Automatic for the People: How Representations of Significant Others Implicitly Affect Goal Pursuit

  • Shah J
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Abstract

Five studies are presented that explore how representations of significant others may automatically affect goal pursuit. Specifically, evidence is presented that suggests goals may be primed by one's representation of a significant other and that this priming may be moderated by one's closeness to this other individual. It is also shown to be affected by the number of different goals associated with this person. The greater the number of goals associated with a significant other, the less likely this individual will invoke any 1 goal very strongly. Such goal priming is shown to have implications for the extent to which goals are pursued (as seen through task persistence and performance) as well as the extent to which they are inhibited or ignored (especially when an individual is associated with a goal unrelated to a current pursuit).

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