Choice based on goals

Stijn M.J. Van Osselaer*, Suresh Ramanathan, Margaret C. Campbell, Joel B. Cohen, Jeannette K. Dale, Paul M. Herr, Chris Janiszewski, Arie W. Kruglanski, Angela Y. Lee, Stephen J. Read, J. Edward Russo, Nader T. Tavassoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This article introduces a goal-based view of consumer choice in which (1) choice is influenced by three classes of goals (consumption goals, criterion goals, and process goals), (2) goals are cognitively represented, and (3) the impact of a goal on choice depends on its activation. For each class of goals, we discuss how goal activation is influenced by direct (subconscious) goal priming, by spreading activation from choice options, from other goals, and from the context, and by goal (non-)achievement. Opportunities for modeling goal-based choice, the integration of emotions in a theory of goal-based choice, and relationships with dual-process theories of decision making are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Consumer choice
  • Goal activation
  • Goal-based choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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