Goals and Values

People do not react passively to situations but are active and goal directed. They formulate goals, devise plans for attaining their goals, and hi part create their own situations. Peoples subjective goals, values, and preferences represent a fourth cognitive-affective unit. For example, two college students may have equal academic ability and also equal expectancy for success in graduate school. The first, however, places more value on entering the job market than on going to graduate school, while the second chooses to go to graduate school rather than to pursue an immediate career. The two may have had many similar experiences during college, but because they have different goals, they have made very different decisions.

Values, goals, and hiterests, along with competencies, are among the most stable cognitive-affective units. One reason for tins consistency is the emotion-eliciting properties of these units. For instance, a person may place a negative value on a certain food because he associates it with the nausea he once experienced while eating that food. Without counterconditioning, tins aversion is likely to persist due to the strong negative emotion elicited by the food. Similarly, patriotic values may last a lifetime because they are associated with positive emotions such as security, attachment to one's home, and love of one's mother.

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