• The relationship between achievement goals and the academic success of first-generation college students

      Perry, Andrew Holmes (2018-06)
      Recent research has established that first-generation college students, or those students without a parent with a four-year college degree, tend to underperform academically compared to continuing-generation college students, or those with at least one parent with a four-year college degree. The current study was undertaken to attempt to explain this discrepancy, known as the social class achievement gap, through the use of achievement goal theory. A survey of 351 undergraduates was conducted with students reporting their generational status and their adoption of three achievement goals. Their first-semester GPA was later acquired. It was expected that generational status would predict achievement goal adoption, that achievement goal adoption would predict academic performance, and that goal adoption would mediate the relationship between generational status and academic performance. Results did not support these hypotheses. Potential explanations for the null effects and implications of these findings for the social class achievement gap literature are discussed.
    • Success will be the best revenge : revenge as motivation for goal pursuit

      Ciuffetelli, Ryan (2019-05)
      In much of the published literature, revenge and goal achievement are studied as disparate fields. The present study attempts to unify these two fields by investigating whether motivation to get revenge can spur goal achievement. University students (N = 130) were randomly assigned, in an online-survey format, to play an economic game with a fair or unfair partner. Previous study showed playing with an unfair partner, unlike playing with a fair partner, can lead to revenge motivation. Uniquely, rather than using real currency like most studies with economic games, valueless “virtual units” were used. Next, participants were offered the chance to compete against their economic game partner in completing anagrams, some of which were impossible. Then, revenge motivation, goal complex, and task enjoyment measures were collected. As expected, participants that played with an unfair partner were more likely to harbor feelings of revenge than those who played with a fair partner. However, counter to expectations, motivation to get revenge did not significantly predict perseverance on impossible anagrams. While these findings are unable to establish the hypothesized link between revenge motivation and goal achievement, they do show that virtual currencies can be used in economic games in some circumstances, opening up new avenues for future research.