Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Goals are often classified into two types, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic goals are furnished when one finds an activity inherently interesting or pleasurable (Abuhamdeh & Csikszentmihalyi, 2009), whereas extrinsic goals are created when one seeks a reward from an external force (Gunnell, Crocker, Mack, Wilson, & Zumbo, 2014). The pursuit of intrinsic goals represents the purest form of autonomy, which is a staple of positive psychological well-being, and promotes greater task orientation (Nie, Chua, Yeung, Ryan, & Chan, 2014). The current study explores the effects of subjective temporal distance on the selection of intrinsic or extrinsic goal pursuit. Construal Level Theory posits that goals set in low construal are more concrete and feasible, increasing the likelihood of goal progress (Trope & Liberman, 2010). Based on CLT and the task orientation associated with intrinsic goals, it is postulated that intrinsic goals are represented in low construal. Additionally, it is hypothesized that the selection of intrinsic or extrinsic goals will vary according to the temporal distance between the present and the goal. It is predicted that participants induced to perceive high level construal will be more likely to work towards an extrinsic goal. Conversely, participants primed to perceive a low level of construal will be more likely to select an intrinsic goal. There has been little research examining the effect of temporal distance on pursuit of intrinsic or extrinsic goals. Research into this area is important for psychotherapy because intrinsic goal pursuit has shown benefits in the areas of education and psychological well-being.


Dr. J. April Park

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type



© 2016 Megan M. Blackley


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