The Regulation of Self-Efficacy and Attributional Feedback on Motivation

Article excerpt

Self-efficacy and attributional feedback are important cognitive factors that influence the formation of motivation. This research examines the principle of motivation formation by subjects who have different levels of self-efficacy and who get different attributional feedback of ability. The 146 participants were Chinese undergraduate students. The result is: selfefficacy and attributional feedback have the main effects of regulation on motivation, and they also have important influence on the formation of motivation by interaction with each other.

Recent research on motivation pays close attention to the function of cognitive factors, in particular to the important mediating regulation factors: self-efficacy and attributional feedback (Aiqing 1996; Bandura 1999). The latest research showed that the stronger the belief in self-efficacy, the better the subsequent performance (Bandura; Schunk, Dale, & Ertmer, 1999). The results also indicated that causal attributions could influence achievement strivings, however the effect is mediated almost entirely through changes in perceived self-efficacy (Weiner & Graham, 1999; Schunk et al.). The recent research on the theory of goal setting suggested that perceived self-efficacy is a cognitive factor that plays an influential role in the exercise of personal control over motivation (Locke, 1990). Self-efficacy mediated the attained effect of skill and the self-confidence of subsequent conduct by affecting the persistence, efforts and motivation of behavior.

The research by Schunk et al. (1999) combined the attribution and feedback and found that the attributional feedback of effort in the previous task could improve pupils' self-efficacy expectancy; and that attributional feedback on ability had stronger influence on self-efficacy. Some studies suggested that attributional feedback not only had direct influence on conduct, but also had stronger indirect effect on it by affecting self-efficacy (Weiner & Graham, 1999).

Despite the usefulness of the attribution model and path analysis technique to causal inference and theory testing, much of the past research dealt with the level of relations. To deepen this kind of analysis research of relations, Pajares (1996) pointed out that one should include the levels of self-efficacy and how it influences learning motivation and school achievement. Self-efficacy beliefs can be controlled by subsequent experience and language guidance, such as by varied feedback to different types of conduct, or by information about social comparison. This study attempts to examine the principles of motivation for changing behavior for participants who have different levels of self-efficacy, with the aim of understanding the function of regulation of self-efficacy and ability attributional feedback on motivation.

METHOD

PARTICIPANTS

The 146 participants (67 males, 79 females) were Chinese undergraduate students (sophomore) who ranged in age from 18 to 22 years old (M=19.2, SD=4.3), They were enrolled in an educational psychology course.

ExPERimENT DESIGN

Experimental instruments were mirror drawing and task-tracing, used as a demonstration. Experimental materials were 400 pieces of paper and 180 pairs of drawing pencils. Experiment design adopts 2(self-efficacy: 80%, 20%level) x 2(ability attributional feedback: positive, negative) x 2(gender: male, female) Multivariate ANOVA tests. The levels of motivation (dependent variables) are determined by three indices: inclination, persistence and accomplishment of behavior according to the definition of motivation (see Murphy & Alexander, 2000).

PROCEDURE

First, the instrument of mirror drawing and task tracing was explained and demonstrated to stimulate students' interest in a motor skill test.

Second, the participants were randomly divided into two groups by odd and even number and did the measurement separately. …