Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dennis Dossett

Second Advisor

Carl I. Greenberg

Third Advisor

James M. Thomas


Undergraduate psychology students (N = 60) were randomly assigned to do-your-best, assigned, or participative goal-setting conditions. The sample was split at the mean on the basis of scores received on a clerical test, resulting in low- and high-ability groups. Specific Goals led to higher performance than did the do-your-best goals. With task ability and goal difficulty held, constant, there was no significant difference between the assigned and participative conditions on goal attainment, goal acceptance, or performance.

When the groups were split on ability, only the low ability group performed significantly better than the do-your-best group. Two reasons are suggested to explain this difference. First, low-ability subjects may have "recognized an opportunity to improve' performance over trials, and set or were, assigned higher goals relative to high-ability subjects. Second, low-ability subjects accepted their performance goals to a greater extent than did the subjects in the high ability group.

Included in

Psychology Commons