The current work is an investigation of the use of strategic self-regulatory mechanisms designed to maintain and/or enhance motivation while engaging in an academic task. Specifically, three studies examined the use of strategic positivity (i.e., positive thoughts about the self, the current task or goal, the current task or goal environment, and the current task or goal progress used strategically in goal pursuit) and strategic negativity (i.e., negative thoughts about the self, the current task or goal, the current task or goal environment, and the current task or goal progress used strategically in goal pursuit) to expand the conception of strategic self-regulation and to explore how performance and situational variables are associated with affective experiences that differ across people who employ one or the other varieties of strategic self-regulation. In Study 1, a new individual difference measure of strategic self-regulation, designed to capture a number of ways in which people could employ strategic positivity and strategic negativity beyond the use of expectations made at the outset of a task, was developed. Using individual difference measures of strategic self-regulation, Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that regardless of actual performance, strategically positive and strategically negative participants evaluated their performance differently. In addition, the results of Studies 2 and 3 indicated that strategic self-regulation interacted with individual performance to produce unique affective experiences among strategically positive and strategically negative participants. Discussion focuses on the ultimate utility of strategic self-regulation for goal pursuit and the potential long-term consequences of chronically engaging in strategic positivity or strategic negativity.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissetation. December 2009. Major: Psychology. Advisors:Alexander J. Rothman and Marti H. Gonzales. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 106 pages.
Bartels Jr., Roger Dennis.
Strategic evaluations of goal pursuit: the power of positive and negative thinking..
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