Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Chen Tang
  • Yu Yang
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_669-2



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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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.ShanghaiTech UniversityShanghaiChina

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA