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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Nov;89(5):800-16.

The structure of goal contents across 15 cultures.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.


The authors investigated the structure of goal contents in a group of 1,854 undergraduates from 15 cultures around the world. Results suggested that the 11 types of goals the authors assessed were consistently organized in a circumplex fashion across the 15 cultures. The circumplex was well described by positioning 2 primary dimensions underlying the goals: intrinsic (e.g., self-acceptance, affiliation) versus extrinsic (e.g., financial success, image) and self-transcendent (e.g., spirituality) versus physical (e.g., hedonism). The circumplex model of goal contents was also quite similar in both wealthier and poorer nations, although there were some slight cross-cultural variations. The relevance of these results for several theories of motivation and personality are discussed.

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