A study on the effect of setting specific goals, self-set goals and assigned goals on meat reduction, and the moderating role of autonomous motivation
Berg, Froukje van den
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The effectiveness of setting specific goals is compared with setting non-specific goals, and the effectiveness of self-set goals is compared with assigned goals. In addition, it was investigated whether autonomous motivation moderates between setting specific goals and goal pursuit. A pilot study was conducted to determine the assigned goal, so that in goal difficulty it would match a self-set goal. A repeated measures design was used in the main study with a one week interval. In the first measurement, participants had to indicate their meat consumption and autonomous motivation to reduce meat consumption and were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: no-goal, self-set goal or assigned goal. In the second measurement, meat consumption was measured again and also goal difficulty, goal pursuit and exploratory variables. No significant difference was found between the effectiveness of specific goals and non-specific goals. There was also no support found for a moderating role of autonomous motivation between setting specific goals and goal pursuit. Self-set goals and assigned goals appeared equally effective. This suggests that campaigns using assigned goals can be effective in reducing meat consumption. Future research could investigate whether this is evenly effective when the assigned goal is less difficult or more difficult than when people set their goals themselves. Attention also may be paid to the effect of placing more focus on achieving goals together with others.