Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 909–919 | Cite as

Silver linings in the face of temptations: how mixed emotions promote self-control efforts in response to goal conflict

  • Raul BerriosEmail author
  • Peter Totterdell
  • Stephen Kellett
Original Paper


Choosing between conflicting goals is a frequent yet difficult problem, especially when temptations are involved because self-control effort is required to overcome them. This study investigated whether experiencing mixed emotions in response to goal conflict can facilitate the necessary self-control effort needed to resist temptations. A sample of 73 individuals participated in an intensive longitudinal study, completing several measures 4 times a day during ten consecutive days, producing over 2500 observations. Results derived from using multilevel structural equation modeling confirmed that mixed emotions mediated the relationship between perceived goal conflict and intentions to resist temptations, over and above the influence of single positive emotions or negative emotions, and trait levels of self-control. Implication of these findings for collaboration and the impact of mixed emotions in more general social dilemmas are explored.


Mixed emotions Self-control Temptations Goal conflict 



This research is supported by The National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development—FONDECYT—research Grant Number 11171158 and by Proyecto Basal USACH USA1498_BR011127.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversidad de Santiago de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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