The competence motivation

To know what an individual’s conception of error is, we need to understand what is meant by competence motivation. It is an internal desire directed toward acquiring and exercising skills, whereby a child strives to develop basic motor patterns in order to respond adaptively to the demands of the environment. For an athlete, athletic learnings become a conscious way of evaluating oneself and one’s personal growth. Therefore, the concept of Self is shaped by these evaluations and those that relate to the other significant areas of learning in a young person’s life.

Based on these experiences, “motivation to succeed is fueled by assessment related to skill acquisition (learning goals) and skill validation (performance goals)” (Dweck and Molden, 2005, p.122). From an application point of view, it becomes necessary to understand the extent to which people use these two approaches and whether they give more importance to one over the other.

This way of reasoning depends on the conception one develops regarding one’s personal qualities. Does the individual consider them to be fixed or modifiable? For example, is intelligence a fixed trait? (“I either have it or I don’t.”) Or is it instead modifiable through learning? (“No matter the starting level, it can be modified through training.”). If one agrees with the first statement one uses the conception of the fixity of this quality, while if one agrees with the second statement one believes that skills can be improved through personal effort. The effects of this different approach are particularly evident in four areas: goals, commitment beliefs, explanation of difficulty, and effects on strategies (Dweck and Molden, 2005).

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