Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lotsof, Erwin||Martin, Randall B.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Persistence; Success


A study was designed to determine if a subject's previous success on a task leads to greater or lesser persistence on a later, but similar task than does another subject's expectancy of success without any previous success on the task. Further, the influence of a subject's academic achievement attitudes was also investigated. Achievement attitudes were measured by a questionnaire closely patterned after one developed by Clark, Teevan, and Ricciuti (1956) and later used by Butterfield (1964.). The subjects used in the study were 210 girls drawn from 2 sections of an introductory psychology course. The test task given to the Ss was a series of anagrams which were all insolvable, but which the Ss were told were solvable. Persistence was measured as the length of time a S spend on the anagram task. The design of the study then was a 2 x 3 x 3, with 2 kinds of pre-test experience, either actual success on a series of pre-test anagrams, or instructions leading the Ss to expect success on the test task. There were also 3 levels of experienced or expected success, 20, 50, and 80%, and 3 levels of academic achievement attitudes, high, medium, and low. Three control groups of high, medium, and low academic achievement attitudes who were not given any pre-test success or lead to expect any success were also employed. The Instructed Ss were found to be significantly more persistent than the Experienced Ss. Further, the 20% groups as a whole were more persistent than both the 50% and 80% groups. The latter two groups did not significantly differ. No difference were found between achievement levels, nor were any interaction effects found. The results of the study were examined and several explanations suggested. A review of the literature of persistence is also examined.


Includes bibliographical references.


79 pages




Northern Illinois University

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