Based on a study done in Sweden (Error, Praise, Action, and Trait: Effects of Feedback on Cognitive Performance and Motivation by Alva Appelgren), we can better understand and see the correlation and the effect feedback has on motivation and cognitive performance.
Four different studies took place, in which both the cognitive and behavioral aspects of the participants were observed. These studies involved MRI’s, questionnaires, mediation analysis, Bayesian statistics, and tasks. Studies were done on adults and children, in both a controlled lab environment and in a classroom as well.
These were the four studies and their descriptions:
Study I: Investigated the effect of external and internal feedback on errors made, corrections given after errors occurred, and general correct responses on cognitive performance accuracy and reaction time in a working memory task.
Study II: Investigated the person’s thoughts regarding intelligence and their underlying motivation. This information was gathered through the measurement of the questionnaires influences on the number of days the participants spent in a working memory training program.
Study III: Investigated the effects of different types of feedback on errors made and correct responses in regards to working memory training improvement and motivation, and to evaluate new measures of effort inputted.
Study IV: Investigated how positive feedback directed to a person’s trait or someone’s actions influence brain activation, performance and motivation during a rule-switching task.
After carefully performing and evaluating these four studies they were able to get these results for each study.
Results for Study I
In study I, they found that external feedback (information you receive about a performance) given on all errors made did not change performance accuracy, compared to internal feedback (how you feel about a performance) on errors made. They also found that external feedback on errors made did have an effect on performance accuracy compared to no external feedback. Another finding derived from Study I was that external feedback on general correct responses reduced reaction time and accuracy.
The combination with both types of feedback on both errors made and correct responses did not help performance since it reduced performance accuracy found in the interaction analysis. Overall, this study found that a person’s own internal thoughts can change performance accuracy and that external feedback on correct responses actually reduced reaction time and did not help performance.
Results for Study II
In study II, they found that beliefs regarding one’s intelligence, whether intelligence is perceived as something fixed or seen as something that can be changed with effort and training, influenced the number of trained sessions participants completed. Overall, this study found that people try to match their outcomes with their expectations.
Results for Study III
In Study III, they found that the post-hoc analyses (tests performed after to confirm the differences between groups) showed that the group receiving both negative and positive feedback (Group 4) had significantly lower max scores than the group who received only positive feedback (Group1). They also found that feedback influenced working memory training. Another finding was that commenting on a person’s errors does not seem to be helpful for working memory improvements. A way of improving a person’s reaction to comments on their errors would be by using the Feedback Academy Feed4Ward model. By using this model, you transform a negative into a positive by telling the person what they should be doing instead of just telling them not to do it. Overall, study III found the connection between feedback and working memory training, and the effects of negative and positive feedback on a person.
Results for Study IV
In Study IV, they found that Participants showed more improvement when in a task feedback condition from a feedback session to a no feedback session, compared to trait feedback when looking at only genetic trials. They also found that participants rated higher motivation to continue the task after task feedback compared to after trait-feedback. Another finding was the effect of feedback on stress, where task-feedback induced less stress than trait-feedback. On the participant’s first visit it induced more stress within the individuals when they got trait feedback compared to the participants who got task feedback on their first visit. Overall, this study found that task and trait feedback are received differently and that feedback can be linked to stress reduction when directed towards a task and not a trait.
… After looking at all the results, it seems that feedback plays a major role in performance and motivation. How a person reacts to external feedback may depend on the individual, which makes it hard to find the optimal feedback type for each individual/task. Over all feedback is linked to inducing less stress, specifically when it is task feedback. Task feedback was perceived as positive by 75%, where trait feedback was only perceived positive by 30%. It seems that people tend to take trait feedback more negatively than task feedback which is correlating with the Behavioral Iceberg . It is harder for people to hear about a trait they possess compared to a task they have performed. In addition, feedback must also be given in moderation, too much feedback can be just as harmful and not enough or no feedback.
For more information about the findings done by Alva Appelgren on Error, Praise, Action, and Trait: Effects of Feedback on Cognitive Performance and Motivation, Please visit: https://openarchive.ki.se/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10616/44768/Thesis_Alva_Appelgren.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y
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