Empowering People through Behavioral Science

Purpose in Goal Pursuit

In exploring the human experience of purpose, the NPP project has identified several core themes that are particularly significant, and which provide a useful framework for organizing our activities.  This page displays the content from this website tagged for one of those themes: Purpose in Goal Pursuit.

The Purpose in Goal Pursuit theme focuses our attention on the situational or contextual factors that might influence people’s motivation to set, pursue, and accomplish their significant short- and long-term goals. How do such external influences (e.g., physical environment, social forces, peers) compare to and work with internal influences (e.g., self-control, moral identity, personal beliefs) in inspiring and facilitating the achievement of purpose? See below for content related to our emerging insights.

 

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Apr 09 2014
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose

Learning (the Wrong) Lessons From Our Successes

How can we accurately anticipate future improvement in our pursuits? A new paper suggests that past achievement may lead us astray.

By Alex Shaw, Oren Shapira
Apr 01 2014
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

The Art of Asking for Help, Twice

Is it worth asking for a favor from someone who has refused before? A new paper suggests that our intuitions about such situations are misguided, potentially making us miss out on opportunities to get needed help.

By Oren Shapira, Alex Shaw
Mar 20 2014
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose

Inside the Science of Purpose: Ayelet Fishbach

In our continuing series of monthly interviews called “Inside the Science of Purpose,” Ayelet Fishbach explains, "Goals--both personal and societal--provide purpose in the sense that they define the reason for human action." 

By Alex Shaw, Oren Shapira
Mar 12 2014
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose
Purpose Across the Lifespan

How to Narrow the First-Generation Gap in Education?

First-generation college students often struggle in college compared to students whose parents have college degrees. What type of intervention is better at helping first-generation students, one that emphasizes the unique challenges of being a first-generation student or one that treats everyone equally? New research from Nicole Stephens and colleagues provides an answer…

By Alex Shaw, Oren Shapira
Feb 28 2014
Purpose in Goal Pursuit

Tempting Yourself into Doing the Right Thing

How can you get yourself to indulge less in the things that you “want” and do more of the things you “should” do? A study conducted at a gym proposes “temptation bundling” as a new method to tackle the self-control challenge.

By Oren Shapira, Alex Shaw
Dec 13 2013
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

Gift Exchange: When Does the Thought Really Count?

Choosing the holiday gift that will be most appreciated can be challenging sometimes. When is it the thought that counts and when is it all about choosing the right gift? Research by Yan Zhang and Nicholas Epley provides some intriguing insights, including an unexpected benefit of gift exchange for givers. 

By Oren Shapira, Alex Shaw
Nov 19 2013
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose

Inside the Science of Purpose: Chris Bryan

Chris Bryan discusses his new research project, which is aimed at getting teens to adopt more healthy eating habits: “Teens are at a stage in life where they’re devoting a lot of thought to the kind of person they want to be, so we’ll teach them how standing up to food marketing and resisting its influence is one way to be an independent-minded, socially conscious person.”

By Alex Shaw
Nov 04 2013
Purpose in Goal Pursuit

Experimenting with Purpose: Getting Ready for Self-Control

To achieve our purpose and not stray towards salient but often harmful temptations, we have to exercise self-control. Can we get ourselves prepared to do that, and if so – what does it teach us about the underlying psychology? Dr. Tali Kleiman tells us about new research in which she explored these questions. 

By Tali Kleiman
Sep 14 2013
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Purpose & Well-Being

Inside the Science of Purpose: Benjamin Converse

By understanding the urgent—important conflict, we hope to be better able to predict the forces that will promote the choice of important over urgent goals. In the long run, this may allow leaders of institutions to design incentive systems (and social systems) that promote important-goal pursuit, help professionals achieve their personally preferred balance of important-versus-urgent choices, and increase the likelihood that people facing traumatic events (e.g., severe illness) will emerge with purpose. 

By Oren Shapira, Alex Shaw
Sep 03 2013
Purpose in Goal Pursuit
Practical Tools for Purpose

How to Maintain a Going-Back-to-School State of Mind?

A new school year usually starts with high hopes and aspirations to be the best students we can be, but later we may be tempted to cut ourselves some slack. Why is there a “middle slump” in motivation, and how can we overcome it? A recent paper by Professors Maferima Touré-Tillery and Ayelet Fishbach of the NPP Network suggests some novel answers.

By Oren Shapira, Alex Shaw

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