Accessibility from active and fulfilled goals

Jens Förster*, Nira Liberman, E. Tory Higgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In six studies participants searched for a target stimulus among other stimuli. Lexical decision and Stroop measures of accessibility showed that accessibility of target-related words was enhanced prior to finding the target and reduced after finding it, relative to both a preceding stage, relative to a control, no-goal condition and relative to a condition in which the goal was not fulfilled. In addition, Studies 4, 5, and 6 showed that goal-related accessibility and post-fulfillment inhibition were proportional to the goal's expectancy, the goal's value, and their interaction. Together, these studies support the notion that goals enhance accessibility of the goal-related constructs, which is maintained as long as the goal is active, goal fulfillment inhibits accessibility of goal-related constructs, and these effects are proportional to the strength of the motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005


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