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!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine