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Goal Pursuit, Now and Later: Temporal Compatibility of Different versus Similar Means

Jordan Etkin and Rebecca K. Ratner
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 39, No. 5 (February 2013), pp. 1085-1099
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/667203
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667203
Page Count: 15
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Goal Pursuit, Now and Later: Temporal Compatibility of Different
                    versus Similar Means
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Abstract

Compatibility between the degree of similarity among means to goal attainment and the anticipated timing of goal pursuit increases goal-directed motivation. Six studies demonstrate that consumers are more motivated and willing to pay for means to goal attainment in the near term when they plan to use a set of different (vs. similar) means. In contrast, consumers are more motivated and willing to pay for means to goal attainment in the long term when they plan to use similar (vs. different) means. For example, consumers paid more for a personal training session when told it would include exercises for different (similar) muscle groups and would take place this week (next month). These effects are driven by the ease of processing differences (similarities) when considering the near (far) future. Similar results were obtained across various domains, including health and fitness, saving money, and academic performance.

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