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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02174

Expanding the map of intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations using network analysis and multidimensional scaling: Examining four new aspirations

  • 1Aalto University, Finland
  • 2Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, Australia

Life goals or aspirations can be distinguished as intrinsic or extrinsic, with different implications for well-being. In this study we used network analysis to reexamine this intrinsic-extrinsic distinction, illustrating how novel candidate aspirations can be mapped along this dimension using innovative methods. We identify four previously unexamined life aspirations, predicting that aspiring for power and social adherence would group with extrinsic goals, whereas aspiring for self-expression and mastery would group with intrinsic goals. In two samples (n = 196; n = 346) we analyze both the original life-goal variables and these novel aspirations using factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, circumplex modeling, and a network analysis using a graphical least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (glasso) to estimate the network structure of aspirations using EBIC. Replicating past intrinsic-extrinsic distinctions, all four methods further classified power and social adherence as extrinsic goals, and self-expression and mastery as intrinsic goals. The intrinsic-extrinsic distinction was also clearly visible in the network analysis. Finally, consistent with hypotheses, power and social adherence were unrelated to wellness indicators, whereas self-expression and mastery correlated positively with well-being indicators and negatively with ill-being indicators, supporting their hypothesized nature as extrinsic and intrinsic, respectively.

Keywords: goals, Goal Content Theory, Intrinsic goals, Life aspirations, self-determination theory

Received: 04 May 2019; Accepted: 09 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Martela, Bradshaw and Ryan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Frank Martela, Aalto University, Otakaari, 00076, Ostrobothnia, Finland,