The effect of negative feedback on motivation : a meta-analytic investigation




Fong, Carlton Jing

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Although the most prominent view in psychological theory has been that negative feedback should generally have a detrimental impact on motivation, competing perspectives and caveats on this prominent view have suggested that negative feedback may sometimes have neutral or even positive effects on motivation. A meta-analysis of 79 studies examined the effect of negative feedback on motivation and related outcomes with both child and adult samples. Results indicated that negative feedback compared to positive feedback decreased intrinsic motivation and perceived competence. This effect is much smaller when compared to neutral or no feedback. Moderator tests revealed that the effect of negative feedback seems to be less demotivating when a) the feedback statement includes instructional details to improve, b) compared to objective versus normative standards, and c) the task is interesting. Implications for future research and applications to real-world settings are discussed.



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