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We examined the role of reward sensitivity and the motivation to balance ‘have-to’ and ‘want-to’ goals in vicarious goal satiation. In Experiment 1, participants who read about a target who completed an academic goal performed worse on an academic (‘have-to’) task and were more interested in engaging in inherently rewarding (‘want-to’) activities than participants who read about an incomplete goal. In Experiment 2, after reading about a target who completed a ‘have-to’ goal, participants who were more sensitive to rewards performed worse on a similar ‘have-to’ task. Furthermore, in Experiment 3, this effect was significant only when participants saw their task as more of a work (i.e., ‘have-to’) task. Together, these findings support the idea that motivation for rewards plays a role in vicarious goal satiation and that other people's goal pursuits can affect observers' perceived balance of ‘have-to’ and ‘want-to’ goals.

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