Scientific article

Performance-Approach and Performance-Avoidance Goals: When Uncertainty Makes a Difference

Published inPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 33, no. 6, p. 813-827
Publication date2007

Performance-avoidance goals (the desire to avoid performing more poorly than others do) have been shown to have consistently deleterious effects on performance but the effects of performance-approach goals (trying to outperform others) are more complex. Two studies examine uncertainty as a moderator of the effect of performance- approach goals on performance. Experiment 1 shows that manipulated performance-approach goals lead to better performance than do performanceavoidance goals in the absence of uncertainty about performance but when participants learn that a coactor disagreed with them about problem solutions, creating uncertainty, performance-approach goals do not differ from performance-avoidance goals in their effect on performance. Experiment 2 shows that uncertainty also moderates the effects of self-set performance-approach goals. Moreover, the same dynamic occurs with another kind of uncertainty: negative competence feedback.

  • Performance goals
  • Uncertainty
  • Disagreement
Citation (ISO format)
DARNON, Céline et al. Performance-Approach and Performance-Avoidance Goals: When Uncertainty Makes a Difference. In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2007, vol. 33, n° 6, p. 813–827. doi: 10.1177/0146167207301022
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