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Fuqua School of Business
Duke University

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Publications [#329823] of Aaron C. Kay

Journal Articles

  1. Khenfer, J; Laurin, K; Tafani, E; Roux, E; Kay, AC, Interventionist external agents make specific advice less demotivating, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 73 (January, 2017), pp. 189-196 [doi]
    (last updated on 2023/09/25)

    Across four experiments, we explored how reminders of powerful external agents—interventionist Gods and reliable corporate institutions—influence people's motivation in the realm of financial goals. We found evidence that when people receive specific financial advice, they feel demotivated by the overwhelming flow of concrete instructions for achieving success. We found further that, under these circumstances specifically, reminders of interventionist agents bolster motivation, but that these same agents under different circumstances (i.e., when people receive vague advice) instead undermine motivation. Our findings shed light on the effects of specific (versus vague) goal focus, and on the dynamics of compensatory control in consumer settings.

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