You can’t always remember what you want: The role of cortisol in self-ascription of assigned goals

M. Quirin, S.L. Koole, N. Baumann, M. Kazen, J. Kuhl

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Past work indicates that persistent stress leads people to misremember assigned tasks as self-selected, a phenomenon known as self-infiltration [Baumann, N., & Kuhl, J. (2003). Self-infiltration: Confusing assigned tasks as self-selected in memory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 487-497; Kazén, M., Baumann, N., & Kuhl, J. (2003). Self-infiltration vs. self-compatibility checking in dealing with unattractive tasks and unpleasant items: The moderating influence of state vs. action-orientation. Motivation & Emotion, 27, 157-197; Kuhl, J., & Kazén, M. (1994). Self-discrimination and memory: State orientation and false-self-ascription of assigned activities. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 66, 1103-1115]. The present research examined the link between self-infiltration and cortisol, a well-established stress hormone. Participants selected simple office tasks for later enactment and were assigned to do an additional set of office tasks by an instructor. After an 8-min stress induction, participants were unexpectedly asked to recognize which tasks were self-selected or assigned. Cortisol was assessed before and after the stress induction. As expected, self-infiltration was predicted both by pre- and by post-manipulation cortisol levels. These results point to some of the neuroendocrine functions that underlie the self. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1026-1032
    JournalJournal of Research in Personality
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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