413 Goals & Audience

Research by Klein, Howard, Lount,Jr., R. B., Park, H. M., & Linford, Bryce J. (2019).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, M.S.

Do you have difficulty motivating yourself to stick to a goal you’ve set? Have you ever challenged someone to complete a goal, then realized you were more committed to obtaining that goal than they were?! Psychologists examined whether we are more committed to a goal if we reveal it to a person of higher or equal status.

Psychologists completed four studies with 890 participants using both surveys and experimental sessions to determine how individuals perceived the relative status of an audience and whether this knowledge influenced their commitment to a goal.

The results from all studies were consistent. When participants shared their goals with people they perceived as having higher status, they were more committed to the goal, and more likely to attain their goal. The higher perceived status of the goal audience makes more impact, than someone of similar status (e.g., peer to peer).

Set high goals, then share your goal with someone of higher status, such as a parent, supervisor, or mentor as you are more likely be committed and attain this goal! Supervisors and mentors are also more likely to encourage and facilitate your attainment, if they know your goal.


Klein, H. J., Lount Jr., R. B., Park, H. M., & Linford, B. J. (2019). When goals are known: The effects of audience relative status on goal commitment and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1-18. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000441

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