July 11, 2012

When thinking about goals undermines goal pursuit

When thinking about goals undermines goal pursuit 
By Ayelet Fishbach and Jinhee Choi (2012)

Abstract: We explore how attending to the goals an activity achieves (i.e., its instrumentality) impacts the motivation to pursue the activity. We propose that the focus on the activity’s instrumentality renders the activity more valuable yet its experience less positive. Because experience is mainly salient while pursuing (vs. planning) an activity, attending to the activity’s instrumentality increases the intention to pursue the activity but decreases how persistently individuals pursue it. We document this impact of attending to goals on increased intentions but decreased persistence on various activities, from a exercising on a treadmill (Study 1) and creating origami (Study 2) to dental flossing (Study 3) and practicing yoga (Study 4).

2 comments:

  1. I wonder what would happen if they tried getting individuals to focus on intrinsic value of the activities. Would that increase how persistently an individual pursues the activity?

    So for example would someone who wants to exercise do it more if they focus on the good feelings one can get while exercising as opposed to the intrinsic benefits of exercise such as greater health.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Rodney, thanks. I think you are right.

    ReplyDelete

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