On Having a Goal: Goals as Representations or Behavior

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APA Citation: 

Ramnerö, J. & Törneke, N. (2014). On having a goal – Goals as representations or as behavior. The Psychological Record, doi: 10.1007/s40732-014-0093-0

Publication Topic: 
Behavior Analysis: Conceptual
RFT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Goals, Goal-directed behavior, Rule-governed behavior, Relational frame theory

The present article discusses the concepts of having a goal and of goal-directed behavior from a behavior-analytic perspective. In clinical psychology as well as in the study of human behavior at large, goals delineate an important area of investigation when it comes to health, well-being, and behavioral change. While concepts like goals and goal-directed behavior may be more frequently used outside the theoretical boundaries of behavior analysis, we argue that by incorporating recent behavior analytic research on verbal behavior, new and fruitful ways open up for approaching the phenomenon of having a goal. A behavior-analytic approach thereby may increase both precision in understanding and the potential for influencing essential aspects of human behavior. This analysis starts with the concept of rule-governed behavior and develops that analysis by using the concept of derived relational responding.

Open Access: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40732-014-0093-0#