Intrinsic and Extrinsic Life Goals Preferences as Measured via Inventories and via Priming Methodologies: Mean Differences and Relations with Well-Being
Aspirations for intrinsic goals (e.g., self-acceptance, affiliation, community feeling) and extrinsic goals (e.g., financial success, appealing appearance, social recognition) were examined using five German samples (total n=472). Results indicate that intrinsic goals are generally valued more highly than extrinsic goals, consistent with the claim that intrinsic goals better reflect needs inherent to human nature. A second set of results indicated that subjects strongly focused on intrinsic goals report higher well-being than those with a focus on extrinsic goals. Both sets of results were obtained in all samples using a traditional inventory technique. A priming technique for assessing individual preferences for life goals, which was developed to alleviate concerns regarding the validity of self-report methodologies, provided additional support for these two conclusions. The potential maladaptivity of extrinsic goals within industrial cultures is discussed.