THE EFFECT OF TWO LEVELS OF SUCCESS INCENTIVE ON PERSISTENCE IN THE FACE OF FAILURE.
BUCKNELL UNIV LEWISBURG PA DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Thirty female freshmen were randomly divided into two conditions. Although the task was the same for both conditions, one group perceived it as measuring an important ability while the other thought that it merely distinguished between two types of decision makers. In both conditions the Ss received the same set of scores indicating that they had little chance of reaching the critical score. The prediction was that the Ss in the evaluating condition would quit sooner in order to maintain a belief that they still had a good chance of succeeding. The predictions were strongly confirmed. It was also found that whether the Ss in the evaluating group quit early or late made no difference in their estimates of their chances of succeeding. The Ss in the nonevaluating condition were more responsive to the failure cues and reduced their estimates the longer they stayed with the task. Implications of this finding were discussed in regard to Atkinsons assumption that incentive values have an inverse relationship to probability of success. Author