SGER: Validating a Method for Assessing the Activiation Level of Multiple Decision Process Goals

Project: Research project

Project Details


One way to better understand why decision makers choose the alternatives they do, and to help them improve their decisions, is to understand the decision processes that yield those choices. It has long been thought that goals are an important part of decision behaviors, but there is so far relatively little empirical evidence about the role of goals versus other cognitive processes in decision making. A main reason for the paucity of data on goals is the limited set of methods available for assessing the presence of a goal, much less the intensity of its activation. This research will test a new, innovative method for measuring the activation levels of multiple goals at multiple points during a decision process.

The method, Retrospective Assessment of Goals (RAG), relies on a concurrent verbal protocol of the decision process replayed immediately after the choice is announced. Up to now, the RAG method has been validated by using theory to predict a particular goal then looking for the presence of that goal in verbal protocols. Ideally, tests should proceed the other way around, with the RAG method used to test the theory. What is needed, and is developed in this series of studies, is an independent criterion of goal activation from another, validated method. In a set of six studies, we will use subliminal goal priming to nonconsciously prime a goal and test whether the RAG method correctly verifies that priming. The subliminal priming itself will be

independently verified by a word naming task.

Effective start/end date12/1/065/31/08


  • National Science Foundation: $44,863.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.