Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 149 pages) : PDF file, illustrations (1 color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin J Williams

Committee Members

Sylvia G Roch, Monica Rodriguez


Counterfactual Thought, Goal Setting, Motivation, Regulatory Focus, Goal (Psychology), Feedback (Psychology)

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Social Psychology


The primary goal of this study was to examine cognitive and dispositional factors that may influence self-regulated motivation from the perspective of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT: Bandura, 1986, 1989, 2002). In particular, this study examined the potential moderating effects of regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997) and counterfactual thought (Roese, 1994) on the feedback - goal revision relationship. In a sample of 297 college students, the results showed that feedback, whether based on a standard of performance or self-set goals was a strong predictor of goal level set by participants. Individuals with negative discrepancies engaged in more positive discrepancy creation than individual with positive discrepancies, although the majority of individuals engaged in positive discrepancy creation across the trials. Similarly, goal revision was strongly related to the size of goal-performance discrepancies (GPD), such that those with positive GPD raised their goals and those with a negative GPD lowered their goals relative to the size of the discrepancy. In some instances, self-efficacy and performance satisfaction were related to goal revision, and in one case a self-efficacy X GPD interaction was present. Overall, however, feedback about one's own performance was the strongest predictor of goal revision and PDC, above and beyond self-efficacy and satisfaction. In support of goal setting theory (Locke & Latham, 2000), goals were also a strong predictor of performance.