Who Gets You Going and Who Keeps You Going: Motivational Relevance Determines Role Model Effectiveness
MetadataShow full item record
Role models are ubiquitous: They boost gym-goers’ motivation, encourage women to enter science-related fields, or even nudge people to eat the “right” kind of cereal. The present research provides an organizing framework to answer the question of when a role model is most motivating. Incorporating insights from both role model and goal stage research, I propose that it is critical to understand the fit between how a role model describes his or her accomplishments and an audience’s motivational focus. I first show that people in the beginning stages of their long-term goals are most focused on information about whether or not they have the ability to attain the goal (i.e., expectancy information). In contrast, I propose that people who are maintaining a goal are most focused on information about the importance of goal pursuit (i.e., value information). Further, across 5 studies I show that framing an identical role model’s actions in expectancy versus value terms differentially impacts people’s motivation as a function of their goal stage. Beginners are more motivated after viewing a role model who highlights expectancy (vs. value) information, despite the role model’s objective accomplishments being identical. Further, as individuals move from beginning to maintenance stages of goal pursuit (which I both measure and manipulate), a role model who emphasizes a goal’s value becomes increasingly motivating. This research suggests that a one-size-fits-all role model is likely to be ineffective at motivating all individuals. Implications for helping people pursue their goals most effectively are discussed.
Cite this version of the work
David Kille (2015). Who Gets You Going and Who Keeps You Going: Motivational Relevance Determines Role Model Effectiveness. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/9136