MULTIFINAL NO MORE: DEACTIVATION OF THE BACKGROUND GOAL CAUSES (PRICE) DEVALUATION OF MULTIFINAL MEANS
Kruglanski, Arie W
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Motivation has been of interest to psychological researchers going back as far a Kurt Lewin (1936), but recent advances using the "New Look" in motivation paradigm have led to an explosion of research over the past fifteen years. One such new theory, goal systems theory (Kruglanski et al., 2002), predicts that multifinal means will lose their advantaged valuation over unifinal mean when the background goal they facilitate is deactivated. Seven studies sought to provide evidence that this will occur whether the goal is deactivated due to loss of desirability, loss of attainability, or due to attainment of the goal. Evidence was obtained suggesting that goal attainment does in fact deactivate the goal and eliminate the valuation advantage, although evidence obtained from testing the the mechanism of goal desirability was not supportive of the theory. The evidence for the role of goal unattainability deactivating the goal and eliminating the overvaluation was mixed, suggesting a potentially more complex mechanism than had been theorized. These studies provide insight not only on a basic psychological process, but to illustrate potential applications in consumer and financial markets as well.