Special issue article
Needs instigate positive fantasies of idealized futures
Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Special Issue: Mental Time Travel: Social Psychological Perspectives on a Fundamental Human Capacity
Volume 42, Issue 3, pages 299–307, April 2012
How to Cite
Kappes, H. B., Schwörer, B. and Oettingen, G. (2012), Needs instigate positive fantasies of idealized futures. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 42: 299–307. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1854
- Issue published online: 13 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 14 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Received: 6 JUN 2011
- German Science Foundation. Grant Number: DFG 237/12-1
One form that mental time travel takes is fantasies about the future. Research to date has not established when people generate fantasies that depict an imagined future as particularly positive. We identify need state as a variable promoting positive fantasies about relevant stimuli (i.e., those that could address the need). In four studies, people with an aroused need (or with a stronger need) generated more positive fantasies depicting idealized future scenarios that were relevant to addressing the need, compared with people without this need (or with a weaker need). These results held for a variety of needs (meaning in life, drinking, relatedness, and power) and whether needs were manipulated (Studies 1–3) or measured (Study 4). The findings shed light on when and why people depict imagined futures as particularly positive. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.