Consumers pursue goals when they perform behaviors (e.g., purchase low-calorie food) in order to achieve a desired end state (e.g., lose weight). Recent goal pursuit research can be classified into two streams of thought: conscious and unconscious goal pursuit. Conscious goal pursuit occurs when consumers are aware of the goal, while unconscious goal pursuit occurs when consumers are not aware of the goal, but still perform behaviors to achieve it. After discussing recent findings on when each type is more effective in helping consumers achieve their goals, I conclude that future research should not investigate the conscious and unconscious systems separately. Rather, future work should use a cooperative approach focused on how these systems interact to influence consumer goal pursuit.
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