Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Erffmeyer, Raymond Mendel, Robert Reber

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Feedback and goal setting are both necessary for either to have an effect on performance (Erez, 1977). In the present study two attributes of feedback, frequency and source, were manipulated under goal-setting conditions to examine their effects on performance. It is generally assumed that performance can be enhanced by providing individuals with frequent feedback and by providing them with feedback that originates from a source close to themselves--that is, feedback from the task itself or self-administered feedback. A third variable of interest, subjects' perceived control over the task, was assessed via questionnaires.

Subjects worked on a problem-solving task. Each subject was placed in one of eight feedback source/frequency conditions and assigned a goal for the task based on his/her performance in a practice trial. Questionnaires designed to assess subject's perceptions of the assigned goal, the feedback provided, and the task itself were administered at predetermined intervals.

Neither the source from which the feedback originated nor the frequency with which it was presented had an effect on performance. However, a source by frequency interaction was obtained from questionnaire data measuring subject's perceptions of control over the task. Individuals perceiving themselves as receiving infrequent feedback felt greater control when the feedback was presented by the researcher. Individuals who perceived themselves as receiving more frequent feedback felt greater control when the feedback was self-administered.

Theoretical explanations of the findings were offered along with recommendations for future research. Recommendations included the further examination of the role of feedback on individual perceptions of external control and its influence on task performance.


Clinical Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology