Resting on laurels: The effects of discrete progress markers as subgoals on task performance and preferences

Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition (Impact Factor: 3.1). 10/2008; 34(5):1158-71. DOI: 10.1037/a0012857
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article investigates the influence of progress certainty and discrete progress markers (DPMs) on performance and preferences. The authors suggest that the effects of DPMs depend on whether progress certainty is high or low. When the distance to the goal is uncertain, DPMs can help reduce uncertainty and thus improve performance and increase preference. However, when the distance to the goal is certain, DPMs may generate complacency, sway motivation away from the end goal, and decrease performance in the task, as well as its appeal. Therefore, the addition of more information, feedback, or progress indicators may not always improve task performance and preference for the task. The authors validate these claims in 4 experiments.

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May 17, 2014