Vicarious goal satiation

Kathleen C. McCulloch, Gráinne M. Fitzsimons, Sook Ning Chua, Dolores Albarracín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A signature feature of self-regulation is that once a goal is satiated, it becomes deactivated, thereby allowing people to engage in new pursuits. The present experiments provide evidence for vicarious goal satiation, a novel phenomenon in which individuals experience "post-completion goal satiation" as a result of unwittingly taking on another person's goal pursuit and witnessing its completion. In Experiments 1 and 2, the observation of a goal being completed (vs. not completed) led to less striving by the observer on the same task. Given that an actor's strength of commitment affects goal contagion, we hypothesized that such commitment would be an important boundary condition for vicarious goal satiation. The results of Experiment 2 showed that observing stronger (vs. weaker) goal commitment lowered accessibility of goal-related words, but only when the goal being observed was completed. Implications of vicarious goal satiation for goal pursuit in everyday environments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-688
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Goal contagion
  • Nonconscious goal pursuit
  • Self-other representations
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Vicarious goal satiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this