Which Is More Effective at Improving Performance, Positive or Negative Feedback?

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The aim of this investigation is to discover which form of feedback, either positive or negative, is most effective in serving to improve performance. Based on my own experience and anecdotal evidence, my initial opinion is that positive feedback is more effective at improving performance than negative.


Feedback is essential in order to reassure performers that what they are doing is correct so it will be repeated, or telling them what they are doing wrong so they can improve. There are several types of feedback that can be used, the most appropriate methods to be used vary between individuals and sports. The different types are;

Positive & Negative
Intrinsic & Extrinsic
Terminal & Concurrent
Knowledge of results & knowledge of performance

This is essential for learning as we need to know what is correct in order to repeat it. If positive feedback is not given, performers are likely to change their technique until told it is correct. Positive feedback is also motivational, which is essential at early stages as beginners may be less enthusiastic and can become de-motivated when struggling.

This form of feedback must be used cautiously, as too much can prove de-motivating and lead to a decline in performance, as well as commenting on what areas of technique are incorrect, it should also include some guidance as to how best to improve on this. It is most effective with more expert performers as it will allow them to fine-tune any slight errors in technique that may be holding them back, without the danger of them becoming disheartened as many beginners may.

Both positive and negative can take many forms, they may be intrinsic or extrinsic, terminal or concurrent and my be based on knowledge of results or knowledge of performance.

Intrinsic & Extrinsic
This type of feedback comes from the performer and is triggered by kinaesthetic awareness and the body's responses to this, for example when a badminton player...
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