The Impact of Goal Progress Velocity on Affect While Pursuing Multiple Sequential Goals
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Past research has identified velocity (i.e., rate of goal progress) as a determinant of individuals’ affective experiences during goal pursuit. Specifically, rapid progress is a pleasant experience, whereas slow progress is unpleasant. However, past work has emphasized situations in which individuals are unsure of whether or not they will meet their goal. This is problematic because many tasks are simple and routine, leaving little doubt that they can be accomplished in the time allotted. Is velocity related to affect in situations in which success is assured? And if so, why? To answer these questions, we conducted two experimental studies (N = 147 and 179) in which participants completed two simulated work tasks for which success was practically assured. Across both studies, velocity while performing the current task resulted in greater expected time available (ETA) to work on the next task. Downstream, ETA predicted happiness, but only if the next task was expected to be enjoyable (S1) or financially rewarding (S2). These studies indicate that velocity can impact affect by shaping expectations regarding the amount of time available for the next task. Nonetheless, the current studies also suggest that fast velocity may not universally result in positive affect; instead, fast velocity may only be met with positive affect if the next task is anticipated to be pleasant or rewarding.
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Vincent Phan, James W. Beck (2020). The Impact of Goal Progress Velocity on Affect While Pursuing Multiple Sequential Goals. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19402