Some determinants of task preference and the desire for information about the self

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Abstract

This research examined the influence of task difficulty and diagnosticity (ability information) on task choice and preference. It was found that males preferred diagnostic over non-diagnostic tasks, but among females significant preferences along this variable were not exhibited. Furthermore, the desire to obtain ability-relevant information decreased as a function of prior knowledge about one's ability. Both high and low ability self-perceptions, induced through prior experiences of success and failure, decreased the attraction toward diagnostic in formation. There was no indication that individuals with high ability self-concepts are especially avoidant of further ability-relevant information, as recent literature has suggested. In addition, and contrary to prior findings, difficult tasks were most preferred rather than easy or intermediate tasks, given that diagnosticity is held constant.

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