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EMAC 2022 Annual

The Impact of Temporal Framing on Motivation in Nonspecific Goal Pursuits.

Published: May 24, 2022


Almira Abilova, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Christophe Lembregts, RSM Erasmus University


Consumers frequently pursue goals that lack a specific outcome: losing as much weight as possible or wasting less time on social media. Such nonspecific goals have several advantages over specific goals at the beginning of goal pursuit. However, at more advanced stages of goal pursuit, people’s motivation drops as the distance from the only salient reference point – the initial state - increases. In the current work, we propose a framing intervention that may provide a buffer against such a motivational wear-out in nonspecific goal pursuits. In doing so, we investigate the role of time specificity: the time within which the goal objective should be achieved. We propose that motivation increases when attention is shifted from the (default) focus on how much time has elapsed (6 weeks since start) towards how much time remains (2 weeks to go with diet). We hope that our findings will advance understanding of maintaining consumer motivation to pursue nonspecific goals.