A first examination of the relationships between primed subconscious goals, assigned conscious goals, and task performance

J Appl Psychol. 2006 Sep;91(5):1172-80. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.91.5.1172.


The authors conducted 2 studies of subconscious goal motivation. First, the authors ran a pilot study to establish the effects of priming of subconscious goals on a performance task frequently used in goal setting research. Second, the authors conducted the main study in which the authors examined the effects of both priming of subconscious goals and assigned conscious goals on the same performance task. The authors found significant main effects of both manipulations and a significant interaction between subconscious and conscious goals. The effects of conscious difficult and do-best goals were enhanced by subconscious goals, although conscious easy goals were not affected. All effects from the main study still held after 1 day.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consciousness*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Unconscious, Psychology*