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Simple is boring: the relationship between interest, self-efficacy, level of difficulty and performance
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (Hälsa och välfärd i det mångkulturella arbetslivet (HVMA))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2576-1944
2014 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Several studies have shown that if an individual's self-efficacy increases so does the interest in the task and there often also is an improvement in performance. There are also studies that have shown that a moderately difficult task allows the individual both to feel sufficiently competent to make a qualified performance and at the same time feel that the task is challenging enough to create an interest.

In this study the relationship between interest, self-efficacy, level of difficulty, control, and performance were examined with 91 students in two anagram tasks in a 2 (control: controlled / free) x 3 (level of difficulty: easy / moderate / hard) experimental design.

The hypothesis was that interest of the task would be highest at a moderate level of difficulty but the result showed that interest increased as the task got tougher and self-efficacy lower. General self-efficacy was found to be unrelated to performance, while task specific self-efficacy predicted performance - the higher the specific self-efficacy, the better the performance. How interesting and difficult a new task is experienced proved to be influenced by what the individual did before. To first perform an easy task and then making a more difficult, gave an increase of interest, while first performing a difficult task and then an easier resulted in reduction of interest. The second task, which was exactly the same for all participants, was also perceived more difficult if it was preceded by an easy task than when it was preceded by a moderately difficult or difficult task.

This study contributes with knowledge about that a gradual increase in level of task difficulty over time can be beneficial for both self-efficacy and interest. A plausible explanation could be that the individual is given space and time to feel competent enough to continuously move forward with new and more challenging tasks. The study also highlights the importance of earlier experiences in how future tasks will be perceived.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
General Self-efficacy, task specific self-efficacy, interest, level of difficulty, performance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-29301OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-29301DiVA: diva2:859299
Conference
The International Conference "Health, Social Welfare and Co-Produktion", Mälardalen University, 2014
Available from: 2015-10-06 Created: 2015-10-06 Last updated: 2015-10-07Bibliographically approved

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Loeb, Carina

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf