Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The theory of goal orientation holds that persons will generally be motivated by one of three goal orientations in an achievement setting: a learning orientation, a performance-prove orientation, or a performance-avoid orientation. These goal orientations create the mental frameworks that an individual uses to interpret and respond to achievement settings, and are associated with different cognitive, behavioral, and affective responses to feedback, task-difficulty, and task success/failure. In addition, different types of feedback can orient individuals to different aspects of a task, and result in differing feedback effects. The present study examined how different types of feedback affect the perceived competence and performance of persons with different goal orientations. College students (n = 90) completed a series of ten computer-simulated puzzle tasks and received either task feedback, normative feedback, or no feedback after each puzzle. After completion of the task, the student's perceived competence and goal orientation were measured. Contrary to the hypotheses, no main effects of goal orientation or type of feedback were found for either performance or perceived competence. A series of planned comparisons was also conducted to test the effects of particular feedback conditions on participants with specific goal orientations. Of these three comparisons, only one was significant. Among participants receiving normative feedback, those with a learning goal orientation performed significantly better than participants with either type of performance orientation. The prediction that task feedback would increase the performance and perceived competence of learning goal participants as compared to other types of feedback was not supported, Also, performance-prove participants did not perform significantly better or have higher perceived competence than performance-avoid participants in the no-feedback condition.



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