12/07/2013 09:38 am ET

Pride Or Shame From Meeting Goals Depends On The Goals Themselves: Study


The pride or shame you feel from accomplishing or failing to meet a goal could depend on what your goal was in the first place, according to a new study.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Central Queensland University found that if your goal is to do better than other people, successfully accomplishing that goal will only boost feelings of pride.

On the other hand, feelings of shame can be made greater if you fail to meet a goal that involves not getting shown up by others.

"Our results suggest that a person's motivation and purpose regarding a task -- whether that task is a video game, a race or an academic exam -- impacts the amount of pride or shame he or she will experience in response to success or failure," study researcher David Conroy, a professor of kinesiology at Penn State, said in a statement. "And the amount of pride or shame a person feels can influence whether he or she will persist in the task or drop out."

The study, published in the journal Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, involved having 58 college students earn as many points as they could while playing 24 rounds of Tetris. The participants were given different criteria for earning a point before each round, and then at the end of each round, they were given feedback from study researchers and were asked to rate their feelings of pride or shame.

The results "revealed that performance achievement goal states moderated the effects of feedback on pride and shame at a within-person level," the researchers wrote in the study. "These results suggest coaches and teachers may be able to use contextual cues to influence motivation and self-conscious emotions of their athletes and students during competence pursuits."