Stuck in the Middle: The Psychophysics of Goal Pursuit

Bonezzi, Andrea and Brendl, C. Miguel and De Angelis, Matteo. (2011) Stuck in the Middle: The Psychophysics of Goal Pursuit. Psychological Science, 22 (5). pp. 607-612.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/68460/

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The classic goal-gradient hypothesis posits that motivation to reach a goal increases monotonically with proximity to the desired end state. However, we argue that this is not always the case. In this article, we show that motivation to engage in goal-consistent behavior can be higher when people are either far from or close to the end state and lower when they are about halfway to the end state. We propose a psychophysical explanation for this tendency to get “stuck in the middle.” Building on the assumption that motivation is influenced by the perceived marginal value of progress toward the goal, we show that the shape of the goal gradient varies depending on whether an individual monitors progress in terms of distance from the initial state or from the desired end state. Our psychophysical model of goal pursuit predicts a previously undiscovered nonmonotonic gradient, as well as two monotonic gradients.
Faculties and Departments:06 Faculty of Business and Economics > Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Professuren Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Marketing (Brendl)
UniBasel Contributors:Brendl, C. Miguel
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:15 Mar 2022 13:53
Deposited On:17 Jan 2019 13:15

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