Call for Papers: Advances on Goal Disengagement Research

A Special Issue of Motivation and Emotion

Action Editors:
Dr. Kaspar Schattke (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada; Associate Editor) and Dr. Cathleen Kappes (Universität Hildesheim, Germany, Guest Editor)

The goal concept is central to motivation psychology (e.g. Gollwitzer, 2018) because motivation orients, energises, and selects behaviour towards some type of goal or goal state – a notion that many motivation researchers share (e.g., Heckhausen & Heckhausen, 2018; McClelland, 1987; Rheinberg & Vollmeyer, 2018). Locke and Latham (1990) even concluded that all motivation would be somehow goal directed. Thus, it is no wonder that many researchers have been approaching the goal concept from many different theoretical angles and with different measures and paradigms. These approaches have been inspiring a lot of research on how to select goals (e.g. Oettingen et al., 2001; Sheldon, 2014), on how to set and formulate goals (e.g. Locke & Latham, 1990), on the relation of means and goals (e.g. Kruglanski et al., 2002), and on how to stick to one’s goals (e.g. Gollwitzer, 1999), to name but a few.

However, we know comparatively less about the disengagement from goals, although the relevance of goal disengagement for maintaining or restoring well-being and health has been repeatedly demonstrated (for an overview, see Haase et al., 2012; Heckhausen & Heckhausen, 2018). Prominent conceptualisations for goal disengagement are Brandtstädter’s (2009) accommodative mode as well as Heckhausen and colleagues’ (2010) secondary control processes. Related concepts are Kuhl’s (2018) state orientation as well as Brandstätter and colleagues’ (2013) process-based perspective of action crisis (see Brandstätter & Herrmann, 2017, for a review). Another relevant conceptualisation provides evidence for the importance of distinguishing between individual differences for people’s capacity for disengaging from goals and for reengaging in new goals (Barlow et al., 2020; Wrosch et al., 2003). In a broader theoretical perspective, research on entrapment and escalation of commitment (for an overview of these theories in the context of goal disengagement, Brandstätter, 2018) as well as studies on multitasking (e.g. Fischer, Gottschalk, & Dreisbach, 2014) might add to the understanding of goal disengagement processes.

The specific processes of goal disengagement and their relations on the cognitive, affective, and behavioural level (Brandstätter & Herrmann, 2017) have rarely been studied. The majority of studies employed cross-sectional correlational studies with self-report questionnaires that measure an individual's global assessment of their goal regulation processes as moderator in the relationship between (perceived) obstacles and well-being. Consequently, we lack (causal) empirical knowledge about the mechanisms of the process, for example, as regards the time course in response to obstacles, different facets/components of the process and their interplay (e.g. evaluation of a goal's importance, behavioural disengagement, temporary disengagement, attentional processes) or antecedents of goal disengagement. Moreover, the use of self-report measures for personal evaluations (preferences, values, etc.) restrict the validity of studies in the field of goal regulation processes due to their well-known susceptibility to self-presentation and socially desirable responding (Schwarz, 1999), the limits of self-knowledge, and their potential function in supporting outcomes related to well-being (e.g. Brandtstädter & Rothermund, 2002; Greve & Wentura, 2010).

Recently, important steps have already been taken to address these issues. Therefore, the aim of this special issue is to assemble diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to display the status quo of current research and identify future avenues for this rather neglected research topic. We will invite several established goal researchers to comment on the empirical articles of this special issue.

The aim of this special issue is bringing different theoretical and methodological approaches on goal disengagement, goal adjustment, and goal reengagement together. Specifically, the following topics are of interest for the special issue, yet we also consider other topics related to goal disengagement:
·    Experimental paradigms for studying goal disengagement, action crises, and goal hindrance
·    Longitudinal and intervention studies on studying goal disengagement, action crises, and goal hindrance
·    Situational and individual factors that promote or impede goal disengagement
·    Interdependence of goals and goal hierarchies and their relation to goal disengagement
·    Theoretical and methodological considerations about when exactly a goal can be considered as disengaged
·    Relevance of goal disengagement, action crises, and goal reengagement in applied settings

·    Initial drafts are due October 1, 2021.
·    Submit through the journal’s manuscript submission portal. 
·    When asked whether your submission is to be included in a special issue, please indicate 'yes' and select "S.I.: Goal Disengagement".
·    All manuscripts are subject to peer review consistent with Motivation and Emotion peer review guidelines.
·    Please follow the Motivation and Emotion submission guidelines. 
·    Reviews will be sent back to authors by December 1, 2021.
·    Revised manuscripts are due February 1, 2022.
          ·    Revised manuscripts will be sent out for re-review, if needed.
          ·    Reviews sent back to authors by March 1, 2022.
·    (Revised manuscripts, if needed, due April 1, 2022)
·    Final decisions by mid-May 2022.
·    Sending accepted manuscripts to senior scholars for commentary by mid-May 2022.
·    Publication date December 2022.
Barlow, M. A., Wrosch, C., & McGrath, J. J. (2020). Goal adjustment capacities and quality of life: A meta-analytic review. Journal of personality, 88(2), 307–323.

Brandstätter, V. (2018). Holding on or letting go? Persistence and disengagement. In R. A. Scott, M. Buchmann, & S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 1-14). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 

Brandstätter, V., & Herrmann, M. (2017). Goal disengagement and action crises. In N. Baumann, M. Kazén, M. Quirin, & S. L. Koole (Eds.), Why people do the things they do. Building on Julius Kuhl’s contributions to the psychology of motivation and volition (pp. 87–108). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.

Brandstätter, V., Herrmann, M., & Schüler, J. (2013). The struggle of giving up personal goals: Affective, physiological, and cognitive consequences of an action crisis. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(12), 1668–1682. 

Brandtstädter, J. (2009). Goal pursuit and goal adjustment: Self-regulation and intentional self development in changing developmental contexts. Advances in Life Course Research, 14, 52- 62.

Brandtstädter, J., & Rothermund, K. (2002). The life-course dynamics of goal pursuit and goal adjustment: A two-process framework. Developmental Review, 22(1), 117–150. 

Fischer, R., Gottschalk, C., & Dreisbach, G. (2014). Context-sensitive adjustment of cognitive control in dual-task performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(2), 399–416. 

Gollwitzer, P. M. (1990). Action phases and mind-sets. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 53–92). New York: Guilford Press.

Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54(7), 493–503. 

Gollwitzer, P. M. (2018). The goal concept: A helpful tool for theory development and testing in motivation science. Motivation Science, 4(3), 185–205. 

Greve, W., & Wentura, D. (2010). True lies: Self-stabilization without self-deception. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(3), 721–730. 

Haase, C. M., Heckhausen, J., & Wrosch, C. (2013). Developmental regulation across the life span: Toward a new synthesis. Developmental Psychology, 49(5), 964–972. 

Heckhausen, J., & Heckhausen, H. (Eds.) (2018). Motivation and action (3rd ed.). Berlin: Springer. 

Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Schulz, R. (2010). A Motivational Theory of Life-Span Development. Psychological Review, 117(1), 32-60. 
Kruglanski, A. W., Shah, J. Y., Fishbach, A., Friedman, R., Chun, W. Y., & Sleeth-Keppler, D. (2002). A theory of goal systems. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 34, 331–378.

Kuhl, J. (2018). Individual Differences in Self Regulation. In J. Heckhausen & H. Heckhausen (Eds.), Motivation and action (3rd ed., pp. 529–577). Berlin: Springer. 

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

McClelland, D. C. (1987). Human Motivation. New York: Cambridge University Press. Oettingen, G., Heon-ju Pak, & Schnetter, K. (2001). Self-Regulation of Goal Setting: Turning Free Fantasies About the Future Into Binding Goals. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 80(5), 736–753. 

Rheinberg, F., & Vollmeyer, R. (2018). Motivation (9th ed.). Stuttgart, Germany: Kohlhammer. Schwarz, N. (1999). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers. American Psychologist, 54(2), 93–105. 

Sheldon, K. M. (2014). Becoming Oneself: The Central Role of Self-Concordant Goal Selection. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 18(4), 349–365. 

Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., Miller, G. E., Schulz, R., & Carver, C. S. (2003). Adaptive self-regulation of unattainable goals: Goal disengagement, goal reengagement, and subjective well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(12), 1494– 1508.