You worked hard, now I play hard: explaining the vicarious goal satiation effect

Hampton, Jessica (2012). You worked hard, now I play hard: explaining the vicarious goal satiation effect Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hampton, Jessica
Thesis Title You worked hard, now I play hard: explaining the vicarious goal satiation effect
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Tobin
Total pages 91
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Literature has emerged demonstrating evidence for vicarious goal satiation, whereby watching others reach their goal gives individuals a sense that they have attained it themselves, without making actual progress towards it. The aim of the present research was to explain this effect. It was argued that witnessing goal fulfilment makes individuals switch focus from their focal goal to searching for alternative rewards. In Study 1, 82 first-year undergraduate students were randomly assigned to different levels of goal completion: participants either read a scenario depicting a complete goal, an incomplete goal or a control. Their performance on a dollar sign detection task was used as a measure of reward search and performance on an anagram task was a measure of goal pursuit. The results showed that witnessing goal completion lead individuals to be more biased towards perceiving rewards on the dollar sign task, compared to those who witnessed an incomplete goal. In Study 2, 45 students read one of the goal completion scenarios, their motivation was assessed using the Behavioral Activation System (BAS) and Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) scales, and they performed the anagram task. The results showed that individuals who witnessed goal completion had a greater desire for new fun rewards, than those who witnessed an incomplete goal, as measured using the fun-seeking subset of the BAS scale. Though these findings provided some support for the proposed argument, differences were only relative and no vicarious effects were apparent for anagram performance. Future research should continue to investigate the specificities of the vicarious goal satiation effect and possible avenues for future experiments are discussed. Uncovering the process behind vicarious goal satiation could have practical implications for optimizing goal pursuit in the workplace.
Keyword Vicarious goal satiation

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Created: Thu, 28 Feb 2013, 09:04:21 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology