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Type: Thesis
Title: An Experimental Test of the Effects of Goal Types on Creative Performance
Author: Pietsch, Simon
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Objectives: One key tenant of goal setting theory is that specific and challenging goals are most adaptive for optimal functioning. However, goals which are non-specific and exploratory, referred to as ‘open goals’, may actually be preferred in particular circumstances. As this evidence is limited, I aimed to experimentally test the direct and moderated effects of open goals on creative performance, when compared to do-your-best (DYB) and SMART goals. Second, I aimed to test the equivalence between two types of vaguely defined goals; open and DYB goals. Design: 3 (between-groups: SMART, DYB, open goals) x 2 (within-groups: pre- and post-intervention) experimental design. Method: Participants (N = 247, Mage = 30.41) with no cognitive impairments completed the alternate use task (AUT) as a proxy for creative performance before and after goal manipulation. Proposed moderators of the effects of goal types on creative performance were measured prior to participants’ random assignment to one of three goal conditions. Results: There were no meaningful differences in creative performance when focused on SMART, DYB and open goals. Only goal commitment significantly moderated the effect of goal types on creative performance, such that participants who self-reported greater goal commitment produced a significantly higher number of creative ideas when using a DYB goal compared to SMART and open goals. The effect of DYB and open goals on creative performance were not statistically equivalent. Conclusion: These findings extend the evidence base for goal setting, casting doubt that specific, challenging goals are most adaptive for human behaviour across contexts.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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