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The effect of perceptual fluency on goal pursuit

by Hall, Carrie Elizabeth.

Abstract (Summary)
THE EFFECT OF PERCEPTUAL FLUENCY ON GOAL PURSUIT By Carrie E. Hall Recent activation of a goal in the environment has been shown to produce non-conscious goal pursuit in a number of studies (e.g., Bargh, Gollwitzer, Lee-Chai, Barndollar, & Troetschel, 2001; Chartrand & Bargh, 1996; Fitzsimons & Bargh, 2003). In this work, I investigated the hypothesis that variations in the fluent processing of such recently activated goals might affect the magnitude of their impact on non-conscious goal pursuit activities. Specifically, I predicted that increases in the ease of goal prime processing would increase goal-pursuit behavior. This hypothesis was tested in two studies in which I investigated whether the fluent processing of a primed goal would influence signature goalpursuit characteristics: persistence in the face of obstacles and resumption after interruption. In Study 1, participants were (1) primed with an achievement goal using a technique that facilitated its fluent processing; (2) primed with an achievement goal using a technique that reduced its fluent processing; or (3) were primed with no goal. Later, participants were given an opportunity to persist at an achievement-related task. In Study 2, participants were primed with an achievement goal or not, in a way that either facilitated the prime’s fluent processing or not, and then all participants were given the opportunity to resume an achievement-related task following its interruption. Despite findings from a pilot study showing that increases in goal processing fluency increased goal evaluation, neither study found an effect of goal processing fluency on actual goal-related behavior. Speculations on why these studies failed to produce the predicted outcomes will be discussed as well as directions for future investigations in this area.
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Advisor:

School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:goal psychology motivation action theory

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