Goals are internal representations of desired states (Austin and Vancouver 1996). They can be fairly specific (e.g., visiting a relative on a particular day) or abstract (e.g., achieving one’s fundamental values). They can be idiosyncratic to the individual (e.g., appreciating a particular course of meal over dinner) or shared across groups of people (e.g., improving one’s material wealth).
Goals have been studied intensively by personality psychologists. In the following we first describe representative research identifying the basic kinds of human goals. We then discuss the relations between goals and persons, between goals and situations, and between goals and behaviors under the framework of personality triad (Funder 2001).
Basic Kinds of Goals
In one representative study of classifying goals (Chulef et al. 2001), researchers first attempted to generate a list of most important human goals by extensive...
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