Appendix: Aspirations

More on the concept used in Chapter 4, page 1

We build on the work by Kasser & Ryan (e.g. 1993, 1996) 1 2 who argue that the aspirations or goals which people pursue can be categorised as more or less intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic aspirations are those that are inherently rewarding and do not depend on external validation. Extrinsic aspirations, by contrast, are typically pursued as a means to some external reward, for instance financial success, image or popularity/status. Empirical analyses of goal structures across 15 nations has given rise to a so-called circumplex model of aspirations, see Figure 4.4. 3 This model shows that intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations are in opposition to one another, such that an individual who is at a certain moment, more intrinsically focussed will be, by necessity, less extrinsically focused at that moment, and vice versa.

The concept of aspirations should be familiar to people who have just completed Schwarz’s section on values on Edunet. They are one and the same thing. The reason we use the term aspirations here, is to highlight that these are attitudes representing what people desire for themselves. Sometimes people interpret the word ‘values’ to mean things which one believes to be morally right or wrong, and this is not necessarily the same thing as what one aspires to.