- The closer users are to completing a task, the faster they work towards reaching it.
- Providing artificial progress towards a goal will help to ensure users are more likely to have the motivation to complete that task.
- Provide a clear indication of progress in order to motivate users to complete tasks.
The goal-gradient hypothesis, originally proposed by the behaviorist Clark Hull in 1932, states that the tendency to approach a goal increases with proximity to the goal. In a classic experiment that tests this hypothesis, Hull (1934) found that rats in a straight alley ran progressively faster as they proceeded from the starting box to the food. Although the goal-gradient hypothesis has been investigated exten-sively with animals (e.g., Anderson 1933; Brown 1948; for a review, see Heilizer 1977), its implications for human behavior and decision making are understudied. Further-more, this issue has important theoretical and practical implications for intertemporal consumer behavior in reward programs (hereinafter RPs) and other types of motivational systems (e.g., Deighton 2000; Hsee, Yu, and Zhang 2003; Kivetz 2003; Lal and Bell 2003).