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Goal Gradient Effect

What is the Goal Gradient Effect?

Coined by behaviorist Clark Hull in 1932, the Goal Gradient Effect states that as people get closer to a reward, they speed up their behavior to get to their goal faster. In other words, people are motivated by how much is left to reach their target, not how far they’ve come.

As Hull put it in his original research:

“Rats in a maze run faster as they near the food box than at the beginning of the path.”

Example Vault: Goal Gradient Effect

Goal Gradient: Rdio
Goal Gradient: Peloton
Goal Gradient: Starbucks Loyalty
Goal Gradient: Duolingo
Goal Gradient: Uber