Effect of Task Appropriateness, Social Comparison, and Feedback on Female Goals, Performance, and Self-Confidence with a Motor Task
Description: Lenney (1977) concluded that achievement gender differences were predicted by females' lower self confidence and expectancies in competitive situations, identifying three variables that mediated female self confidence in achievement situations, (1) task appropriateness. (2) social comparison, and (3) feedback. The present study manipulated all three mediating variables with 240 undergraduate 18-25 year old female subjects with the pursuit rotor task that requires tracking a moving (40 rpm's) white light with a hand-held stylus for 60 seconds. Response measurement was based upon time on target. Subjects were tested over five trials while setting goals for each trial. Females were randomly assigned to a male appropriate, female appropriate, or gender neutral task condition, a competition or alone condition, and to one of four feedback conditions (no feedback, feedback about own performance only, feedback about own performance that provided the perception that subject was performing better than an opponent and/or average on each trial, or feedback about own performance that provided the perception that subject was performing poorer than an opponent and/or average on each of the five trials). Results from the 2 (social comparison) X 3 (task appropriateness) X 4 (feedback) ANOVA were contradictory to previous findings (Corbin, 1981; Petruzzello & Corbin, 1988) as females performed significantly better in competition than alone. Data support the conclusion that presentation of clear and unambiguous feedback enhanced female self-confidence (Corbin, 1981; Petruzzello & Corbin, 1988; Lenney, 1977). Data also provide null findings for the task appropriateness condition which contradicts the previous research (Corbin, 1981; Lenney, 1977) in that females perceiving the task as male appropriate did not exhibit less self-confidence and perform poorer than when the task was perceived as either female appropriate or gender neutral. Conclusions reflect methodological differences from previous research and changes in gender role identification that have significantly impacted on female ...
Date: May 1990
Creator: Adler, William P.