How Positive and Negative Feedback Motivate Goal Pursuit



This article explores the feedback individuals give, seek, and respond to in the course of pursuing their goals. We propose that positive feedback motivates goal pursuit when it signals an increase in goal commitment, whereas negative feedback motivates goal pursuit when it signals insufficient goal progress. We review research suggesting that whether individuals are drawn to evaluate their level of commitment versus rate of progress determines the type of feedback (positive or negative) that best motivates them to pursue their goals. We then review research suggesting that these effects of feedback operate by inducing positive and negative general moods as well as specific emotions.