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Title: Am I There Yet?: Probing the Effects of Goal Progress Feedback on Cognitive Motivation
Authors: Ng, Felicia
Advisors: Niv, Yael
Contributors: Witten, Ilana
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Goals are constant directors of human behavior, as people’s lives are regularly guided by the pursuit of quantifiable objectives, but a ubiquitous problem arises in the difficulty of sustaining the motivation necessary for achieving those goals. Although an abundance of selftracking technologies have been designed to help address this issue, little systematic research has been conducted to identify the features that are most effective in motivating users. Established theories and recent data from social and consumer psychology research suggest that providing goal progress feedback with certain valences and visualization features significantly influences commitment and persistence across a broad range of domains including physical tasks and purchasing behaviors. The present research expands upon this literature by investigating the combined effects of goal progress feedback valence and visualization at different goal distances on motivation to expend cognitive effort towards a set goal. A controlled behavioral experiment was conducted using a 2 x 2 x 2 mixed factorial design with an additional control condition in an anagram game to evaluate the hypothesis that positive feedback is more motivating than negative feedback when far away from goal completion, but more so in textual than graphical form, while negative feedback is more motivating than positive feedback when near goal completion, but more so in graphical than textual form. Results seem to confirm that the presence of goal progress feedback is indeed more motivating than no feedback and that a three-way interaction effect exists between feedback valence, feedback visualization, and goal distance, but mixed trends are revealed in the directionality of the effects. Findings are discussed in the context of previous literature on goal progress feedback effects, statistical and theoretical limitations of the present study, and related research on the mechanisms of the motivation-cognition interaction.
Extent: 45 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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