What do people want? Few questions are more fundamental to psychological science than this. Yet, existing taxonomies disagree on both the number and content of goals. We thus adopted a lexical approach and investigated the structure of goal-relevant words from the natural English lexicon. Through an intensive rating process, 1,060 goal-relevant English words were first located. In Studies 1-2, two relatively large and diverse samples (total n = 1,026) rated their commitment to approaching or avoiding these goals. Principal component analyses yielded 4 replicable components: Prominence, Inclusiveness, Negativity prevention, and Tradition (the PINT Taxonomy). Study 3-7 (total n = 1,396) supported the 4-factor structure of an abbreviated scale and found systematic differences in their relationships with past goal-content measures, the Big 5 traits, affect, and need satisfaction. This investigation thus provides a data-driven taxonomy of higher-order goal-content and opens up a wide variety of fascinating lines for future research.
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Wilkowski, B.M., Fetterman, A., Lappi, S.K., Williamson, L.Z., Ferguson Leki, E., Rivera, E., & Meier, B.P. (in press). Lexical Derivation of the PINT Taxonomy of Goals: Prominence, Inclusiveness, Negativity Prevention, and Tradition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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