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In this presentation the relations between performance feedback and emotions in educational settings will be outlined. First, the complex constructs of “feedback” and “emotions” are defined by referring to existing theoretical approaches. As for feedback we will use the definition by Hattie and Timperly (2007): “Feedback is information provided by an agent (e.g., teacher, peer, book, parent, self, experience) regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding” (p. 102). Concerning emotions, we refer to definitions entailing a componential perspective (e.g., Damasio, 2004), in which emotions are viewed as multicomponent, coordinated processes of psychological subsystems that include affective, cognitive, motivational, expressive, and peripheral physiological processes. Emotions will be categorized based on Pekrun’s control-value theory of achievement emotions (Pekrun, 2006).
Second, This presentation will review extensive literature, discussing theoretical approaches and empirical findings of the relations between feedback and emotions. We will discuss the role of feedback and emotion valence (positive vs. negative), causality in the feedback/emotion relations, the role of the achievement level of the reference group (c.f., big-fish-little pond effect in relation to feedback), and finally on the role of performance feedback across domains (i.e., domain-specificity of relations). Further, moderators and mediators of the feedback/emotions relations as outlined in the literature will be presented while differentiating the role of moderators and mediators in reciprocal vs. unidirectional relations (i.e. effects of feedback on emotions and vice versa). For example, for reciprocal relations the specific academic domain under investigation was found to moderate the strength of relations (e.g., Goetz et al., 2011). For the effects of feedback on emotions the purpose of the feedback, for example, was found as a moderator if the strength of the relation (e.g., Rowe, Fitness, & Wood, 2014). In regards to the effects of emotions on feedback, action tendencies were found to mediate those relations (e.g., Belschak, Jacobs, & Den Hartog, 2008).
The theoretical approaches and existing findings on the relations between performance feedback and emotions by taking the causal directions as well as corresponding moderators and mediators of the relations will be summarized into a comprehensive model which will be useful for framing future studies. Finally, explicit suggestions for future research will be offered.