Motivating the academic mind: High-level construal of academic goals enhances goal meaningfulness, motivation, and self-concordance


How one thinks about or conceptualizes a goal has important consequences for the motivational features of goal pursuit. Two experiments tested the hypothesis, inspired by work on meaning in life, action identification theory, and expectancy-value theory, that high-level construal of an academic goal should enhance motivation to pursue that goal. In each experiment, we manipulated high-level versus low-level construal of an academic goal and assessed several variables related to the goal: the perceived meaningfulness of the goal, motivation to pursue the goal, and goal self-concordance. Supporting the hypothesis, individuals who thought about their academic goal in a high-level manner viewed their goal as more meaningful, reported being more motivated to pursue the goal, and reported the goal to be more self-concordant. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Motivation and Emotion