Locke, E. A., Cartledge, N., & Koeppel, J. (1968). Motivational effects of knowledge of results: A goal setting phenomenon. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 474-485.

The literature concerning knowledge of results (KR) and goal-setting was reviewed. Four categories of studies were determined.

  1. KR and goal-setting were explicitly confounded. Usually, KR groups perform better but possibly because KR and no-KR groups have different goals.
  2. KR is given in relation to a standard or record of previous performance. These studies yield the benefits of knowledge of performance progress.
  3. Goals set by KR and no-KR groups are not measured. Usually KR is given on each trial. It was suggested that KR functions as a "standard of performance" which tends to cause effort to be prolonged during work periods. Since this form of concurrent consequence is not available to no-KR groups, performance is not affected.
  4. Some studies tried to separate the effects of KR and goal-setting. When goal-setting was partialed-out statistically, KR was found to have little effect on performance.

Implications. KR and goal-setting are interdependent for affecting performance.

  1. It is important to have standards of evaluation. They direct the magnitude and form of performance.
  2. KR is "motivational" in that it leads to goal-setting, not the other way round.
  3. Following the receipt of KR is a period of evaluation which entails the formulation of behavioral intentions linked to goals for the next behavior. Time is needed for this consideration and so repetitions should be separated by reflection intervals. It is possible to have trials (e.g., when shooting baskets) too close together which does not provide time for this phenomenon to occur.
  4. Athletes should be taught to use KR and goal-set for every behavior at practice and in particular, in sets of repetitious activities.

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