Lay Conceptions of Norm-Based Approach and Avoidance Motivation: Implications for the Performance-Approach and Performance-Avoidance Goal Relation

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Objective: Performance-approach goals and performance-avoidance goals are conceptually distinct, but they are often moderately or even highly positively correlated. The present research examines lay conceptions of approach and avoidance motivation as a moderator of this intergoal relation.

Method: Study 1 (N = 281) assessed whether participants considered norm-based approach motivation as being the same or different from norm-based avoidance motivation and tested these conceptions as a moderator of the performance goal correlation. Study 2 (N = 990) measured and experimentally manipulated lay conceptions.

Results: In both studies, individuals who viewed approach and avoidance motivation as different exhibited a smaller performance goal correlation and lower performance-based goal adoption than those who viewed approach and avoidance goals as the same. Findings from experimentally manipulated conceptions provided further clarity regarding the precise nature of the relations and mean differences observed. Specifically, moderation was driven by the different condition (where the differences between approach and avoidance were highlighted).

Conclusions: This research sheds light on the nature and magnitude of the focal performance-based goal correlation and highlights the value of attending to lay conceptions of approach and avoidance motivation as well as lay conceptions of ability.


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Publication Title

Journal of Personality

Published Citation

Hangen, Emily J., Andrew J. Elliot, and Jeremy P. Jamieson. "Lay conceptions of norm‐based approach and avoidance motivation: Implications for the performance‐approach and performance‐avoidance goal relation." Journal of Personality 87, no. 4 (2019): 737-749. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12429



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