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Risk Taking and Performance in Relation to Achievement Related Motives, Defensiveness and Social Context NICHD

Bloxom, Anne L.; Damm, John T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Achievement Need, Atkinson, Richard C., Behavioral Science Research, Elementary School Students, Motivation, Performance Factors


The effects of two social contexts on the risk-taking of elementary boys on a shuffleboard task were investigated. It was predicted that Atkinson's motive-probability-incentive (M-P-I) model would be supported in the peer-competitive context. In that the success-oriented subjects would choose more goals with median Ps values than the failure-avoidant subjects, but that these two groups would not differ in this regard in the adult-evaluative context. These hypotheses were supported. A test was also made of Atkinson's recent prediction that performance will relate positively to summated motivation in the peer-competitive context but negatively to this variable in the adult-evaluative context. These predictions were partly supported, and the data were interpreted in terms of the inverted U curve postulated to hold between discriminative behavior and total arousal. The summated motivation measure is a combination of need for achievement, defensiveness and text anxiety. (Author/DB) (45pp.)

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