The role of scale-induced round numbers and goal specificity on goal accomplishment perceptions


Goal progress can be measured using different scales (e.g., lbs., kg, oz., inches lost in weight loss domain). Despite considerable research on perceived goal progress, little is known about the effects of measurement scales on the mental representation of goal attainment. We present three studies across various domains (e.g., monetary earnings, loyalty rewards, games) which demonstrate that, when the goal is not specific, the expression of progress as a round number on a certain scale leads to a higher sense of accomplishment compared with expression of identical progress as a non-round number on a different scale. We further show that this effect is moderated by goal and whether the level of actual progress made is high or low. When the goal is specific, scale-induced round numbers lead to higher perceived accomplishment at lower progress levels, whereas, when the goal is not specific, they lead to higher perceived accomplishment at higher progress levels.

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Correspondence to Timucin Ozcan.

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Gunasti, K., Ozcan, T. The role of scale-induced round numbers and goal specificity on goal accomplishment perceptions. Mark Lett 30, 207–217 (2019) doi:10.1007/s11002-019-09492-w

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  • Goals
  • Progress
  • Goal specificity
  • Round numbers
  • Scales
  • Measurement