Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 38–50 | Cite as

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over: The effect of task completion on the savoring of success

  • Marina SchallEmail author
  • Thomas Goetz
  • Sarah E. Martiny
  • Nathan C. Hall
Original Paper


The present research investigated a common yet to date unexamined assumption that individuals are unlikely to savor success when they have not yet fully completed a task. In Study 1 (N = 83), we assessed savoring responses of soccer players who were either winning or were tied at the end of the first half (in progress) and at the end of the match (completed). In Study 2 (N = 121 undergraduates), performance feedback (successful vs. average) and task completion (in progress vs. completed) were manipulated and savoring was assessed. In both studies, successful individuals reported savoring their positive experience less when the task was in progress as compared to completed. Results of a third study (N = 152 undergraduates) showed that lower savoring of success was due to individuals’ focus on and worries about future performance as well as the perception that positive emotions have limited utility. We discuss these findings in terms of the consequences for performance and well-being.


Savoring Success Positive emotions Intermediate outcomes 



We thank Rebecca Jung and Shraddha Kulkarni for their assistance with data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in these studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Schall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Goetz
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sarah E. Martiny
    • 4
  • Nathan C. Hall
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BambergBambergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Empirical Educational ResearchUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  3. 3.Thurgau University of Teacher EducationKreuzlingenSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  5. 5.Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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