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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 May;80(5):706-22.

Achievement goals and optimal motivation: testing multiple goal models.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


Currently, there is a debate about which types of achievement goals promote optimal motivation. A number of theorists argue for a mastery goal perspective focusing on the adaptive consequences of mastery goals and the maladaptive consequences of performance goals. Others endorse a multiple goal perspective in which both mastery and performance goals can be beneficial. The purpose of the present investigation was to review why this debate has emerged and to offer a critical test of the mastery versus multiple goal perspectives. In Study 1, a correlational approach was used to identify the optimal goals for college participants to adopt for a learning activity. In Study 2, an experimental approach was used to identify the optimal goals to assign for the same activity. Each study revealed benefits of both mastery and performance goals, providing support for the multiple goal perspective.

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