Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Roger Buehler

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This research examined how people's thoughts about their future task performance influence their current motivational state. It was hypothesized that the effects of imagining a successful future performance would depend upon the visual perspective adopted. People were expected to feel more motivated when they imagined a highly successful performance from a third-person perspective rather than a first-person perspective. In two experiments, participants identified an important academic task that they would be completing in the near future and were asked to imagine it unfolding either very successfully (positive valence) or less successfully (negative or neutral valence). To manipulate visual perspective, participants were instructed to visualize the task as if it was actually occurring (first-person perspective) or as if they were an observer to the situation (third-person perspective). Participants then rated their motivation to succeed at the task, the perceived importance of the task, and completed several subsidiary measures. Both studies yielded an interaction pattern that was generally consistent with the hypothesis. In the positive valence condition, participants reported greater task motivation when they envisaged successful task performance from a third-person perspective rather than a first-person perspective. In the negative valence condition (Study 1) and neutral valence condition (Study 2), this effect of perspective was not obtained. These findings suggest that people's motivation to pursue a task may be influenced jointly by the type of future performance that they imagine and the perspective they adopt.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons