Date of Graduation

Fall 2016


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Melissa Duncan-Fallone


The effects of person, process, and neutral praise were examined to assess differences in the types of praise used to frame participant motivation and subsequent transfer success. A sample of undergraduate psychology students (N = 66) were tested using the Tower of Hanoi puzzle to assess transfer success based on the number of trials and average time per trials necessary to solve the transfer task. Participants also reported levels of existing achievement goal orientations and task-specific intrinsic motivation. Exploratory analyses indicated that the number of trials, average time per trial across conditions, as well intrinsic motivation did not differ by condition. However, analyses revealed that participants who received person praise were less likely to successfully transfer knowledge compared to those who received neutral praise. Participants' level of performance-approach goal orientation (PAGO) predicted the number of trials required to solve the transfer task for those in the process praise condition, but not those in the neutral praise condition. Participants who received process praise required more trials to solve the transfer task if they scored high in PAGO than if they scored low in PAGO. One possible explanation for this finding is that when students high in performance orientation hear feedback about the strategies that are being used, they become more conscientious about their performance. More research is needed to understand how types of praise interact with students' existing goal orientations to affect transfer of knowledge.


praise, transfer of knowledge, achievement goals, framing, Tower of Hanoi, intrinsic motivation

Subject Categories



© Leah Mae Wilson

Open Access

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Psychology Commons