Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 61–70 | Cite as

Achievement Goals in Social Interactions: Learning with Mastery vs. Performance Goals

  • Céline Darnon
  • Fabrizio Butera
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz
Original Paper


Little work has studied achievement goals in social interaction situations. The present experiment aimed at contributing to this matter by showing the potential of social interaction (in particular disagreement) to moderate the effects of achievement goals on learning. Participants were led to think they interacted with a partner, sharing opinions about a text that they were studying. Mastery and performance goals were manipulated. During the “interaction,” they received either disagreement or agreement from this bogus partner. Results showed that a condition in which mastery goals were induced led to better learning than a performance goal condition only when the partner disagreed. No differences between goal conditions were observed when the partner agreed. Implications for achievement goal research are discussed.


Mastery goals Performance goals Social interactions Conflict Learning 



This work was supported by an “Ecole et Sciences Cognitives” fund granted by the French Ministry for Research, and by the Swiss National Science Foundation. We wish to express our gratitude to Dominique Muller and Caroline Pulfrey for their comments on previous versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Céline Darnon
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fabrizio Butera
    • 4
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale de Grenoble-ChambéryUniversité Pierre Mendès FranceGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et CognitiveUniversité Blaise PascalClermont-FerrandFrance
  4. 4.Institut des Sciences Sociales et PédagogiquesUniversité de Lausanne - AnthropoleLausanneSuisse (Switzerland)

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