Goal Imagery: Bridging the Gap Between Implicit Motives and Explicit Goals

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Abstract

Two studies examined the role of goal imagery (i.e., the perception-like mental representation of the pursuit and attainment of a goal) in establishing congruence between individuals’ implicit motives and their inclination to pursue explicit goals assigned to them. Study 1 found that after a goal-imagery exercise, implicit needs for power and affiliation predicted participants’ affective arousal and their commitment to a social-interaction goal furnished with power- and affiliation-related incentives. In Study 2, implicit power motivation predicted the level of performance participants achieved in pursuit of a competitive performance goal after a goal-imagery exercise. Without goal imagery, however, participants’ motivation to pursue an explicit goal was independent of their implicit motive dispositions in both studies.

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