Eat, drink and be scary: Halloween hijacks social norms

It’s Halloween, and later tonight people all over America and the Western world will celebrate by asking strangers to give them treats, pulling some obnoxious pranks (read: vandalism and theft1) and/or by dressing up as something they are not. And people who don’t participate in these activities (minus the vandalism for most of us) are considered downers who can’t have fun. For many of us, Halloween is fun. Going out into the world wearing an acceptable lie is exhilarating. It’s like makeup on crack. You get to present a totally different face to the world without being branded disingenuous. You are even lauded for your pretending, with compliments and contests for the people who seem the least like themselves. For a social psychologist, it isn’t that surprising that people of all ages love Halloween, long after the candy train dries up. People have public and private selves, and Halloween gives them a chance to let their freak flags fly out in the open.

The normative acceptance of uninhibited behavior on Halloween is one of its most powerful allures. Without using drugs or alcohol, adults have very few chances to express themselves outside of the normal confines of human interaction. While children can just spontaneously pretend to be dinosaurs in the middle of the math lesson, that doesn’t exactly fly in the typical workday. Halloween comes with its own set of norms, like most holidays, called situational norms. People tend to eat similar kinds of foods, perform similar kinds of rituals, go to similar kinds of places and surround themselves with similar kinds of people. Because holidays have their own norms, they supersede the norms that people usually adhere to. While some holidays may institute more chaste norms, like Easter Sunday, some holidays encourage public intoxication and belligerent nationalism, like the Fourth of July. Halloween encourages people to wallow in a slightly darker version of themselves. To express hidden identities and indulge in desires they usually resist.

Even though we usually think of norms as being society wide, any group can institute norms for any period of time. They change over time, they change depending on the group of people you are with and they change depending on whether or not you are alone. I’m talking about eating 25 fun sized Snickers bars while you are waiting for trick or treaters, not living some sort of secret double life. People usually behave differently when they are alone. But on Halloween all bets are off. While most people wouldn’t usually wear their Merry Widow or pajamas out of the house, there are 10 such individuals packing the bar you’re at on Halloween. I know one woman who dubbed her costume “expensive prostitute.” Most people wouldn’t want to act out the role of expensive prostitute while trying to be heard at a work meeting, or while trying to get a loan at the bank, but this lady is going to be selling herself on the streets tonight in a socially sanctioned way.

It’s probably a good thing we have public and private selves. I don’t want to see you at peak weekend, in your sweatpants, with chip crumbs on your chest and the greasy sheen of Netflix reflected off your unwashed forehead. That’s you time! But it’s also good to have time when we get to decompress, and let go of our controlled behavior. Inhibition is one of the three elements of self-control, along with initiation and continuation/maintenance.2 It’s often one of the toughest challenges for us, to inhibit our natural desires to eat the candy, or to stay in bed when we need to get ready for work. It takes self-control to resist these desires, and some theorists believe that we only have a limited store of self-control to resist them with.3 When we use that self-control, we become depleted, which means that we are unable to engage in controlled behavior for a short time while we replenish our stores. This is why we are so much more exhausted when we spend an hour at a networking event, being the best version of ourselves, than we are after spending an evening with friends, where we are relaxed and less worried about adhering to norms.

Halloween is almost like a big self-control break for both adults and children. It gives us the opportunity to eat junk food with impunity, to pay money for cheap thrills, to put graveyard markers on our front lawns and to wear our underwear outside. And in the tightly controlled world that we usually live in, it’s a welcome reprieve to let go for one night. Have a safe and spooky Halloween to all from us here at SocialPsyQ!

 

  1. Diener, E., Fraser, S. C., Beaman, A. L., & Kelem, R. T. (1976). Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters. Journal of personality and social psychology33(2), 178.
  2. Hoyle, R. H., & Davisson, E. K. (in press). Measurement of self-control by self-report: Considerations and recommendations. In D. de Ridder, M. Adriaanse, & K. Fujita (Eds.), Handbook of self-control in health and well-being. New York: Routledge.
  3. Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice, D. M. (1998). Ego depletion: is the active self a limited resource?. Journal of personality and social psychology74(5), 1252.

For more reading about norms:

Aarts, H., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2003). The silence of the library: environment, situational norm, and social behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology84(1), 18.

Allen, V. L. (1965). Situational factors in conformity. Advances in experimental social psychology2, 133-175.

Schultz, P. W., Nolan, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Goldstein, N. J., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychological science18(5), 429-434.

Wild horses: Harnessing your love intensity

iloveyou

For a few months after it was published in January 2015, Mandy Len Catron’s article “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” about the 36 questions to increase intimacy seemed to be everywhere. People shared it all over Twitter and Facebook, sometimes cynically, other times hopefully. This article and these questions, originally from a 1997 article in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin claimed to have (at least) a partial solution to the time-old question: Can you choose who you love? Catron shared her experience testing these questions with a stranger, who she ultimately fell in love with and was dating by the time the article was published.

More broadly, this article raises a fair question and an intriguing proposition: maybe we can control the choice of who we love. Or, perhaps, more specifically, we can cultivate the strength of our love for a person. A recent study by Langeslag and van Strien (2016)[1] found that, in fact, love may be less like a light switch and more like a volume setting. volumeIn other words, people likely have the capacity to change the intensity of their love for someone. And there’s an upside to that, of course. As a relationship evolves, it takes on a new depth leading to greater feelings of intimacy and more intense love. But sometimes—often—it doesn’t. People break up. They fall out of love. Sometimes, you love what you can’t have. What then? Who hasn’t been in a situation where they were on the receiving end of inadequate love or where they couldn’t reciprocate the love someone else had for them? Regardless of the position, it’s often devastating.

What do I mean by love? To those who are currently in love, especially in the beginning stages, it defies explanation. It just IS. But love has been defined and measured in many ways. For this study, Langeslag and van Strien focus on two components of romantic love: infatuation (i.e., passion, attraction) and attachment (emotional bonding or intimacy). They recruited 40 participants, half of whom were currently in a romantic relationship and the other half of whom had recently experienced a break-up. People viewed 30 pictures of their partner (or ex-partner) for four rounds while an EEG recorded their brain activity. In the last two rounds, they were asked to use reappraisal (i.e., reinterpreting a situation to change its emotional meaning) when viewing each picture. Most importantly, people who had recently been through a break-up were instructed to use reappraisal to decrease their feelings of love by focusing on negative aspects of the ex-partner or the relationship (e.g., “We fight a lot” or “She’s lazy”). In contrast, participants currently in a relationship used reappraisal to increase their love feelings (e.g., “She’s so funny” or “We’ll get married someday”). People also recorded their levels of infatuation and attachment to their (ex-)partners before and after the EEG. It should also be noted that these participants reported feeling that love was uncontrollable.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people who viewed pictures of their exes who used negative reappraisal reported feeling less infatuated and less attached after the images than before. People who used positive reappraisal of their current partners reported higher feelings of infatuation and attachment. And, most convincingly, EEG reports corresponded with these self-reports. In other words, people weren’t just telling the researchers what they wanted to hear or were tricking themselves into thinking they were less heartbroken or more in love than was true. The pattern of brain activity suggested these shifts in thinking were genuine. Now was this a permanent fix? That’s less likely, but there’s no reason to suggest that cognitive reappraisal is a tool that can’t be used in a person’s life just like it was used in a lab setting.

The implications, of course, are encouraging. Using cognitive reappraisal to decrease love intensity after a break-up can speed folks along in the recovery process. For people in long-term relationships, where it’s natural for infatuation or even attachment to fade over time[2], cognitive reappraisal may be a useful tool in maintaining feelings of love. And sure, there are some relationship that aren’t meant to last for a variety of reasons. However, this study suggests that regardless of whether you’re newly single or attached, you possess the capacity to train your brain to feel better. How’s that for a happy ending?

otters

Otters mate for life. No love regulation needed.


[1] Langeslag & van Strien. (2016). Regulation of romantic love feelings: Preconceptions, strategies, and feasibility. PLoS One, 11, 1-29.

[2] Langeslag, Muris, & Franken. (2013). Measuring romantic love: Psychometric properties of the Infatuation and Attachment Scales. The Journal of Sex Research, 50, 739-747.

White Privilege at the voting booth: How pervasive is white privilege?

36749-white-privilege-does-not-mean-a-white-person-has-money-but-refers-to

Image from Quote Addicts

In 1988, Peggy McIntosh wrote a famous piece called, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”1 In the essay, she discusses how belonging to advantaged groups, like white people or men, contributes to the ways that we navigate and perceive our worlds. She makes a stirring point about how easy it is to recognize racism, but that we often have a difficult time seeing how we may be advantaged due to the existence of that racism. You don’t not need to be engaging in racist behavior, using racial epithets or endorsing the bigotries of others in order to be advantaged by societal attitudes. The sad thing, McIntosh points out, is that people who are oppressive in their societal roles are often unaware that they are occupying roles at all.

For instance, people don’t readily recognize that they are more likely to hire white people over people of color, but research shows that this is indeed the case.2 When researchers sent out identical resumes, but with black or white sounding names, people with white sounding names received 50% more interview requests.2 White people are often convinced that anti-white sentiment is actually becoming a bigger problem than anti-black bias, and that attempts to decrease racism are a “zero-sum game” that increases bias towards whites.3 And that’s pretty damn troubling, y’all. As Jen pointed out last week, implicit bias against black people, and black men in particular, results in a larger number of escalated police encounters. While white people are becoming increasingly concerned about being blamed for the problems of minorities, black people are literally worried about being killed in the middle of the day during a routine traffic stop.

As per usual, arguments that equate racism and “reverse racism”* present a false equivalence: there is no systematic disadvantage to being white. White people are armed with our invisible knapsack of privilege. We dominate accounts of history, we see images that look like ourselves everywhere and we can be assured that when things don’t go our way, it is likely not because we’re white. Peggy McIntosh so eloquently hits on the subtlety of privilege in her essay, so I will borrow some of her words. “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed,” “When I am told about our national heritage or about ‘civilization,’ I am shown that people of my color made it what it is,” “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group,” “I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race,” and  “I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.”

What McIntosh is tapping into here is how unrecognizable the receipt of privilege is. We are not aware that it is happening unless we attempt to be aware of it. We enjoy these invisible privileges, and resent others for suggesting that we have such privileges at all. Even within the context of our presidential election, we have one candidate who is recognizing the disadvantages that black citizens are experiencing on all levels of the legal system, and we have another suggesting that a racist, unconstitutional policy should be widely implemented in order to restore “law and order” to our cities.

For some, the solution is this simple. Black neighborhoods are more violent, therefore black people are more violent, therefore we need to police them with more vigor. For others, there is recognition that the problems in black neighborhoods have much to do with the lack of white privilege. Lack of access to quality education, lack of exposure to suitable role models, lack of mentorship from non-family members, lack of networking contacts in hiring positions, lack of parental free-time to help with home education…You could go on for days. The fact is that there is a flip side to implicit bias, and it’s this kind of implicit inflation. There’s a famous saying, “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.” Sometimes, we simply can’t take credit for everything that we have. We didn’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Sometimes, we received some of those things simply because we are white, or we at least had easier access to them because we have racial privilege. And make no mistake, there are plenty of kinds of privilege. Class, male, and heterosexual privilege all exist as well. People who are advantaged in one domain are not necessarily advantaged in all domains.

In election years in particular, it’s important to recognize where our thinking may suggest that we have a narrow perspective on the issue. Barack and Michelle Obama have recently talked about how third-party votes in this election are votes for Donald Trump. People who disagree have taken to online forums declaring that they are simply voting their conscience, and not violating their own sense of integrity. Well, the next president will choose at least 2 Supreme Court justices, will have access to the nuclear codes and has the ability to set women’s, minority and LGBT rights back by several years. But at least you can tuck your integrity into your invisible knapsack.

*In quotes, because it doesn’t exist. Anti-white bias, prejudice or discrimination, sure, but not racism, due to a lack of systematic disadvantage due to being white.

  1. McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Race, class, and gender in the United States: An integrated study4, 165-169.
  2. Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. The American Economic Review94(4), 991-1013.
  3. Norton, M. I., & Sommers, S. R. (2011). Whites see racism as a zero-sum game that they are now losing. Perspectives on Psychological Science6(3), 215-218.

 

Forecasting Self-Control

Today’s guest writer is Andrew Hall, a current social psychology PhD student at Northwestern University.head 8

Have you ever established plans to maintain a healthy weight or to exercise more, only to find that the presence of sweets or the temptation of television steers you away from your lofty goal? If you answered yes to this question, you may not be alone: people might frequently craft flawed predictions of their own ability to exert self-control in future situations, making for disagreements between what is predicted and what is actually achieved when trying to exert self-control. In a new line of research, social psychologists are investigating whether this perceived inaccuracy in self-control predictions—termed “self-control forecasting” in the literature—is a commonly-occurring phenomenon in human behavior and, potentially, a quality that could impact the way that we approach goal-setting and goal-attainment moving forward.

But what exactly is self-control? We define self-control as the process by which one alters one’s immediate thoughts, emotions, or behaviors in order to promote future goals or idealized states [1]. In other words, self-control translates to restraining current impulses (e.g., watching television) in favor of actions that move a person toward a desired future state (e.g., paying bills on time). If there are inaccuracies in the way that one “forecasts” self-control, then there are discrepancies between one’s predicted ability to resist these current impulses in favor of desired future states and one’s actual behavior when confronted with the self-control situation.

Although the qualities of self-control predictions have not been thoroughly investigated in the psychological literature, anecdotally, we know that these predictions may not be consistently accurate. This reasoning largely draws from research on a related subject, that of affective forecasting. Affective forecasting describes a person’s ability to predict his or her future emotional or “affective” states [2][3]. People have been shown to make flawed predictions of their future affective states, tending to overestimate both the intensity and duration of emotional reactions [2][4][3]. Researchers of self-control forecasting attempt to draw this same conclusion about behavioral prediction: could it be possible that humans are just as bad at predicting future ability to exert self-control as they are at predicting future affective states?

An initial exploratory analysis conducted at Duke University suggests that this may be the case. When asked to describe a time in the past in which they made inaccurate self-control predictions, all 192 of the respondents in a recent survey were able to provide rich descriptions of experiences in which they made self-control predictions in response to a temptation that differed from their realized behaviors. That respondents were able to detail instances of self-control forecasting inaccuracies with such rich description and only minimal prompting suggests that such prediction inaccuracies are not unusual to the average person. Extending upon this conclusion, the categories of temptations from the responses were very diverse, with responses that included food, sex, exercise, and relaxation, among others. This diversity suggests that these inaccuracies may characterize self-control predictions in general and not just those associated with a specific type of temptation. Additionally, though they were permitted to respond about a temptation that occurred within the past month, all participants detailed temptations that occurred within the past week, providing further evidence that these prediction inaccuracies are fairly common occurrences. Taken together, these results suggest that inaccurate self-control predictions are not unheard of in a general sample and may actually be commonplace occurrences.

Although self-control forecasting research is still in an early stage, these initial exploratory results are promising. It appears as though forecasts of future self-control abilities are not always accurate and that these inaccuracies are not infrequent occurrences. However, further studies are needed in order to determine the magnitude and frequency of this effect. In the meantime, many of us can at least be reassured that we are not alone in our self-control prediction inaccuracies, lofty self-improvement goals be damned.


 

Andrew hails from Charlotte, NC, where he lived before shuffling slightly north to receive a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University. At Duke, he completed research investigating social psychological phenomena related to the self and self-regulation. He is currently a graduate student in the PhD program in social psychology at Northwestern University. His research focuses on the social side of self-regulatory functioning, as well as how self-implemented goals and mental ideations about identity affect one’s ability to achieve appropriate self-regulatory control. Outside of the lab, Andrew enjoys going on runs in the sweltering southern heat and cooking dishes that have been described by critics as “edible.”

 

1-Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M. (2007). The strength model of self-control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16 (6), 351-355.
2-Bueller, R., & McFarland, C. (2001). Intensity bias in affective forecasting: The role of temporal focus. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1480-1493.
3-Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). Affective forecasting. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
4-Gilbert, D. T., Pinel, E. C., Wilson, T. D., Blumberg, S. J., & Wheatley, T. P. (1998). Immune neglect: A source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Journal of Perosnality and Social Psychology, 75, 617-638.

social psych snapshot: week of 10/5/15


Hannah
This week, Hannah provides the research highlights of early fall 2015!

You may already know about the cognitive consequences of Google but this article explores some social consequences of Google and technology more broadly.

Promising lab research suggests that comedy may be an effective means of coping with emotional distress.

New research conceptually replicates an old finding – that taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) can blunt negative emotions – and extends it, suggesting that acetaminophen may blunt strong positive and negative emotions alike.

Hm… I won’t be trying this unusual method of enhancing self-control based on the theory of inhibitory spillover: that trying to control your behavior in one domain might help you control your behavior in another.


Hannah graduated with a degree in Psychology from Reed College, and worked in educational research and meta-analysis as a lab manager at Duke University before entering the Social Psychology PhD program in 2014. Her research focuses on social psychological processes at work in educational contexts.

Minority Influence: Why Black Lives Matter Matters

black-lives-matter-1

Image from Socially Urban

Minorities are a paradoxical thing. Even though they are composed of a small amount of people, they can have incredible influence. Many major advancements and legal movements have been spear-headed by minorities, ranging from the followers of Copernicus spreading the word of heliocentrism, to teetotalers advocating for alcohol prohibition, and ultimately amending the constitution, in the U.S.. Few great achievements come without challenge, and equal treatment for black citizens under the law appears to be one of those things. We know from history that small groups of people can accomplish big things, which is why it’s important to keep the Black Lives Matter movement alive for change to occur in penal and legal overreach.

For decades, social psychologists have studied minority influence, which, as you may have guessed, is the capacity for a small group of people with an unpopular opinion to change beliefs.1,2 In any given social issue, the dominant group, or those in power, have the most social influence over the target population, the people the group is hoping to influence. But minority groups gain traction by challenging the dominant group, presenting themselves as innovative alternatives to the status quo.3 Research has largely found that opinion change caused by the majority is often temporary and public, whereas opinion changes caused by the minority are indirect and persistent.4,5,6 Majorities inspire public conformity, but minorities foster true attitude change. Unfortunately, privately held opinions don’t help to propel minority movements, but they may be a better reflection of where someone will allocate his or her voting power, alone in a cubicle in an elementary school gym.

In addition to being influential, people who are in minority groups are liked by others. One study planted minority influencers in teams over the course of a 10 week study, and found that teams with members that advocated for the minority position improved their divergent thinking and came up with more original products than control groups without a minority influencer.7 Minority influencers were also given higher ratings by peers, indicating that group members valued the minority contributions.7 Since we know that groupthink can lead to terrible decision-making, it is not that surprising that team members would value teammates who help to point out potential pitfalls. However, it is surprising that those minority members were better liked than people who shared the majority opinion, giving us hope that social change doesn’t have to equal social conflict.

Interrupting Bernie Sanders’ Seattle campaign event earlier this month may have been controversial, but it has helped to keep the Black Lives Matter movement in the news. Only once there is enough tension will the dominant group be forced to answer to the movement, and Black Lives Matter is obviously fueled by passionate, young people who are willing to be persistent in changing attitudes. Research does indicate that Black Lives Matter may benefit from a more centralized operating structure, as consistency of the message of the group, as well as the confidence with which attempts are made to convey the message, are important factors for influencing majority members.8

Individually, we can all do our part to open our minds and hearts to the message of minority movements, and allow ourselves to be guided by the evidence at hand over political dogma. The Black Lives Matter movement has already had an incredible influence on the political climate of the 2016 election. As long as they continue to challenge the status quo with consistency and credibility, attitude change is all but inevitable.

  1. Maass, A., & Clark, R. D. (1984). Hidden impact of minorities: Fifteen years of minority influence research. Psychological Bulletin, 95(3), 428.
  1. Moscovici, S., & Lage, E. (1976). Studies in social influence III: Majority versus minority influence in a group. European Journal of Social Psychology, 6(2), 149-174.
  1. Mugny, G., & Pérez, J. A. (1991). The social psychology of minority influence. Cambridge University Press.
  1. Maass, A., & Clark, R. D. (1983). Internalization versus compliance: Differential processes underlying minority influence and conformity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13(3), 197-215.
  1. Nemeth, C. J. (1986). Differential contributions of majority and minority influence. Psychological review, 93(1), 23.
  1. Moscovici, S., & Personnaz, B. (1980). Studies in social influence: V. Minority influence and conversion behavior in a perceptual task. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 16(3), 270-282.
  1. Dyne, L., & Saavedra, R. (1996). A naturalistic minority influence experiment: Effects on divergent thinking, conflict and originality in work‐groups. British Journal of Social Psychology, 35(1), 151-167.
  1. Nemeth, C., & Wachtler, J. (1974). Creating the perceptions of consistency and confidence: A necessary condition for minority influence. Sociometry, 529-540.

Getting ish done: Setting and achieving realistic goals

Summer is a time when people set new goals for themselves. It means more time for exercising, gardening, catching up with friends, or organizing your place. It could also mean traveling, more work, or any combination of these activities. But setting goals does not guarantee success of goals…

Goals Pie Chart
Why is it easier to achieve some goals than others? Aside from the obvious—some goals are genuinely more difficult to achieve, like buying a home compared to earning a free coffee after purchasing 12 coffees prior—other factors may be influencing your success. Using goal research, the following questions serve as a primer to increase your likelihood of successful goal pursuit.
1. How is the goal defined? The more concretely a goal is defined, the easier it is to measure progress toward goal achievement. For example, let’s imagine that someone has a goal to eat healthier. An admirable and respectable goal, indeed, but what does eating healthier mean to this person? What would success for this goal look like? The more specifically the goal is defined, the easier it is to track progress toward goal achievement. Maybe eating healthier means eating a banana every day. Maybe it means limiting dessert to twice a week. Regardless of the form they take, setting tangible markers of progress increases your likelihood of success [1].

2. Do you think you can do it? Setting realistic goals is not new advice, but it bears repeating. Your expectations of goal achievement influence your progress toward and your commitment to your goal. If you expect yourself to crash and burn, then you probably will. Many of us have experienced this firsthand. If you have a goal of reducing social media usage, but you doubt that you can break up with Facebook, then readjusting your goal to account for your own preferences is recommended. Sometimes this translates into setting smaller and manageable goals first, and then working up to a greater, and ultimately desired, end goal. Maybe you strive to reduce your Facebook usage gradually, or you eliminate Twitter or Tumblr first, for example.

3. How close are you to achieving this goal? Beginning a new goal versus being near goal completion typically requires different strategies. People often adjust their goal pursuit strategies without realizing it depending on the particular stage of goal pursuit. For example, some research suggests that people exaggerate any progress made in the beginning of pursuit to make success seem more attainable and downplay progress toward the end when close to goal completion to highlight the need for continued effort [2]. Other work suggests that perceiving progress toward a goal (i.e., believing that you’re closer to goal completion) leads to relaxed pursuit of the goal [3], also known as coasting. Coasting is when people don’t feel the need to work as hard toward the goal, because they’re doing just fine [4]. Both of these processes occur at different times depending on the type of goal you have (see questions 1 and 4).

4. Does this goal require maintenance? Some goals are obviously completed once you achieve them. Earning a degree, for example. While achieving this goal may have required maintaining certain behaviors over an extended period, goal achievement is obvious and clear-cut: you have your degree. Not surprisingly, many goals are not like this. Health goals are a prototypical maintenance goal. They’re never truly completed. Even if an initial first part has been achieved, such as reaching a goal weight, the maintenance phase will likely continue indefinitely, which is why continued success is difficult without additional reinforcements (to be discussed in a later post!). Maintenance goals often require rewards, consistent checking in with yourself about your progress, and, sometimes, flexibility regarding the means to goal achievement.

Goals are complicated. Rarely, if ever, do people pursue a single goal at any time [5]. We are continuously juggling and re-prioritizing our goals, big and small, every day of our lives. Doing so is undoubtedly hard work, and these questions certainly do not capture every element of goal pursuit. However, if you’re struggling to finish something or you need a refresher, ask yourself the questions above. They’re a good place to start.

Chibird.com


References
1 – Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., & Zheng, Y. (2006). The goal-gradient hypothesis resurrected: Purchase acceleration, illusionary goal progress, and customer retention. Journal of Marketing Research, 43, 39-58.
2 – Huang, S. C., Zhang, Y., & Broniarczyk, S. M. (2012). So near and yet so far: The mental representation of goal progress. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 225-241.
3 – Fishbach, A., & Dhar, R. (2005). Goals as excuses or guides: The liberating effect of perceived goal progress on choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 370-377.
4 – Carver, C.S. & Scheier, M.F. (2011). Self-regulation of action and affect. In K.D. Vohs & R.F. Baumeister (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (2nd ed.) (3-21). New York: Guilford Press.
5 – Kruglanski, A. W., Shah, J. Y., Fishbach, A., Friedman, R., Chun, W. Y., & Sleeth-Keppler, D. (2002). A theory of goal systems. Advances in experimental social psychology, 34, 331-378.