Consumers who set ambitious goals have a greater level of satisfaction compared to those who set conservative goals, according to a recently published paper by the Cecile K. Cho, a University of California, Riverside assistant marketing professor.
Cho and her co-author and Gita Venkataramani Johar, a professor at Columbia University, set up two experiments to compare people who set ambitious goals to those who set conservative goals. They focused on situations in which goals were achieved, and measured the level of satisfaction with the achieved goals.
"The moral of the story is don't sell yourself short," Cho said. "Aim high."
The paper, "Attaining Satisfaction," has been published online in the Journal of Consumer Research. It will appear in the December issue of the journal.
The paper aimed to answer whether lowering expectations helps manage happiness. The question was answered through two experiments.
In the first one, 134 participants were asked to set a target rate of return that they would be satisfied with and asked to pick from a percentage range of 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 or 20. Low goal setters were defined as those who set the rate at 14 percent of lower. High goal setters were those who set the rate at greater than 14 percent.
Participants were then asked to allocate their $5,400 budget by picking three of 20 fictitious stocks presented to them.
After a 10-minute filler task, participants received the return of their stock portfolio, handwritten by the experimenter so it matched their goal. Participants were led to believe their stock allocation had been entered into a database to get actual returns.
The experimenters then concocted three feedback scenarios.
In the first one, only the stock performance information was provided. This is called the "default" condition of interest. In the second one, the participants were first told the typical return of stocks was 6 percent to 20 percent and then told how their stocks performed. In the last scenario, participants were first reminded what their goal was and then told how their stocks performed. Participants were then asked to rate their satisfaction on 9-point scales.
Of interest is whether all participants, who achieve their goals, are similarly happy. Existing research would predict that those who achieve their goals should be satisfied. Results suggested otherwise.
In the first "default" scenario, high goal setters average satisfaction was 7.85 while low goal setters were at 6.53.
In the third scenario, where the range of possible outcomes was reiterated, a similarly large gap occurred between high-goal setters (8.57) and low goal setters (6.98).
In the second scenario, where participants were reminded of their goal, the gap in happiness level between the two groups disappeared, with high goal setters at 7.72 and low goal setters at 7.46.
This suggested that when people set goals, they don't necessarily recall this goal to evaluate their performance, but recruit a higher comparison point to do so. This upward comparison process likely negatively impacts their satisfaction with the performance of their portfolio.
A second experiment involving puzzles found similar results.
The paper is one of several about happiness and goals written or planned to be written by Cho, whose research focuses on consumer motivation and satisfaction.
A paper she co-authored in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research looked at consumer decisions when confronted with similar products with different features in a controlled experimental setting. She and her colleagues demonstrated consumers who experience heightened conflict due to their shifting motivational state are more likely to be swayed by irrelevant information which often leads to suboptimal choices.
Future papers will look at the reasons people lower their goals and sequential goal setting, in other words if you reach your first goal how does it impact setting a second goal.
Sean Nealon | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences