Building on theories of conscious goals and feedback, we investigated the moderating effect of negative feedback on the relation between subconscious goals and performance. In two lab experiments, we manipulated subconscious performance goals and negative feedback about personal performance as well as social comparison information. In Study 1 (n = 80), subconscious goals positively influenced performance in an attention and concentration task when participants had received no feedback and negatively when participants had been confronted with negative performance feedback. In Study 2 (n = 90), additional comparison feedback indicating a higher performance of others led to higher performance of participants with versus without subconscious performance goals. The moderating effect of feedback was visible in self-efficacy, and we found partial support for its mediating role.
- subconscious goals
- negative feedback