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For Whom Is the Path the Goal? A Lifespan Perspective on the Development of Goal Focus


Moersdorf, Lea; Daum, Moritz M; Freund, Alexandra M (2022). For Whom Is the Path the Goal? A Lifespan Perspective on the Development of Goal Focus. Collabra: Psychology, 8(1):31603.

Abstract

Goals are an intensely studied concept in various research areas within psychology. They can be defined as cognitive representations of means-ends relations. The relative focus on the means or the ends (i.e., goal focus) can vary between persons and over time. Taking a lifespan perspective, we use the existing developmental, social-cognitive, and motivational literature to portray how goal focus might develop across the entire lifespan. For this purpose, we take findings on the perception of goal-directed behavior in infancy, the development of (self-)representations and goal pursuit in adolescence, and of goals across adulthood into account. We propose that goal focus changes across the lifespan due to age-related cognitive and motivational development, and that the relative impact of cognitive and motivational processes on goal focus varies across the lifespan. We conclude by integrating different approaches and findings from a lifespan perspective.

Abstract

Goals are an intensely studied concept in various research areas within psychology. They can be defined as cognitive representations of means-ends relations. The relative focus on the means or the ends (i.e., goal focus) can vary between persons and over time. Taking a lifespan perspective, we use the existing developmental, social-cognitive, and motivational literature to portray how goal focus might develop across the entire lifespan. For this purpose, we take findings on the perception of goal-directed behavior in infancy, the development of (self-)representations and goal pursuit in adolescence, and of goals across adulthood into account. We propose that goal focus changes across the lifespan due to age-related cognitive and motivational development, and that the relative impact of cognitive and motivational processes on goal focus varies across the lifespan. We conclude by integrating different approaches and findings from a lifespan perspective.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Psychology
Language:English
Date:20 January 2022
Deposited On:22 Feb 2022 15:22
Last Modified:27 May 2024 01:51
Publisher:University of California Press
ISSN:2474-7394
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.31603
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)