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This experiment compared the effects of self-set versus assigned goals on exercisers’ (N = 50, M age = 23.6) self-efficacy to perform a novel grip-strength task. After their first task attempt, all participants received the same bogus performance feedback. Participants in the self-set condition then set their own goal for their second attempt, whereas those in the assigned condition were given the goal of squeezing 3 more pounds. The assigned condition reported higher task-self efficacy (M = 58.7) than the self-set condition (M = 42.4) prior to their second task attempt (p = .02). These findings suggest that goals assigned by an authority figure can increase self-confidence in beginner exercisers.
The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1 Canada. *Corresponding author.