Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



First Adviser

Christopher Burke

Other advisers/committee members

Grant, Heidi; Moskowitz, Gordon B.; Gill, Michael J.; Laible, Deborah; Dweck, Carol S.


The vast majority of achievement goal research has focused on the individual’ s

experiences during goal pursuit. By contrast, very little of this research has taken into consideration the interpersonal effects of achievement goals. This is surprising given that many achievement situations involve and depend on interactions with others (i.e. sporting events, classroom tasks, group projects in the workplace, etc). Therefore, a Pilot Study and two Experiments will be discussed that addressed how a focus on learning or performance influences interpersonal dynamics such as cooperation and communication when a group of people work together to complete a task. The experimental tasks were framed as either a learning goal or a performance goal in all three experiments. Groups of 3 or 4 participants worked on a card sequencing task (Pilot Study) or on a series of anagrams (Experiments 1 and 2). In Experiment 1, group members were required either to work together on one set of 30 anagrams or independently on their own sets of 10. In Experiment 2, some groups received an easy set of anagrams while others received a difficult set. In the Pilot Study and two Experiments, group members’ perceptions of intragroup prosocial behavior, antisocial behavior, strategy use, and each group’s task performance were assessed. In general, it was found that groups with learning goals reported high levels of perceived intragroup prosocial behavior and low levels of antisocial behavior regardless of the achievement context while groups with performance goals took on a ‘strategic’ approach with regard to prosocial behavior. The implications of these results as well as directions for future research are discussed.

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Psychology Commons