Two studies examined the impact on emotion and motivation of framing the same goal in terms of either a positive outcome focus or a negative outcome focus. In Study 1, contingencies associated with either reaching the goal (positive outcome focus) or failing to reach the goal (negative outcome focus) were emphasized. In Study 2, performance feedback was given as subjects worked on a task such that the goal was framed in terms of either a positive or a negative outcome focus. Framing with a positive outcome focus changed dejection-related emotions (e.g., dissatisfaction) more than agitation-related emotions (e.g., nervousness), whereas the reverse was true for framing with a negative outcome focus. In addition, persistence was greater in the positive-outcome-focus condition (both studies), as was performance (Study 2). Implications for self-discrepancy theory and for goal theories of motivation are discussed.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin – SAGE
Published: Nov 1, 1995
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