Performance enhancement by relevant success and irrelevant failure

Philip Brickman*, Joan A W Linsenmeier, Alicia G. McCareins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Investigated whether success would be more effective than failure if the feedback was believed to predict what level of future performance could be expected (relevant feedback condition), while failure would be more effective than success if the feedback was not believed to predict what level of future performance could be expected (irrelevant feedback condition); Ss were 48 male and 48 female high school students. From previous dissonance theory research, it was also hypothesized that Ss with initially low expectancies for success would show the opposite effects (i.e., benefiting more from irrelevant success and relevant failure). Prior expectancy (high or low), relevance of initial feedback to future performance (relevant or irrelevant), and initial feedback level (success or failure) were manipulated in a factorial design with 6 male and 6 female Ss in each of the 8 cells. As predicted, relevant success and irrelevant failure were more beneficial than irrelevant success and relevant failure, and Ss with low expectancies reacted much less favorably to relevant success than Ss with high expectancies. (3l ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976

Keywords

  • level &
  • prior expectancy, subsequent performance motivation, high school students
  • relevance of initial success vs failure feedback &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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