter, 1996) Also, empirical studies showed that behavioral memories inform peoples global se lf-evaluations (for example, I deserve respect; Gergen, 1965; Jones, Rhodewalt, Be rglas, & Skelton, 1981), specific self-beliefs (for example, I am sociable; Schlenker & Trud eau, 1990; Tice, 1992), attitudes (for example, I like President Obama; Albarracin & Wyer, 2000; Bem, 1972), intentions (for example, I plan to eat healthily; Albarr acin & Wyer, 2000), and goals (for exampl e, I want to lose weight). (Bargh, 1990) Simply put, people learn about themselv es from considering their prior actions. (Baumeister & Newman, 1994) Do people rely on behavioral memories to infer past and present opinions on important issues? Bem and McConnel (1970) i nvestigated this important issu e in one clever experiment. A week prior to the experimental session, all participants indicated how much control they thought 13

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students should have over the kinds of courses offered by their universit y. At the experime ntal session, participants were or were not asked to write an essay arguing that students should have very little control over courses. Importantly, participants who composed the essay had to make an argument that ran counter to their initial vi ew that students shoul d have control over the classes they take. Of the participants asked to write the essay, half of the participants were simply told to compose the essay (low choice) and the other half were given an explicit opportunity to decline the request (none declined; high choice). Subsequently, half of the participants indicated their initial opinion (that is, what they perceived their opinion to be prior to the experimental session) on the issue and the other half indicated their current opinion. If people use accessible behavioral memories to infer both their current and prior views, then participants who wrote (vs. did not write) the co unter-attitudinal essay should indicate less favorable prior and current views toward the i ssue. Indeed, participants who wrote the essay indicated less favorable prior and current opini ons on the issue, but only when they were given an explicit opportunity to turn down the requ est to write the essay. Presumab ly, these results suggest that people use their behavior to infer preferences (p ast and present) when their behavior appears self-selected rather than coerced (for example, the experimenter ma de me do it). Furthermore, merely believing that one engaged in an action (without actually engaging in the action) seems enough to influe nce attitudes and intentions. (A lbarracin & Wyer, 2000) In one study (Albarracin & Wyer, 2000), participants were led to believe that they unconsciously voted in favor or against the institution of comprehensive exams at their university. The researchers induced these beliefs by telling participants that they would respond to subliminal questions about the exam policy and the computer would record these unconscious responses. Under this pretense, participants were informed that their responses either favored or opposed 14

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comp rehensive exams. Importantl y, participants reported more positive attitudes toward the exams when they were misled to believe that they had favored rather than opposed the exams. Further, research suggests that people may infer their own personality traits from recent behavioral memories. In one study (Schlenke r, Dugolecki, & Doherty, 1994), participants received instructions to present themselves as sociable during an interv iew or merely received information suggesting that sociability is a desi rable trait (control group) Subsequently, all the participants sat in a room with a confederate who judged the particip ants level of sociability (for example, Did they spark up a conversation?). Fi nally, all participants completed a self-report measure of their sociability and r ecalled prior instances of their own sociable behavior. If people use their behavioral memories to draw conclusions about their ow n traits (for example, Am I sociable?), participants who presented themselves as sociable in the interview (vs. the control group) should indicate being a more sociable person, and may even have a better memory for past sociable behavior and act more sociably subsequently. Consistent with each of these possibilities, participants who acted sociably during the interview (vs. the control group) rated themselves as being more sociable, recalled more past instances of sociab le behavior, and were rated as more sociable by the c onfederate. Emotion The link between action thoughts and emotion seem s so hardwired because recalling a past action naturally conjures up the associated em otional reaction. This linkage between action thoughts and emotions may partly explain why patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder suffer intense and cripp ling anxiety when they recall thei r trauma. This linkage may also explain why Michael Jordans memory for gett ing cut from his high school basketball team caused him to feel anger and embarrassment. Past research has shown that recalling past actions 15

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reinst ates the emotional reactions associated w ith the actions. In one experiment (Schwarz & Clore, 1983), participants were asked to recall a past pleasant or unpleasant event in vivid detail. Participants who recalled a pl easant behavioral experience we re in a better mood and also indicated greater overall life sati sfaction than those who recalled an unpleasant experience. (see also Levenson, Carstensen, Friesen, & Ekman, 1991) Further, research suggests that behavior memories are particularly influential in reinstatin g emotion when they are recalled in vivid detail. (Strack, Schwarz, & Gschneidinger, 1985) Future Behavior The common sense notion the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior has stood up to empirical scrutiny. (O ulette & Wood, 1998) People are creatures of habit, often traveling the same route to work, eating at the same restaurants, and watching the same television programs. Personal experience suggests that behavior (that goes unpunished) tends to be repeated. Further, scientific evidence suggests that simply en tertaining a past action in the mind produces a mechanism that causes people to automatically repeat th at action. (Dijksterhuis & Bargh, 2001) William James (1890) quote thinking is for do ing emphasizes that merely playing out an action in the minds eye can promote tenden cies to produce the ac tion. Consistent with Jamess notion, some cutting-edge research in so cial cognitive psychology supports the idea that merely thinking of an action promotes enacting the action. (Barsal ou, 2008; Dijksterhuis & Bargh, 2001) In one hallmark study, Bargh, Chen and Burrows (1996) asked participants to unscramble a series of words to form a comple te sentence. Across two experimental conditions, some of the words in the sentences were rela ted to the elderly stereotype (for example, wrinkled, old, gray, and Florida) or un related to elderly people (for example, tree, 16

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vacuum, table, and butter). The researcher s found that participants exposed to the elderly (vs. neutral) words walked m ore slowly to the elevator upon being excused from the experimental room. Apparently, exposure to th e elderly words activated an action thought for slow movement which, in turn, had a direct and automatic effect on walking speed. The activation of an action thought can also in fluence more complex actions that are often believed to require conscious guidance. In one study (Dijksterhuis & van Knippenberg, 1998), half of the participants were asked to generate a list of smart be haviors and the other half were asked to generate a list of st upid behaviors. After participants completed the list, they were presented with 20 multiple-choice questions that assessed general knowledge (for example, Who painted La Guernica ? a. Dali; b. Miro; c. Picasso; d. Velasquez). As anticipated, participants asked to recall sm art behaviors received a higher score on the ge neral-knowledge test than participants asked to recall stupid beha viors. Moreover, participants were completely unaware that the behavior-listing task had any influence on their test performance. Hence, it seems that behavioral memories may automatica lly lead people to reflexively repeat past behaviors, and this effect holds true even when the behavioral memories are rich and complex (for example, intellect). Action Thought Structure and Self-Regulation Given the influence of action thoughts on self -perception, emotion, and behavior, it may be important to consider the role of action thought structure. Mo st models of human memory assume that information is initially retrieved in bits and chunks and then structured into a coherent mental representation. (Bartlett, 1932; Carlston & Smith, 1996) This structuring process presumably plays a key role in how people ultimately understand the contents of their minds. 17

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(Albarracin, Hart, & McCulloch, 20 06; Albarracin, Noguchi, & Earl, 2006) Yet, prior research in self-regulation has generally neglected to consider thought structure. To my knowledge, only one program of re search has examined how action thought structure contributes to self -perception and behavior, and this program focused on how representing action thoughts from a third-person or first-pers on perspective affected these outcomes. (Libby, Eibach, & Gilovich, 2005) In one study (Libby et al., 2005), participants were asked to recall a past episode of socially awkward behavior either from th e first-person (that is, to imagine the event through ones own eyes) or third-person memory pe rspective (that is, to imagine the event from the perspective of an out side observer). Subsequently, participants rated their current level of social sk ill and then sat in a room w ith a confederate who judged the participants social skill. Results revealed that participants who recalle d prior awkward behavior from the third-person perspective perceived their current level of social skill as higher and acted in a more socially skilled way than those induced to use the first-person perspective. According to the authors, the third-person (vs. first-person) memory perspective promoted a more abstract construal of the prior awkward be havior (I was a loser vs. I could not deliver a punch line) and consequently accentuated perceptions of change. If a third-person memory perspective promotes perceptions of change, then people might take this perspective naturally wh en recalling actions that conflict with their current self-concept. In a study designed to test this idea (Libby & Ei bach, 2002), participants we re asked to consider an aspect of themselves that had changed the most since high school a nd an aspect that had changed the least since high school Subsequently, participants we re asked to retrieve five behavioral memories from high sc hool that were relevant to th e least changed aspect and the most changed aspect (10 memori es in total). After all participants recalled the memories, 18

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participants indica ted the perspective by which they recalled the memories. Consistent with predictions, participants indica ted adopting a third-person persp ective more often when recalling memories related to the most cha nged aspect of the self than wh en recalling memories related to the least changed aspect of the self. Action Structure in Narrative Comprehension: Effects of Verb Aspect The current research explored the implicati ons of structuring our own prior actions as ongoing versus completed using verb aspect. Sp ecifically, I hypothesized that linguistically structuring prior actions as ongoing (vs. comple ted) might enhance the retrieval of actionrelevant knowledge that might in turn promot e continuing the action. In the next section, I review prior research on verb aspect as preliminary support for this hypothesis. Past research on verb aspect has largely been confined to the area of narrative comprehension. Narrative comprehension deals with the cognitive processes involved in piecing together sentences to form a m eaningful and coherent perception of a dynamic state of affairs. (Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998) This coherent re presentation of a text, sometimes called a situation model is constructed spontaneously during comprehension (Bransfo rd, Barclay, & Franks, 1972; Bransford & Johnson, 1972; Glenberg, Meyer, & Lindem, 1987) and closely reflects space settings, characters, intentions and actions conveyed in a text (Glenberg, Kruley, & Langston, 1994; Graesser, Millis, & Zwaan, 1997; Johnson-L aird, 1983, 1989; van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983) In the tradition of narrative comprehension, verb s, and verbal markers (for example, verb aspect, verb tense, and voice) represent proc essing cues to memory that facilitate the construction of a situation m odel. (Glenberg et al., 1994; Graesser et al., 1997; Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998) For example, semantic information conveyed from a verb (for example, fight) can activate semantic knowledge co ncerning a typical character (f or example, a boxer), setting 19

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(for example, a boxing ring), behavior (for exam pl e, punching), and goal (for example, to win a prize purse) that can be used to make (or upda te) a situation model. Verbal markers can also affect situation model construction by influenc ing the accessibility and maintenance of the semantic knowledge triggered by a verb. (Ferretti, McRae, & Ha therell, 2001) For example, information conveyed with a past tense verb is forgotten more quickly than information conveyed with a present tense verb. (Carre iras, Carriedo, Alonso, & Fernandez, 1997) Past research on narrative comprehension has provided important insights on how the selection of verb aspect affect s the representation of a descri bed behavior. For example, this research suggests that readers tend to perceive actions conveyed with an imperfective aspect as ongoing and a perfective aspect as completed. In one study (Morrow, 1990), participants memorized a map of a house prior to reading about the movement of a protagonist. The movement of the protagonist was conveyed usi ng either the perfective or imperfective verb aspect (for example, John was walking vs. walked from the kitchen to bathroom). The imperfective aspect description caused readers to locate the protagonist on the path toward his destination, whereas the pe rfective-aspect description caused r eaders to locate the protagonist at his destination (that is in the bedroom). Other research has used different measures to assess how people represent a described behavior and this research has reinforced the idea that actions described with an imperfective aspect are viewed as ongoing and actions descri bed with a perfective as pect are viewed as completed. In one study (Magliano & Schleich, 2000), participants read a series of actions conveyed in either a perfective or imperfective aspect (She was delivering vs. delivered a baby) and rated these actions as ongoing or comp leted. As anticipated, readers of imperfective (vs. perfective) actions rated these actions as more likely to be ongoing, whereas readers of 20

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perfectiv e (vs. imperfective) actions rated these actions as more likely to be completed. In yet another demonstration of this principle (Ma dden & Zwaan, 2003), participants read actions conveyed in an imperfective or perfec tive aspect (for example, The man was making vs. made a fire) and then selected a ppropriate pictures showing completed or ongoing actions. As anticipated, participants were more likely to choose pictures showing completed than ongoing actions after reading perfective descriptions. Aside from action representationa l issues, verb aspect has also been shown to influence memory for a described action. (Magliano & Schlei ch, 2000) In one study de signed to test this memory hypothesis (Experiment 2; Magliano & Schleich, 2000), partic ipants read a target verb phrase that was either conveyed us ing the imperfective or perfective aspect (for example, Betty was delivering vs. delivered their first child). As expecte d, the speed for recognizing verb phrases (for example, deliver child ) as previously read was greater in the imperfective than in the perfective condition. An additional study revealed that this effect was greater after a 3 second delay. (Experiment 3; Magliano & Schleich, 2000) Thus, information encoded in the imperfective decays at a slower ra te. Other related research show s that verb aspect can also influence memory for the agent of an action. Fo r instance, in one study (Carreiras et al., 1997), participants read about a characters actions conv eyed using the imperfectiv e or perfective aspect (Jorge was studying vs. studied ). As anticipated, the speed for recognizing the characters name (for example, Jorge) as previously read was greater in the imperfective than in the perfective condition. Presumably, readers perceive an ongoing (vs. completed) action as more pertinent to constructing a situation model and therefore maintain details of the action in memory. (Magliano & Schleich, 2000) 21

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Verb aspect also affects the activation of previously unmentioned information that m ight be relevant to a particular behavi or. For example, objects associat ed with a previously described behavior (for example, hammer for pound) are more quickly recognized as words when the behavior is described in the imperfective than in the perfective verb aspect (for example, He was pounding vs. pounded the nail). (Truitt & Zwaan, 1998, as cited in Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998) Also, locations associated with a pr eviously presented verb (for example, arena for skate ) are more quickly recognized as words when the ve rb is marked with the imperfective than the perfective verb aspect (for example, was skating vs. had skated ). (Ferretti, Kutas, & McRae, 2007) The Present Research The present research attempts to fill gaps in the understanding of how action thoughts influence cognition and behavior. Past research overwhelmingly suggests that specific action thought contents are critical to behavior a nd emotion regulation (for example, Bargh, 2007; Pillemer, 1998), yet this past research has generally overlooked the fact that action thoughts are structured in a variety of ways. For example, when people use language to describe their action to others or themselves (self-talk; for ex ample, Davidson, 1975; Watson, 1919), they apply aspect markers to verbs that st ructure the prior action as ongoi ng or completed. I propose that this type of action thought stru cture might play a role in beha vior regulation. Representing prior actions as ongoing with the impe rfective (vs. perfective) aspe ct should enhance memory for action-relevant knowledge and pr omote reenactment of the ac tion. As a result, people who struggle to continue productive actions over time (for exampl e, New Years resolutions; Norcross, Ratzin & Payne, 1989) might use lang uage to self-regulat e their behavior. 22

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Underlying Processes: Alternative Mechanisms Although verb aspect may influence behavior by directly affecting memory for actionrelevant knowledge (for example, Ferretti et al., 2007; Truitt & Zwaa n, 1998), other processes are worth exploring. Specifically, verb aspect may indirectly aff ect memory and behavior via a motivational process. For example, describi ng actions as ongoing may activate a goal to complete the action and that goal may in turn promote memory and behavior. Further, verb aspect may indirectly affect cognitive and behavioral processes by affecting the activation of a general-action concept, which can be defined as a mental cat egory that represents knowledge for fast, intense, and frequent be haviors. (Albarracin et al., 2008 ) For example, describing ongoing action may activate a general-action concept (simila r to words such as continue, go, move, and active) that promotes memory for any rece nt activity and the performance of any salient behavior. (Albarracin et al., 2008) In the next section, I examine each of these alternative roles for verb aspect. Motivational processes. Verb aspect is presumed to directly influence memory for actionrelevant knowledge surrounding the action, which can compel the same action. Alternatively, perceiving ongoing (vs. completed) action might activate a goal to complete the action, and this goal may in turn improve memory for action-re levant knowledge. For example, because people generally prefer to finish tasks, the perception that a task is incomp lete can instill a goal to finish the task. (Ziegarnik, 1967) This goal, in turn, may promote thoughts about the task and intentions to complete it. (Martin, Tesser, & McIntosh, 199 3; Ziegarnik, 1967) At stake, therefore, is whether the imperfective aspect enhances memory for action-relevant knowledge by triggering a goal. 23

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General ac tion processes. Although verb aspect may direc tly affect the action-relevant knowledge that is retrieved on disc ussing specific actions, a plausi ble alternative is that verb aspect might merely affect general tendencies to be mo re or less active. Specifically, the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect mi ght enhance the accessibility of an action concept in memory because the imperfective highlights the be havioral components of a past activity. Recent research shows that the action concept can be primed with words s ynonymous with general action and, once primed, can increase the outpu t of any salient cognitive or motor action. (Albarracin et al., 2008) In a seri es of studies (Albarracin et al ., 2008), participants were exposed to words denoting general action (for example, active," "go," "move") or inaction (for example, stop, relax, rest) prior to engaging in va rious cognitive behaviors (for example, solving problems) and motor behaviors (for example, pressing the spacebar). Participants shown the action (vs. inaction) words performed the active be haviors with greater levels of intensity as evidenced by higher performance on cognitive ta sks (for example, enhanced performance on problem solving) and greater motor output on physical tasks (for example, pressing the spacebar more often). Thus, it is possible that aspectual markings can in fluence memory and behavior by affecting the accessibility of the action concept in memory. Overview of Four Experiments Four experiments examined whether describing ones own past actions using the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect impr oves memory for action-relevant knowledge (Experiments 2 and 3) and tendencies to repeat the action on a new task (Experiments 1 and 2). In each study, participants performed an initial activity (for example, anagrams) and then provided self-descriptions of thei r behaviors using the imperfective or the pe rfective verb aspect. Next, participants completed assessments of memory for action-relevant knowledge and 24

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tendencies to perform the sam e actions on a new ta sk. To enhance the validity of the research, the tasks and dependent measures varied over the four reported experiments. The purpose of Experiment 1 was to derive initial support for the contention that describing a past action in the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect enhances tendencies to reinitiate the action in a later cont ext. To do so, participants completed an interpersonal task that required them to avoid hostility concepts. Late r, participants were asked to discuss their experience with the task either in terms of what they were doing or what they did and completed a new task to assess their use of hostility con cepts. If descriptions in the imperfective more effectively reinstate a past behavior, then rela tive to participants who use the perfective, participants who use the imperfective to describe the cognitive behavior of avoiding hostility concepts should use these con cepts less on a later task. The goal of Experiment 2 was to understand th e process whereby verb aspect influences future behavior. Assuming that the imperfective aspect would enhance tendencies to reproduce a past behavior, I examined whether such effect s were mediated by an enhanced memory for action-relevant knowledge. To examine this idea, participants were interrupt ed prior to finishing an anagram task under the pretense that there ma y not be enough time in the session to allow for task completion. Subsequently, they were asked to describe their behavior on the anagram task in terms of either the perfective (what they did) or imperfective (what they were doing) verb aspect. After the self-descriptions, participants indicated whether they would like to finish the anagram task or leave the experiment early if time remained in the session. Finall y, participants completed a recognition measure for the prior anagrams as an assessment of memory for action-relevant knowledge. I hypothesized that behavioral descri ptions marked with the imperfective (vs. 25

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perfective) aspect would increase willingness to return to the anag rams later in the session and that this effect would be m ediated by th e memory for action-relevant knowledge. The purpose of Experiment 3 was to test whether aspectual effe cts can be attributed to a goal-mediated process. The imperfective aspect might directly improve memory for actionrelevant knowledge by signaling whether an actio n is ongoing or completed or by indirectly activating a goal to fulfill the action. (Zie garnik, 1967) Given that goa l tension builds over time, action-relevant knowledge should become more acces sible over time if a goal is at play. By contrast, action-relevant knowledge should decay over time if a goa l is not at play. (Higgins, 1996) To examine these possibilities, I used proce dures similar to those in Experiment 2 with some procedural modifications. After the self-d escriptions, participants completed a lexical decision task (LDT) to directly measure memory for action-relevant knowledge, before or after performing a five-minute filler task (unrelated to the anagrams; that is, drawing a family tree). When performed before the LDT, the filler task introduced a delay between the aspect manipulation and the LDT, and this delay could eith er strengthen or weaken the effect of aspect on memory (goal mediation vs. no-goal mediation).2 (for example, Bargh, Gollwitzer, Lee-Chai, & Barndollar, 2001) Finally, the purpose of Experiment 4 was to test whether aspect affects behavior by influencing the activation of a general-action concept (Albarracin et al., 2008) or by controlling memory for the specific action-relevant knowledge trigge red by a verbal description. For example, by implying the need to sustain acti on, the imperfective aspect may incidentally enhance the accessibility of an action concept wh ich can increase any cognitive output, including 2 In prior research by Bargh et al. (2001), the five-minute filler task was shown to promote more tenacious goal pursuit by presumably increasing goal tension and also to promote the decay of non-goal mediated concepts in memory. Thus, the present research used the same filler task and delay period. 26

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27 recognition speed and task resumption. This idea is plausible given recent evidence that exposure to words synonymous with action (vs. inaction ) increased performance on a variety of cognitive tasks. (Albarracin et al., 2008) A ccording to this possibility, us ing the imperfec tive aspect to describe any action should increa se performance on any subsequent task. If, however, aspect directly influences memory for specific action-relevant knowledge surrounding an action, using the imperfective aspect to de scribe a prior action should only enhance performance on a subsequent task when the prior action facilitates performing the ta sk (that is, transfer-appropriate processing). (Schooler, 2002) Using the imperfec tive aspect to describe a prior action should not enhance (and may even impair) performance on a fu ture task when the prior action is irrelevant to performing the upcoming task (that is, transf er-inappropriate processing). I explored these possibilities by manipulating asp ect and the relevance of th e described behaviors for a subsequent task.

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CHAPTER 2 EXPERIME NT 1: REENACTING A PAST BEHAVIOR Experiment 1 was used to examine whether usin g the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect to describe prior avoidance of the African-American stereotype (a cognitive action) yielded less use of this stereotype on a later task. Participants wrote a non-stereotypic por trayal about a day-inthe-life of an African-Ame rican male and then described their behavior on the task in terms of what they were doing or what they did. Next, participants interprete d the ambiguously hostile behavior of a protagonist. As the African-American stereotype generally causes ambiguously hostile behaviors to be viewed as more host ile (Duncan, 1976), the conv entional assumption is that lower hostility ratings imply active avoidanc e of the African-American stereotype. (Devine, 1989; Liberman & Frster, 2000) Therefore, if the cognitive action of avoiding the AfricanAmerican stereotype is easier to retrieve in the imperfective (vs. perf ective) condition, hostility ratings should be lower in this condition. Method Participants and Design Participants were 56 students from intr oductory psychology classes participating in exchange for credit. The design had two cells (v erb aspect: imperfective vs. perfective) with ratings of the protagon ists hostility as the dependent variable. Materials and Experimental Procedures Upon arriving to the lab, participants learned that they would participate in two unrelated experiments. The first experiment ostensibly examined how people describe others under various conditions. As part of this experiment, partic ipants were shown a picture of a middle-aged African-American male named "Terrell Gibbs" and were given five minutes to write a nonstereotypic portrayal of a day in the life of this individual. After participants finished the task, 28

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they were asked to describe the actions and strate gies they used on the task. That is, they were randomly assigned to describe their behavi or on the task in te rm s of what they did (perfective aspect) or what they were doing (imperfective aspect). Participan ts were told that the specific aspect type is requested because responses in a consistent format are easier to sort and code. A short tutorial screen provided examples of each aspect to clearly indicate which one was appropriate and which one was inappropriate. The tutorial contained seven examples of behavioral descriptions conveyed in the imperfective aspect (for example, Lisa was tying her shoes) and seven examples in the pe rfective aspect (for example, Lisa tied her shoes). To avoid experimental demand, the tutorial only conveyed the superficial distinction between the aspects. After participants indicat ed that they understood the instru ctions, they proceeded to enter six action descriptions sequentia lly into the computer. Examples of common action descriptions were: I was imagining/imagined Terrell as my friend, I was putting/put myself in Terrells shoes, and I was thinking/thought that stereotypes are inaccurate. Each description was typed individually on a separate computer screen with the following prompt appearing at top of the screen: "Please vividly think back to the prev ious task and ask yourself 'what was I doing?' (what did I do?). When you have an answer please type it in the space below." After participants typed their descriptions, th ey learned that they would participate in a second experiment on impression formation. As part of this experiment, pa rticipants read about an individual named Donald who performed a set of behaviors that may or may not be construed as hostile. (see Sr ull & Wyer, 1979) Two examples of ambiguous behavior were: Donald refused to pay his rent until the landlord made some repairs, and Donald demanded his money back from a sales clerk at a store. Participants later rated the degree to which Donald is hostile on a scale from 1 ( not at all ) to 10 ( extremely ), along with some filler ratings used to 29

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ma ke the purpose of the study (for example, intelligent, open-minded, hard-working, considerate, and boring). Finally, I assessed suspicion and awareness of the influence of the verb aspect manipulation on behavior. In particular, the participants wrote answers to the following questions: (a) what was the pur pose of the experiment?, (b) do you think any tasks were related?, (c) do you think any earlier task affected performance on a later task?, and (d) did you notice anything about the experiment that seemed strange? Responses were coded for suspicion and awareness.1 After participants completed th is awareness check, they were debriefed and excused. Results and Discussion Avoiding the African-American stereotype requires avoiding hostil ity-related concepts. (Liberman & Frster, 2000) As hos tility is a central trait of the African-American stereotype, more effective stereotype avoidance should produce lower hostility judgments. (Devine, 1989) Moreover, I anticipated that hosti lity ratings would be lower in the imperfective (vs. perfective) description condition because the stereotype-avoidance process shoul d be easier to retrieve. As expected, hostility ratings were lower in the imperfective condition (M = 7.10, SE = 0.28 vs. M = 8.00, SE = 0.33), F (1, 49) = 4.30, p = .04, g = 0.57. This finding supported my model that describing past actions (avoiding hostility concepts) with th e imperfective enhances tendencies to continue the action. Although these initial data were a step toward validating the proposed role 1 Debriefing highlighted the experiments purpose and the existence of deception. Across experiments, no participant indicated awareness of the experiments purpose so I will not discuss this issue further. To maintain experimental validity, I eliminated participants who failed to follow the verb-aspect instructions (e.g., alternating between aspects), write complete phrases, or write what was instructed. This decision led to eliminating five participants in Experiment 1 (9% of the sample; three from the imperfective condition), four in Experiment 2 (10% of the sample; two from the imperfective condition), and twelve in Experiment 3 (8% of the sample; seven from the imperfective condition). Deleting these participants did not alter the pattern of cell means in either study. Experiment 4 used a method that ensured correct use of aspect. 30

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31 of aspect, additional data are required to determine the mechanism whereby aspect affects behavior reenactment. Experiment 2 was designed to test whether aspect affects intentions to continue an incomplete task by influencing memory for the task. These data offer an interesting method to ma intain prior egalitarian actions. Research suggests that performing an egalita rian action in one context reduces the chances of performing a similar action in a new context. (Monin & Miller, 2001) For exam ple, participants given the chance to disagree with a set of misogynistic stat ements (for example, A womans place is in the kitchen) were later more willing to select a man over a woman for a stereotypically male job than participants who simply read the same statements. Presumably, indicating disagreement with the sexist statements satisfied the goal to be an egalitarian person and hence shut off the goal temporarily. Importantly, my results suggest that stereotype avoidance can be maintained more effectively when prior avoidance behavior is represented using the imperfective aspect. Perhaps propositionally representing past egalit arian actions as ongoing rather than completed might reduce later discrimination.

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CHAPTER 3 EXPERIMENT 2: REM EMBERIN G AND RESUMING A BEHAVIOR In light of evidence that the im perfective aspect yields greater behavioral reenactment than the perfective aspect, I examined whether effects of aspect on behavior were mediated by an enhanced memory for action-relevant knowledge. Pa rticipants were interrupted two minutes into an anagram task, ostensibly due to session-time constraints. Next, par ticipants were randomly assigned to describe their behavi ors during the anagram task using the imperfectiv e or perfective aspect as in Experiment 1. Subsequently, participants were asked to indicate whether they would like to resume the anagram task later in the sess ion or leave the session early. Lastly, participants completed a recognition measure for the anagrams as an assessment of memory for actionrelevant knowledge. Method Participants and Design Participants were 41 students from intr oductory psychology classes participating in exchange for credit. The design had two cells (v erb aspect: imperfective vs. perfective) with choices to resume an incomplete anagram task and recognition for anagrams as the dependent measures. Materials and Experimental Procedures As in Experiment 1, participants completed the study on a computer. Participants learned that they would complete an anagram task as a measure of their analytic reasoning ability. Before participants started the anagram task, they read a short tutorial screen that described the rules for solving anagrams. For example, the tutorial described that solving an anagram involves reassembling all the letters in the anagram to create an English word. After participants indicated that they understood how to solve an anagram, they were presented with 20 anagrams, which 32

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appeared on the computer screen sim ultaneously. Participants were instructed to find as many solutions as possible for each anagram and then write their answers on a designated sheet of paper provided at their station. The anagrams ranged in difficulty according to a pilot test: Five anagrams were easy (for example, itp), five anagrams were moderate in difficulty (for example, ksaet), and ten anagrams were difficult (for example, iotpau ). Participants were interrupted two minutes into the task ostensibly due to session time constraints. As in Experiment 1, participants were randomly assigned to describe their behavior on the anagram task in terms of "what they did (that is, the perfective aspect)" or "what they were doing (that is, the imperfective aspect) and told th at this format produced uniform responses needed for coding purposes. Examples of common behavior descrip tions obtained from participants were: "I was arrang ing/arranged letters," "I was solv ing/solved anagrams," "I was thinking/thought of new words," "I was sorting/sorted letters," "I was using/used a [strategy]," and "I was making/made new words." After partic ipants typed their desc riptions, they were asked to indicate whether they would or would not like to resume the anagram task if there was time remaining in the session by clicking on a box la beled "I would like to resume the task" or "I would like to leave early." Next, participants completed a surprise memo ry recognition measure for the anagrams. In this task, participants were shown 30 anagrams (15 from the initial task and 15 previously unseen) sequentially on a computer screen and in dicated whether the anagram was or was not on the earlier anagram task by clicking on a box labe led "Anagram appeared on the anagram task" or "Anagram did not appear on the anagram task." A total recognition score was computed by summing the number of correct rejections and hits and dividing the total by thirty. Hence, scores could range from zero to one with higher scores indicat ing better recognition for action-relevant 33

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knowledge. After participants finished the recogn ition m easure, they either resumed the anagram task or were excused, depending on their preference. Ultimately, all participants were debriefed and thanked for their participation. Results and Discussion I predicted that behavioral desc riptions marked with the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect would increase willingness to retu rn to the anagrams later in the session and that this effect would be mediated by the recognition score (memory for action-relevant knowledge). As anticipated, participants were mo re willing to resume the anagrams in the imperfective condition (70% vs. 35%), 2(1, N = 37) = 4.46, p = .04, g = 0.81. Also, as expected, participants showed better memory for anagrams in the imperfective condition ( M = 0.84, SE = 0.02 vs. M = 0.77, SE = 0.02), F (1, 35) = 5.57, p = .02, g = 0.79. To assess mediation, I estimated the indirect eff ect of verb aspect, vi a the recognition score, on task resumption for 5,000 bootstrap samples (Preacher & Hayes, 2004). Bootstrapping provides a nonparametric approach to testing the significance of a mediation effect. The bootstrapping approach to assessing mediation has benefits over the more traditional Sobel test. First, the Sobel test assumes that the distribution of mediation effects is normal, an assumption that is often violated. (Preach er & Hayes, 2004) The bootstrapping method does not make this dubious assumption about the distribution of mediation effects and consequently provides a more powerful and appropriate test for mediation. (Preacher & Hayes, 2004) Second, whereas the Sobel test is based in large-sample theory, the bootstrapping technique is not; consequently, bootstrapping is a more appropr iate technique for the (relati vely) small sample in this experiment. (Preacher & Hayes, 2004) 34

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In the current analysis, an empirically derive d distribution of media tion effects was created from 5000 bootstrap samples of N = 37, and this distribution was used to estim ate the average mediation effect, the standard error of the me diation effect, and the 95% confidence interval surrounding the mediation effect. The es timate of the mediation effect ( b = 0.14) was the average mediation effect for all 5000 samples. The estimat ed standard error of the mediation effect ( SE = .08) was the standard deviation of the 5000 mediation effects. Th e 95% confidence interval was computed by ordering the 5000 mediation effects from low to high and then selecting the estimates that fell at the low end and high end of the confidence interval. As anticipated, this analysis showed that the indirect effect wa s estimated to lie between 0.01 and 0.32 with 95% confidence (see Figure 3-1 for the full mediati on model). Because zero is not in the 95% confidence interval, these data suggest that the effects of verb aspect on task resumption were mediated by the recognition score. Notably, these data suggest an interesting m ethod to stop procrastination, improve performance, and promote happiness. Most individuals indicate problems with procrastination, and procrastination often harms performance and well-being in the long run. For example, in one survey, nearly 70% of college students indicated some problems reinitiating work on papers or reading assignments. (Solomon & Ro thblum, 1984) Other research foun d that failure to reinitiate work in a timely fashion contributes to poor performance and declines in happiness. (Tice & Baumeister, 1997) Perhaps people can avoid procra stination and its negative consequenceslow performance and unhappinessby representing pr ior working behavior as ongoing with an imperfective aspect (I was working on my paper.) rather than completed with a perfective aspect (I worked on my paper.). 35

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Figure 3-1. Mediation model 36

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CHAPTER 4 EXPERIME NT 3: THE GOAL -MEDIATION ALTERNATIVE The imperfective aspect might directly impr ove memory for action-relevant knowledge by signaling whether an action is ongoing or completed, or by indirectly activating a goal to fulfill the action. (Zeigarnik, 1967) If the enhanced memory for action-relevant knowledge is goalmediated, then action-relevant knowledge shoul d become more accessible over time (as goal tension builds). After participants engaged in procedures identical to those outlined in Experiment 2, they completed a LDT to directly measure memory for action-relevant knowledge, before or after performing a five-minute filler task (unrelated to the anagrams; that is, drawing a family tree). Note that when this filler task was performed before the LDT, it introduced a delay between the aspect manipulation and the LDT, and therefore could either strengthen or weaken the effect of verb aspect on memory. Method Participants and Design Participants were 160 students from intr oductory psychology classes participating in exchange for credit. The design was a 2 (verb as pect: imperfective vs. pe rfective) x 2 (delay: no delay vs. delay) between-participa nts factorial with response latenc ies to anagram-relevant words serving as the dependent variab le and response latencies to co ntrol words as the covariate. Materials and Experimental Procedures Methods were similar to Experiment 2. Howe ver, after providing action descriptions, participants were randomly assi gned to perform a five-minute f iller task (drawing their own family tree) either immediately before or after completing a LDT. The filler task should decrease the accessibility of non-motivational concepts and not allow for the completion of an activated task goal. (Bargh et al., 2001) The LDT was introduced with the explanation that word37

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recognition speed ma y influence anagram performa nce and therefore must be accounted for in anagram studies. The task consisted of trials in cluding a fixation point (+ ) that remained on the screen for 2s and was followed by either a word or a non-word. Each LDT consisted of 20 trials that included the random presenta tion of five target words (anagram, rearrange, sort, letter, and assemble), five control words ( keyboard, computer, k ey, spacebar, and screen), and ten non-words (for example, bifkl e). Participants indicated whether the letters formed a word or non-word by pressing a designat ed key. The response latencies to target words were calculated by averaging the target reaction times after a natural-log transformation. (see Shah, 2003) For presentational purpo ses, however, I will report the untransformed latencies. Latencies for incorrect lexical decisions were not analyzed.1 (see Bargh, Chaiken, Govender, & Pratto, 1992) Ultimately, all participants were debriefed, thanked for their participation, and excused. Results and Discussion I conducted an analysis of covariance with de lay and verb aspect as the two independent variables, latencies to target words as the depe ndent variable, and the latencies to control words as a covariate. As anticipated, a main effect of verb aspect indicated shorter latencies in the imperfective than perfective condition, F (1, 143) = 4.87, p = .03, g = 0.36. This finding is conceptually similar to the e nhanced memory for action-releva nt knowledge in the imperfective condition found in Experiment 2. In addition, there was a marginally significant main effect of delay suggesting shorter latencies in the no delay than delay condition, F (1, 143) = 3.16, p = .08, g = 0.29. However, these effects were qualified by a significant interacti on between verb aspect 1 No systematic differences were identif ied in the average error rate (2.1%). 38

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39 and delay, F (1, 143) = 5.33, p = .02, 2 = .036.2 As Table 4-1 shows, delay had no effect in the perfective condition, t (143) = 0.39 p = .70, g = 0.08.3 Consistent with the hypothesis of direct (vs. goal-mediated) effects on memory, delay in creased latencies in th e imperfective condition, t (143) = 2.82, p = .005, g = 0.67. Experiment 3 supported the notion that aspect effects on memory were direct instead of goal-mediated. Yet, the possibility remains that th e effects of aspect are mediated by their effects on general activity. For example, aspect might influence the activation of a general-action concept by implying the need to sustain or stop an action and the activation of a general-action concept could account for improved memory performance (Experiments 2 and 3) and willingness to engage in salient activities (Experiments 1 and 2). Experiment 4 was designed to test whether the activation of a general-acti on concept might be responsible for the effect of aspect on behavior. 2 Shorter lexical-decision latencies we re found in the imperfective condition (vs. perfective) in the no-delay condition, t (143) = 3.15, p = .002, g = 0.75, but not in the delay condition, t (143) = 0.17, p = .87, g = 0.02. 3 The finding that delay had no effect on latencies in th e perfective condition might suggest that memories decayed quickly in this condition, perhaps r eaching a baseline-level of activation ev en before our in itial measurement. Indeed, past research has shown that behavioral knowledge encoded in the perfective is quickly (within seconds) forgotten. (Magliano & Schleich, 2000)

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Table 4-1. Adjusted mean reaction times to r ecognize anagram-related words as a function of aspect and delay Aspect No Delay Delay Difference Imperfective 612.89 (15.94) 677.11 (15.04) 64.22* Perfective 683.13 (15.55) 675.48 (16.03) 7.65 Difference 70.24* 1.63 Note: Standard errors are presented parentheti cally. The difference columns entail comparisons between the no delay and delay groups. The diffe rence rows entail comparisons between the perfective and imperfective condi tions. Significance was establis hed by means of statistical contrasts. *p< .05 40

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CHAPTER 5 EXPERIMENT 4: THE GENE RALACTION ALTERNATIVE Verb aspect is presumed to directly infl uence memory for the action-relevant knowledge that is retrieved upon using a verb to describe ones actions. But, an alternative possibility is that verb aspect elicits general-action tendencies and that these tendencies direct behavior. (Albarracin et al., 2008) A ccording to this possibility, the im perfective aspect primes a general action concept to a greater extent than the perf ective. This general-acti on concept can influence the amount of cognitive activity and in turn aff ect the retrieval and a pplication of recently accessible knowledge irrespective of the type of knowledge in question. If aspect controls the amount of cognitive activity in this fashion, then using the imperfective aspect to describe any action should enhance performance on any subseque nt task. Conversely, if aspect influences memory for specific action-relevant knowledge that transf ers to a subsequent task, then the imperfective aspect should enhance performa nce when this action-relevant knowledge is appropriate for processing the subsequent ta sk but may have no effect (or may hinder) performance when this knowle dge is irrelevant to pro cessing the subsequent task. To examine the possibility that the imperfec tive aspect enhances cognitive activity as opposed to memory for specific action-relevant knowledge and to examine whether aspectual effects would replicate using an alternative manipulation of ve rb aspect, Experiment 4 used procedures similar to those in Experiments 2 and 3, but with a few changes. After solving anagrams, participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in which they viewed (as opposed to self-generated) ei ght behavioral descriptions. Th ese conditions were created by crossing two factors: relevance of the descriptions to an upcoming anagram task (relevant or irrelevant) and aspect used in the descriptions (imperfective or perfect ive). After viewing the descriptions, participants completed a new anagram task. 41

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Method Participants and Design Participants were 159 students from intr oductory psychology classes participating in exchange for cred it. The design was a 2 (verb as pect: imperfective vs. perfective) x 2 (relevance to upcoming task: relevant or irre levant) between-participants factorial with anagram solutions as the dependent variable. Materials and Experimental Procedures Procedures were similar to those used in E xperiments 2 and 3. But, after all participants were interrupted prior to finish ing the anagrams, participants were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions (relevant vs. irrelevant; imperfective vs. perfective) in which they viewed eight behavioral descriptions. For the relevant behavioral descriptions, I selected the most typical self-generated responses in Experi ments 2 and 3. For example, these descriptions included I was arranging/arra nged letters and I was th inking/thought of new words. The irrelevant behavioral descriptions were irrelevant to solving anag rams, but might be relevant to a typical morning. For example, they included I was eating/ate brea kfast and I was brushing/brushed my teeth. Participants shown th e relevant descriptions were asked to place a checkmark near the sentences that described their behavior on the initial anagram task. Participants shown the irrelevant descripti ons were asked to place a checkmark near the descriptions that matched their behavior on a typical morning. Next, all participants were given 10 min to complete 25 new anagrams (of moderate difficulty) as an ostens ible reassessment of their analytical ability. The numbe r of correct solutions was the measure of performance. After participants completed this task, they were debr iefed, thanked for their participation, and excused from the lab. 42

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Results and Discussion I conducted an analysis of va riance with aspect and descri ption relevance as the two independent variables and the num ber of correct anagram solutions as the dependent variable. Neither main effect was significant, F s < 0.30, gs < 0.07. As anticipated, I found a significant interaction between aspect and relevance, F (1, 155) = 7.18, p = .008, 2 = .044.1 As Table 5-1 shows, performance was enhanced in the imperf ective relative to the perfective condition when the descriptions were relevant to the task, t (155) = 2.19, p = .03, g = 0.50. This finding is consistent with the results of Experiment 2 showing enhanced willingness to resume the anagram task in the imperfective condi tion. Interestingly, performance tended to be worse in the imperfective than in the perfective condition when the descriptions were irrelevant to the task, t (155) = 1.64, p = .10, g = 0.36. Presumably, the imperfective aspect increased memory for distracting cognitions in this condition that in turn (marginally) worsened performance. In conclusion, these data rule out the possibility that aspect merely activates a general-action concept. Instead, it appears that aspect directly influences memories that are relevant to the described behavior. Experiment 4 makes two additional important contributions to the current group of experiments. First, the finding that the im perfective aspect improved performance (under relevant-description conditions) fu rther highlights the practical significance of verb aspect. Second, Experiment 4 provided a conceptual repli cation of Experiment 2 using an alternative manipulation of aspect. Note that Experiment 4 manipulated verb aspect by having participants view behavior descriptions rather than self -generate them. This change in methodology is 1 Participants in the imperfective condition performed better in the relevant (vs. irrelevant) condition, t (155) = 2.06, p = .04, g = 0.46. In contrast, participants in the perfective gr oup tended to perform better in the irrelevant (vs. relevant) condition, t (155) = 1.72, p = .08, g = 0.41. 43

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44 important because it weakens the possibility th at the reported effects of verb aspect in Experiments 1-3 might be due to an unknown me thodological artifact. In addition, this change suggests an alternative method to improve performance among audiences that may be unable (for example, poor verbal skills) or insufficiently moti vated to self-generate behavior descriptions.

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Table 5-1. Anagram solutions as a f unction of aspect and relevance Aspect No Delay Delay Difference Imperfective 19.13 (0.95) 16.51 (0.80) 2.62* Perfective 16.14 (0.99) 18.58 (1.01) 2.44 Difference 2.99* 2.07 Note. Standard errors are presented parentheti cally. The difference rows entail comparisons between the relevant and irrelevant groups. Th e difference columns entail comparisons between the perfective and imperfective c onditions. Significance was establis hed by means of statistical contrasts. *p< .05 p< .11 45

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CHAPTER 6 GENE RAL DISCUSSION Despite the amount of attention paid to the idea that thinking of our prior actions can affect a range of meaningful psychological outcomes, only a small amount of atten tion has been paid to the structure of action thoughts. (for an excepti on, see Libby et al., 2005) The current research examined whether describing past actions as ongoing using an imperfective aspect (I was working on my paper) as opposed to comple ted using the perfective aspect (I worked on my paper) might promote memory for action-relevant knowledge and, in turn, reignite the actions. This hypothesis was inferred from prior research showing that verb aspect affects narrative comprehension by directly influencing memory fo r a described action (Ca rreiras et al., 1997; Magliano & Schleich, 2000; Morrow, 1990), and the idea that accessible memories produce corresponding actions. (James, 1890) Summary of Findings In Experiment 1, participants performed an in itial task that involved actively inhibiting hostility-related con cepts. I found that partic ipants who described this activity with the imperfective (that is, what they we re doing) relative to the perfective (that is, what they did) used hostility-related concepts less when interpreting the behavior of a different target person. In Experiment 2, participants were in terrupted prior to finishing an anagram task. Findings revealed that describing this activity using the imperfectiv e relative to the perfective enhanced willingness to resume the task by improving memory for th e task. Consistent with a non-goal mediated explanation, Experiment 3 showed that the action-relevant know ledge (measured with LDTs) in the imperfective condition decrea sed in accessibility over time. Finally, Experiment 4 showed that the effects of verb aspect are unlikely pr oduced by general-action tend encies. (Albarracin et al., 2008) Rather, behavioral descriptions marked with the imperfective (v s. perfective) aspect 46

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enhanced performa nce on anagrams only when the descriptions were relevant to performing anagrams. All in all, this research underscores the role of actio n thought structure in predicting human behavior.1 Do People Use Verb Aspect Naturally to Manage Goals? Future research is needed to explore whet her people might naturally shift between the perfective and imperfective verb aspect to accomplish their task goals. For example, individuals adept at self-regulation might readily use th e imperfective aspect (for example, what was I trying to convey in this paragraph?) to rein itiate work and hit the ground running on important projects, but use the perfective as pect to promote dise ngaging from less pressing projects (or distractions; I watched my show, now I need to work). Note that Experiment 4 suggests the importance of using the imperfective to describe relevant behavior and using the perfective to describe irrelevant behavior. However, individuals who lack self-regulation skills (for example, individuals prone to procrastina tion) may fail to use aspect appropriately and therefore may have trouble disengaging from tempting distractions (for example, television viewing) to reinitiate work. Future research might explore the use of verb aspect, especially as it relates to differences in self-regulation skill. Ul timately, individuals who do not use verb aspect appropriately might be taught the appropriate strategy. People often manipulate their memory for prior actions in subtle ways to promote positive self-evaluations and/or to di spel negative self-evaluations. (Kunda, 1990) In one study (Wilson 1 One alternative explanation for our results is that writing descriptions using the imperfective may seem less natural than writing descriptions using the perfective and hence may require a more exhaustive memory search. To examine this possibility, I asked a new group of 53 introductory-ps ychology students to describe their behavior on a prior anagram task using either the perfective or the imperfective aspect (as in Experiment 2). Participants were asked to use a scale from 1 (not at all) to 7 (extremely) to rate the extent to which writing their descriptions (a) was hard, (b) required effort, (c) required attention, and (d) required thought. These four ratings were collapsed into a single measure of perceived effort (alpha = .93). Aspect had no effect on perceived effort, p > .50. Thus, it remains most likely that aspect has its influence on memory through action thought structuring, as suggested by previous work in narrative comprehension. (Morrow, 1990; Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998) 47

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& Ross, 2000), participants were randomly assigned to recall their best or worst course grade from the previous semester. After participants re ported the course and the grade, they indicated how close they felt to the course on a scale anchored by feels like yest erday to feels far away. Participants assigned to recall their worst grade indicated that the course felt farther away than participants assigned to recall a their best grade. Interestingly, without any awareness, participants were distancing the self more from a prior failure than a success. It might be interesting to examine whether people use aspect to promote positive selfviews. Although not explored in th is research, it is plausible that recalling successful actions with an imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect might more effectively promote positive self-evaluations by enhancing memory for the actionsperhaps to make the actions feel like they happened yesterday. On the flip side, reca lling past unsuccessful actions using a perfective aspect (vs. imperfective) might more effectively reduce negative self-evaluations by dulling memory for the actionsperhaps to make the actions feel like they happened a long time ago. If true, people adept at managing ego-protection goals (for exampl e, individuals with high self-esteem) may be more likely to think about and express successf ul actions with an im perfective aspect and unsuccessful actions with a perfective aspect. Fu ture research can explore this possibility by randomly assigning participants to fail or succeed at a task and then having them describe their behavior on the task. Improving Health and Human Performance: Extensions to Emotion, Sel f-Perception, and Persuasion Although the current theory and findings sugge st various practical extensions, future work is needed to overcome the shortcomings in the present work a nd understand the time course of aspectual influences on behavior regul ation. Like most experime ntal work, the present experiments possessed some weaknesses that may lim it their generality. First, although in theory 48

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the results should be relevant to any cognitive or interpersona l behavior, I examined a lim ited range of such behaviors (that is, anagram pe rformance and stereotype avoidance). Future research might examine whether the results apply to a broader spectrum of behavior such as behavior that is hedonically unpl easant (for example, exercise). For example, the model assumes that the imperfective should promote reenactment of any behavior by enhancing memory for the action-relevant knowledge that facilitated the acti on. Yet, some research suggests that people can override tendencies to produce unpleasant actions, even when these actions are highly accessible in the mind. (Macrae & Johnston, 1998) Hence, it remains an empirical question whether people can override tendencies to reenact a past unpleasant behavior set into motion by the imperfective aspect. Second, the use of college students, who have higher than averag e verbal skills, limits generalizing our findings to othe r populations. Whether aspectual effects could be obtained in populations with lower verbal skills (or reading comprehension skill) remains unknown. In determining the practical significance of ve rb aspect, it is also critical to understand whether aspectual features can have long-la sting effects on behavior regulation. Although Experiment 3 implies that the online effects of aspect may be relatively short-lived, memorybased effects of aspect may be long lasti ng. For example, describing an action with an imperfective (perfective) aspect should cause the action to be stored in memory as an ongoing (completed) process. If aspect in fluences the way actions are stored in memory, aspect effects on memory and behavior regulation can be reinstated whenever the memory is retrieved. Perhaps a clearer understanding of aspect might be obtained by examining its implications in a variety of behavioral domains, with a vari ety of populations, and across time. In this spirit, some ideas for future research are discussed below. 49

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Getting over Trauma The present results ma y be applicable to aiding recovery from traumatic experiences. Indeed, traumatic experiences increase the ri sk for various health problems. (Davison & Pennebaker, 1996) Some therapies stress the impo rtance of confronting negative events through verbal expression or mental simulation. (Me ndolia & Kleck, 1993; Pennebaker & Susman, 1988) Findings from this research show that the num ber of recalled details of a negative event is negatively associated with future health pr oblems (as indexed by medical-care seeking). (Pennebaker & Beall, 1986). Hence, writing abou t past traumas using the imperfective verb aspect may facilitate trauma resolution by directly enhancing memory for the trauma. Persuading Audiences These results may also be applicable to changing maladaptive behaviors through persuasive appeals. Although an appeal may provide str ong arguments in favor of changing some maladaptive behavior (for example, smoking), persuasive messages automatically enhance the retrieval of prior behavioral memories such as attitudes, intentions, and goals that may cancel out the effect of the message by promoting behavi or maintenance. (Glasman & Albarracin, 2006) What is needed, therefore, is a way to deliver an appeal without draw ing attention to prior behavioral memories. The current research sugg ests the importance of forcing audiences to represent their prior behaviors as completed to reduce retrieval of action -relevant memories. In practice, appeals might open with a question such as what did you do last time you smoked? that imposes the completed structure on the audience at the outset. Changing Behavior These results may also be applicable to behavi or change programs that aim to promote the reenactment of past healthy behaviors and discourage the reenactme nt of past unhealthy 50

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behaviors. (Albarracin et al., 2005) For example, reducing the fr equency of unhealthy behaviors (for exam ple, unprotected sex) might be facilitated more by representing the behaviors in the perfective than the imperfective aspect. Moreover, increasing the frequency of healthy behaviors (for example, exercise) might be facilitate d more by representing the behaviors in the imperfective aspect than the perfective aspect. Letting Go of Negative Emotions The current findings may help people who suffer from chronic negative emotions such as anger. Treatment for chronic anger might be ai med at reducing the intensity of experiencing anger when reminiscing about pr ior anger-provoking events (for example, getting cutoff in traffic). Indeed, anger should fail to escalate if the anger-provoki ng memory is quickly forgotten rather than elaborated on in detail. Interesti ngly, the perfective (vs. im perfective) aspect should dull the memory for the anger-provoking action thereby dulling the em otional reaction. Finding ways to reduce anger is critical because chronic anger is an important pr edictor of heart disease (Davison & Pennebaker, 1996) and also gets in the way of living a happy life. Enhancing Self-Efficacy My results can be used to promote positive self-perceptions such as self-efficacy. Selfefficacy is the belief that one is competent e nough to execute the actions required to accomplish specific objectives (for example, to make a ne w friend or lose unwanted weight). Attempts to raise self-efficacy might be aimed at encouragin g self-inferences from remembered successful behavior and discouraging self-i nferences from remembered unsuccessful behavior. One way to accomplish this aim might be to make successful behavior memories vivid (vs. dull) and unsuccessful behavior memories dull (vs. vivid). Presumably, self-perceptions should be easy to generate from vivid memories but difficult to ge nerate from dull memories. If the imperfective 51

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(perfective) promotes a relative ly vivid (dull) m emory for prior action-relevant knowledge, the imperfective (vs. perfective) can promote posit ive self-inferences from remembered smart behaviors, and the perfective (v s. imperfective) can discourage negative self-inferences from remembered stupid behaviors. Promoting self-effi cacy is important becaus e a high level of selfefficacy encourages people to pursue a range of meaningful goals with tenacity and resilience (for example, to build a stronge r connection with a spouse or ach ieve at work). (Bandura, 1997) Extensions to Impression Formation: Verb Aspect Influences Judgme nts of Actor Intentionality Action thought representation may influence the extent to which acti ons (both our own and others actions) are perceived as intentional. Specifically, action descriptions in the imperfective verb aspect enhance the accessibility of reas ons for performing the described action (for example, Ferretti et al., 2007; Ma gliano & Schleich, 2000; also see present Experiments 2 and 3 for suggestive evidence) and these reasons may be used to infer the degree of intentionality behind an action. Therefore, action thoughts conveyed with an imperfective aspect might heighten perceptions that actions are intended and hence increase the perception of personal responsibility and control. To investigate this issue (Hart, 2008), fift y-five introductory ps ychology students were asked to read a series of fifteen neutral behavi or descriptions performe d by a male protagonist (Keith). Participants were rando mly assigned to a condition in which either all the behavioral descriptions were conveyed with a perfective aspect (f or example, Keith played basketball; Keith made small talk with a neighbor) or an imperfective aspect (for example, Keith was playing basketball; Keith was making small talk with a neighbor) After participants read the descriptions, they completed a measure to (implic itly) assess the extent to which they perceived Keith as someone who acts purposefully. Specifically, pa rticipants completed a revised Behavior 52

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Identification Form (BIF; Vallacher & We gner, 1989) in reference to Keith ( not the self). (for more on this revised version see Kozak, Marsh, & Wegner, 2006) In this task, participants were shown 25 neutral actions (for example, picki ng an apple) and decide d between two possible ways to identify the action: a low-level identificat ion (for example, pulling fruit off a branch) and a high-level identification (for ex ample, getting something to eat). For each action, participants were asked to imagine Keith engaging in the acti on and to select the most appropriate description for him. The assumption is that more high-level identifications imply a greater appreciation for the idea that Keith performs actions with a pur pose. (Kozak et al., 2006) I summed the number of high-level identifications to obtai n a measure of perceived intent ionality, which served as the main dependent variable in the analyses. Participants should be more li kely to view Keith as som eone who performs actions with a purpose when his actions are described with an im perfective aspect because the imperfective (vs. perfective) aspect should more effectively highlight the inte ntions behind his actions. Hence, I anticipated that the number of high-level acti on identifications would be greater in the imperfective condition. Consistent with this possibi lity, participants in the imperfective condition ( M = 16.58, SD = 5.43) made significantly more high-level id entifications than pa rticipants in the perfective condition ( M = 12.84, SD = 6.43), F (1, 53) = 5.24, p = .03. Although further research is required to validate this initial finding with different dependent va riables, establish the mechanism responsible for it (for example, inferring intentions from actions), and identify its boundaries (for example, high cognitive load), th e finding is, nevertheless, provocative because it carries important practical impli cations. For example, a defense at torney might be able to make her client appear less responsib le for actions by framing the c lients prior behavior with a 53

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perfective as pect. Future research could explore this possibility directly in the context of a mock trial. Theoretical Extensions to the Language-Thought Relation and Theories of Grounded Cognition Although formal characteristics of language are likely to aff ect the contents of thought, there is relatively little eviden ce of linguistic effects on basic t hought processes such as attention, memory, and perception. (Gleitman & Papafr agou, 2005; but see Glenberg & Kaschak, 2002) One possible reason for this general lack of confirmatory evidence is the reliance on crosscultural analysis to investigate effects of language on thought. (Stapel & Semin, 2007) Such methods confound language with other cultural fact ors and often fail to account for the fact that languages around the world are strikingly similar. (Pinker, 1994) As I used experimental procedures to investigate the relation between language and thought, my findings can contribute to understanding the effects of la nguage on basic cognitive processes. Language may influence thought to invoke feelings of coherence and to facilitate situated action. (Smith & Semin, 2004; Vygotsky, 1962) One interesting possibility is that aspect works to create coherent behavioral representations, which may be ne cessary to sustain and explain ones behaviors. (Wegner, 2005) For example, the ability to retain thoughts of an action until that action is completed may be necessary to perceive intentionality. (Wegner, 2005) Also, the ability to continue an action may depend on retaining the thought of the action in memory until the action is completed. Therefore, by improving memo ry for past actions, th e imperfective aspect may serve important functions. The current research also cont ributes to the view that knowledge is embodied in the sense that thinking of an action may require retrievi ng action-relevant knowledg e. Interestingly, this idea has received some support from past research showing that activating behavioral memories 54

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55 promotes tendencies to produce these behaviors. (Dijksterhuis & Bargh, 2001) Unlike past research, however, my experiments manipulated the way in which action thoughts were represented by using subtle aspect markers. The current findings ar e consistent with the idea that thinking requires doing: An asp ect marker that described expe riences as ongoing rather than completed enhanced memory for action-rele vant knowledge and incr eased tendencies to reproduce an action at a later time. Closing Note Past research has shown that the mere thought of a past action can exert a causal influence on memories and future behaviors. (review by Bem, 1967; Dijksterhuis & Bargh, 2001; Olson & Stone, 2005) Nonetheless, up to th is point, there was little if a ny knowledge of how the linguistic representation of these thoughts in fluences memory for past actions and future actions. Four experiments showed that the apparently trivial contingency of describing an action with the imperfective (vs. the perfectiv e) aspect improved memory for action-relevant knowledge and ignited repetition of the prior actions.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKE TCH William P. Hart has a Bachelor of Science de gree from Loyola University Chicago, USA. He joined the Ph.D. program of social psychology at the University of Florida in August 2004. William P. Hart received his Master of Science degree, majoring in social psychology, in August 2006. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree, majoring in psychology, in May 2009. 63