Psychologists Discover the Four Foundations of Goal Setting
A team of researchers has conducted an exhaustive study of goal-related words used by English speakers in a bid to discover the foundations of human psychology with regard to goals and goal setting.
Based upon the analysis, the researchers from the University of Wyoming stated that goals can be broadly categorized into four sections.
- Prominence, which covers goals ranging from power and moneymaking to perfection and glory, but most strongly reflects the pursuit of social status — the desire to earn the respect, admiration and deference of others through one’s achievements.
- Inclusiveness, which covers a goal to open-mindedly accept people of all types.
- Negativity prevention, which covers goals to avoid a wide variety of negative outcomes, including conflict, disagreement, isolation and social discord.
- Tradition, which includes a desire to uphold the long-standing institutions of one’s culture – including religion, family, nation and other group values.
The researchers started with a list of more than 140,000 English nouns.
Through an intensive rating process, those were whittled down to 1,060 deemed relevant to human goals.
While the researchers believe the four categories likely apply to many other industrialized cultures, the researchers acknowledge that further research is needed, as their studies addressed only the English language as used within American culture.
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