Dodging Monsters and Dancing with Dreams: Success and Failure at Different Levels of Approach and Avoidance

Emotion Review 5 (3):254-258 (2013)
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Many models of motivation suggest that goals can be arranged in a hierarchy, ranging from higher-level goals that represent desired end-states to lower-level means that operate in the service of those goals. We present a hierarchical model that distinguishes between three levels—goals, strategies, and tactics—and between approach/avoidance and regulatory focus motivations at different levels. We focus our discussion on how this hierarchical framework sheds light on the different ways that success and failure are defined within the promotion and prevention systems outlined in regulatory focus theory. Specifically, we review research that demonstrates that differences in what “counts” as success versus failure in these systems have important implications for motivational strength, emotional responses, and risky behavior



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