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Goal Gradient Effect
Goal Gradient Effect
Goal Gradient Effect
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Overview

Are you struggling to motivate yourself or others to reach goals? 

The G ...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suo genere perveniant ad extremum; Quae qui non vident, nihil umquam magnum ac cognitione dignum amaverunt. Cuius etiam illi hortuli propinqui non memoriam solum mihi afferunt, sed ipsum videntur in conspectu meo ponere. Ergo, inquit, tibi Q. Duo Reges: constructio interrete. Fatebuntur Stoici haec omnia dicta esse praeclare, neque eam causam Zenoni desciscendi fuisse. Quod ea non occurrentia fingunt, vincunt Aristonem; Nec mihi illud dixeris: Haec enim ipsa mihi sunt voluptati, et erant illa Torquatis. Sin autem est in ea, quod quidam volunt, nihil impedit hanc nostram comprehensionem summi boni.

Egone non intellego, quid sit don Graece, Latine voluptas? Inde sermone vario sex illa a Dipylo stadia confecimus. Tollitur beneficium, tollitur gratia, quae sunt vincla concordiae. Dempta enim aeternitate nihilo beatior Iuppiter quam Epicurus; Nam, ut sint illa vendibiliora, haec uberiora certe sunt. Te enim iudicem aequum puto, modo quae dicat ille bene noris.

Nihil minus, contraque illa hereditate dives ob eamque rem laetus. Si quicquam extra virtutem habeatur in bonis. Quid, si reviviscant Platonis illi et deinceps qui eorum auditores fuerunt, et tecum ita loquantur? Sed tamen enitar et, si minus multa mihi occurrent, non fugiam ista popularia. Non igitur potestis voluptate omnia dirigentes aut tueri aut retinere virtutem. Falli igitur possumus.

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Actionable Takeaways
  • Show progress towards a goal. 

Provide your audience with a visual representati ...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Atque haec ita iustitiae propria sunt, ut sint virtutum reliquarum communia. Duo Reges: constructio interrete. Cur igitur easdem res, inquam, Peripateticis dicentibus verbum nullum est, quod non intellegatur? Eaedem res maneant alio modo.

Quae cum dixisset paulumque institisset, Quid est? Illa tamen simplicia, vestra versuta. Sit enim idem caecus, debilis. Ego vero isti, inquam, permitto. Quod quidem nobis non saepe contingit. Eademne, quae restincta siti? Satisne vobis videor pro meo iure in vestris auribus commentatus? Sit hoc ultimum bonorum, quod nunc a me defenditur; Num quid tale Democritus? Atque haec coniunctio confusioque virtutum tamen a philosophis ratione quadam distinguitur.

Tum Piso: Quoniam igitur aliquid omnes, quid Lucius noster? Mihi vero, inquit, placet agi subtilius et, ut ipse dixisti, pressius. Potius ergo illa dicantur: turpe esse, viri non esse debilitari dolore, frangi, succumbere. Ergo hoc quidem apparet, nos ad agendum esse natos. Facete M. Quodsi vultum tibi, si incessum fingeres, quo gravior viderere, non esses tui similis; In qua quid est boni praeter summam voluptatem, et eam sempiternam? Eam si varietatem diceres, intellegerem, ut etiam non dicente te intellego; Quamquam haec quidem praeposita recte et reiecta dicere licebit. Fatebuntur Stoici haec omnia dicta esse praeclare, neque eam causam Zenoni desciscendi fuisse.

Limitations

A variation on the Goal Gradient Effect was posed by marketing academic and researcher Andrea Bonezzi, who argued that “motivation to engage in goal-consistent behavior can be higher when people are either far from or close to the end state and lower when they are about halfway to the end state.”  Thus rather than focusing on the end aspect of the journey, Bonezzi describes a ‘U-shaped’ model of motivation, with the problematic middle between starting point and end goal. 

In Practice

Contributing to charities. 

This study entitled Goal Gradient in Helping Behavior, found that “People are more likely to pitch in as charitable campaigns approach their goals. Such “goal gradient helping” occurs in part because late-stage efforts provide donors with a heightened sense of personal impact, an influential source of satisfaction from prosocial acts.” 

Car wash loyalty. 

This 2006 study, similar to the cited coffee loyalty card example in the summary above, used loyalty cards for a car wash. In this case, one card had 8 spots to fill for a free car wash, the other had 10 with two already stamped. The group given the perceived head start resulted in a 34% engagement rate in the loyalty program compared to 19% for the others.

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Origins & Resources

The Goal Gradient Effect was first identified by Clark Hull during the 1930s in relation to animals, particularly his study of rats accelerating their pace closer to the end of a maze and a food reward. Hull, an engineer by background, went on to break down his observations and interpret them as a mathematical formula which he outlined in his book Principles of Behaviour.  

The effect was expanded to humans in a 2006 study by Ran Kivetz et al. The authors of that study explained: “The key findings indicate that (1) participants in a real café reward program purchase coffee more frequently the closer they are to earning a free coffee; (2) Internet users who rate songs in return for reward certificates visit the rating Web site more often, rate more songs per visit, and persist longer in the rating effort as they approach the reward goal; (3) the illusion of progress toward the goal induces purchase acceleration (e.g., customers who receive a 12-stamp coffee card with 2 preexisting “bonus” stamps complete the 10 required purchases faster than customers who receive a “regular” 10-stamp card); and (4) a stronger tendency to accelerate toward the goal predicts greater retention and faster reengagement in the program.”

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