MULTIPLE ARE BETTER THAN SINGLE GOALS FOR AFFECTING PERFORMANCE
Atkinson, J. W., & Reitman, W. R. (1956). Performance as a function of motive strength and expectancy of goal attainment. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 53, 361-366.
A one-goal and two-goal condition were compared. Both groups were assumed to have an aroused motive to achieve. The second group also had an added $5.00 bonus for a best score on the task. The multi-incentive group performed better. Where achievement was the only goal, those with high achievement motives performed better than those with low levels.
Implication. Performance is enhanced by multi-incentive conditions. Athletes should perform and attempt to achieve a number of performance features (e.g., self-improvement in some aspect of technique, consistency of performance, use of strategy, etc.) rather than to focus on one item such as producing a best performance.
Although this is a very old study its implication is as true today as it was 40 years ago. Multiple-performance goal-setting is a better orientation than a singular incentive.
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