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Disentangling the effects of optimism and attributions on feelings of success

  • Two experiments examined the effects of dispositional optimism and attributions on feelings of success in a performance setting. In Experiment 1, participants successfully solved three cognitive tasks and attributed the success either internally (i.e., to themselves) or externally (i.e., to a teammate). We found no effect of optimism, but a significant effect of the attribution: Internal attribution predicted an increase in feelings of success. In Experiment 2, we replicated the design and adopted an extreme groups approach in order to include the extremes of the optimism dimension. Only optimism affected feelings of success in this sample: Pessimistic participants showed higher increases in feelings of success than optimistic participants. We conclude that optimism, if disentangled from attribution, may have an effect on affect, with pessimism showing potential affective benefits. However, this association may be concealed if samples with a restricted range of the optimism dimension are studied.

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Author:Stephan Lau, Thomas Kubiak, Sebastian Burchert, Mark Goering, Nils Oberlaender, Hannes von Mauschwitz, Sarah von Sass, Mareen Selle, Anette Hiemisch
ISSN:0191-8869 (print)
Parent Title (English):Personality and individual differences : an international journal of research into the structure and development of personality, and the causation of individual differences
Place of publication:Oxford
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Affect; Attribution; Optimism; Performance setting; Success
First Page:78
Last Page:82
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Psychologie
Peer Review:Referiert