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Final Decentrations: Personal Goals, Rationality Perspectives, and the Awareness of Life’s Finitude

Final Decentrations: Personal Goals, Rationality Perspectives, and the Awareness of Life’s Finitude,10.1027/1016-9040/a000019,European Psychologist,Jo

Final Decentrations: Personal Goals, Rationality Perspectives, and the Awareness of Life’s Finitude   (Citations: 1)
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We submit that with advancing age and the age-inherent shrinking of life-time reserves, intrinsic-valuerational, that is, ego-transcending goals tend to gain priority over extrinsic-instrumental goals that aim at future personal benefits. This proposition is investigated in four studies that combine questionnaire assessments and experimental analyses. In Study 1, age differences in extrinsic-instrumental and intrinsic-valuerational orientations are analyzed in a cross-sectional study involving 359 participants in the age range from 35 to 84 years. In Study 2, we ask whether the postulated shift in goal orientations could be simulated by inducing a cognitive focus on themes of death and dying (N = 371). Studies 3 and 4 (Ns = 50 and 86) serve to replicate and expand the findings with an experimental setup, paying particular attention to the moderating role of accommodative flexibility and to implicit preferences. Taken together, the results of this research substantiate the assumption that the experience of narrowing life-time reserves activates accommodative processes that enhance the disengagement from egocentric-individualistic concerns.
Journal: European Psychologist - EUR PSYCHOL , vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 152-163, 2010
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