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Does priming for mastery goals improve the performance of students with an entity view of ability?
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-16, 16:19 authored by Thompson, T, Muskett, S
Background. There is evidence that an entity view of ability (where ability is viewed as a fixed entity that cannot be changed) is linked with social comparison goals and poor performance. On the other hand, an incremental view of ability (where ability is viewed as an acquirable skill) is linked with a mastery goal orientation and positive achievement outcomes. On these bases, the present study sought evidence that priming students with an entity view of ability to pursue mastery goals would result in improved performance. Sample. Participants were 48 students with an entity view of ability, and 48 students with an incremental view of ability. Method. We used a 2 (views of ability: entity, incremental) X 2 (performance feedback: success, failure) X 2 (goal priming: mastery, social comparison) between-subjects factorial design to examine the effects of goal priming on performance for students with either an incremental or entity view of ability following either success or failure feedback. Prior to, and following, performance feedback, participants completed parallel measures of state anxiety. Participants were then primed for either social comparison goals prior to attempting to solve 16 Unicursal (tracing puzzle) tasks. Their performance on a subsequent set of Unicursal tasks was then examined. Finally participants completed a State Goals Scale assessing their degree of endorsement of social comparison/mastery goals whilst working on the Unicursal tasks. Results. The performance of students with an incremental view of ability was comparable irrespective of whether they were initially exposed to success and failure feedback and irrespective of whether they were primed for mastery or social comparison goals. However the performance of students with an entity view of ability improved when they were primed for mastery relative to social comparison goals irrespective of whether they were initially exposed to success or failure. Conclusions. These findings confirm the performance-limiting consequences of social comparison goals for participants with an entity view of ability, suggesting benefits in encouraging these students to pursue mastery goals. Â© 2005 The British Psychological Society.
Publication titleBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Department/SchoolSchool of Psychological Sciences
PublisherThe British Psychological Society
Place of publicationUK