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In class we ran a goal setting experiment.

In this brief document, Ill explain how we design, run and


analyze social psychology experiments.
Our hypotheses
Following goal setting theory I expected 5 to be an easy goal, 9 to be a difficult goal and 16 to be an
impossible goal. And so I expected that 9 would be the highest performing group which would show
better results than the easy and do your best.
Running the experiment
1. 4 groups. All the materials of the 4 groups was exactly the same aside from one single factor
the goal we set.
a. The 5 goal got : It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your
goal is to create 5 words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is
difficult, but realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 5 or more
words per round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.
b. The 9 goal got : It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your
goal is to create 9 words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is
difficult, but realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 9 or more
words per round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.
c. The 16 goal got : It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your
goal is to create 16 words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is
difficult, but realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 16 or more
words per round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.
d. The do your best goal got : Do your best to create as many words as you can during
the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters on each page.
2. Students were randomly selected into one of the groups.
3. Controlling the differences : The same instructions were given to all groups. The same time was
given to all groups.
Why is this an experiment?
Since the allocation was random and all other factors aside from the goal manipulation were exactly the
same, any differences in performance should be attributed to the manipulation. We consider personal
differences in intelligence and cognitive abilities as random noise that should be factored out when
we average the individual participants in the group.
Checking the data

Although we did a very brief check in class to see what the results were, the data needs to be checked
using the following steps:
1. A person who is not familiar with the hypotheses (with the expected results) needs to code the
data. This is to avoid any bias in coding the results.
2. While coding, need to ignore made-up words, repetitions. Objective data only. This is why we
sometimes use two coders in order to make sure the deletion isnt biased in some way
The coded data looks like this (99 in this case is do your best) :
target

round 1

round 2

round 3

16

16

16

16

99

99

16

99

16

16

target

round 1

round 2

round 3

99

16

99

99

99

16

99

16

99

Analyzing the data


We use a statistical software. I use SPSS20.
To see what the average is for each group in each of the round and to compare the groups in order to
see whether there are significant differences I run a statistical test called one-way ANOVA.
For this experiment, I mainly care about round 1 and round 3.
The result looks something like this :

Oneway
Descriptives
N

Round 1

Std. Deviation

Std. Error

Minimum

Maximum

Goal is 5

11

2.4545

1.21356

.36590

1.00

5.00

Goal is 9

11

2.8182

1.16775

.35209

1.00

5.00

Goal is 16

10

3.3000

1.70294

.53852

2.00

7.00

2.7778

1.39443

.46481

1.00

6.00

Total

41

2.8293

1.35835

.21214

1.00

7.00

Goal is 5

11

2.5455

.93420

.28167

1.00

4.00

Goal is 9

11

2.8182

1.53741

.46355

1.00

6.00

Goal is 16

10

4.4000

1.42984

.45216

2.00

7.00

4.1111

1.36423

.45474

3.00

6.00

41

3.4146

1.51617

.23679

1.00

7.00

Do your best

Round 3

Mean

Do your best
Total

ANOVA
Sum of Squares
Between Groups
Round 1

Round 3

df

Mean Square

3.786

1.262

Within Groups

70.019

37

1.892

Total

73.805

40

Between Groups

26.299

8.766

Within Groups

65.653

37

1.774

Total

91.951

40

Sig.
.667

.578

4.940

.006

Means Plots

The results
These results are actually very interesting.

For round one, the differences are not significant. It means that whatever differences you see,
they could be attributed to random chance. Still, theres an interesting pattern showing that
goal 16 is the highest. The groups performed much better in round 3 compared to round 1.
o

A possible explanation : Round 1 is a trial test to get participants to become familiar


with the task.

For round 3, the differences between the groups are significant. This means that the differences
we see in the plot for round 3 are not random. The pattern shows that the conditions of goal 16
and do your best outperformed goal 5 and goal 9. The highest performing seemed to be the
goal 16 group.

Possible implications
It could be that the goal 16 didnt seem impossible to those who got it and that it created a strong
motivation. Perhaps an impossible goal could have been 50. In this experiment it seemed that setting a
goal that was too easy too away motivation more than a high goal gave motivation because we see the
goal 5 and the goal 9 as clearly being lower than do your best.
This means that for future experiments we should consider changing the following:
1. Changing the conditions to : goal 5 (easy), goal 16 (difficult but perceived achievable), goal 50
(impossible), and do your best (control condition).
2. Running more than 3 rounds. We saw that it could take time for people to get used to the the
task.

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Word Creation Exercise


Your task is to create words using the seven letters listed at the top of each page. Each
word must be an English word, two or more letters long, other than a proper noun, made
by using each of the 7 letters only once per word, and used in only one form.
On each page, you will have one minute to create your words. Write your words in the
spaces provided.
SAMPLE LETTERS
AEDBKUG
Possible words: bad, bed, bag, beg, bug, bade, bake, bead, dug, duke, keg
It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your goal is to create 9
words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is difficult, but
realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 9 or more words per
round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.

Do not turn the page until you are instructed to do so.

OELHMAZ
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UADQWER
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

OADMHUP
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Word Creation Exercise


Your task is to create words using the seven letters listed at the top of each page. Each
word must be an English word, two or more letters long, other than a proper noun, made
by using each of the 7 letters only once per word, and used in only one form.
On each page, you will have one minute to create your words. Write your words in the
spaces provided.
SAMPLE LETTERS
AEDBKUG
Possible words: bad, bed, bag, beg, bug, bade, bake, bead, dug, duke, keg
It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your goal is to create 5
words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is difficult, but
realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 5 or more words per
round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.

Do not turn the page until you are instructed to do so.

OELHMAZ
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UADQWER
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

OADMHUP
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Word Creation Exercise


Your task is to create words using the seven letters listed at the top of each page. Each
word must be an English word, two or more letters long, other than a proper noun, made
by using each of the 7 letters only once per word, and used in only one form.
On each page, you will have one minute to create your words. Write your words in the
spaces provided.
SAMPLE LETTERS
AEDBKUG
Possible words: bad, bed, bag, beg, bug, bade, bake, bead, dug, duke, keg
Do your best to create as many words as you can during the allotted 1 minute using the 7
letters on each page.

Do not turn the page until you are instructed to do so.

OELHMAZ
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

UADQWER
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

OADMHUP
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________

Word Creation Exercise


Your task is to create words using the seven letters listed at the top of each page. Each
word must be an English word, two or more letters long, other than a proper noun, made
by using each of the 7 letters only once per word, and used in only one form.
On each page, you will have one minute to create your words. Write your words in the
spaces provided.
SAMPLE LETTERS
AEDBKUG
Possible words: bad, bed, bag, beg, bug, bade, bake, bead, dug, duke, keg
It is important that you commit to a specific yet attainable goal. Your goal is to create 16
words during the allotted 1 minute using the 7 letters. This goal is difficult, but
realistic. In previous studies many students were able to create 16 or more words per
round using the same groups of letters you are about to see.

Do not turn the page until you are instructed to do so.

OELHMAZ
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
10. ___________________
11. ___________________
12. ___________________
13. ___________________
14. ___________________
15. ___________________
16. ___________________

UADQWER
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
10. ___________________
11. ___________________
12. ___________________
13. ___________________
14. ___________________
15. ___________________
16. ___________________

OADMHUP
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________
6. ___________________
7. ___________________
8. ___________________
9. ___________________
10. ___________________
11. ___________________
12. ___________________
13. ___________________
14. ___________________
15. ___________________
16. ___________________

Name : _______________

Student ID : ________________