Can True Mastery Orientation Be Elicited? An Exploration and Manipulation of Learning Orientation in Students


This paper examines the effectiveness of text manipulations for both the increase and reduction of different learning orientations in a group of 34 participants. Two learning orientations were addressed in this study, mastery and ego learning orientations. Mastery learning orientation is characterized by an individual engaging in learning to increase performance and understanding relative to a specific task, regardless of interaction with peers and the environment. Ego learning orientation is characterized by an individual engaging in learning in order to show competence to their peers, or to avoid performing poorly on a task in the presence of their peers. The Patterns of Adaptive Learning Styles (PALS) survey was used to determine the relative learning orientation of participants before and after the completion of an operational span task. Participants were given text instructions utilizing key words from past studies that aimed to increase either mastery or learning orientation prior to the completion of the operational span task. The results indicated that there were no significant changes in learning orientation between pre and post PALS survey assessment, as well as no significant differences in performance on the operational span task between either learning orientation experimental groups.


John Hutson




Learning orientation, Mastery orientation, Ego orientation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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