Evidence for the effectiveness of holistic process goals for learning and performance under pressure

Richard Mullen*, Andrea Faull, Eleri Sian Jones, Kieran Kingston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Research has suggested that holistic process goals might help avoid the effects associated with conscious processing of task relevant information by skilled but anxious athletes. This experiment compared the efficacy of holistic and part process goal strategies for novices using a learning paradigm.

Design: Laboratory-based experimental design incorporating practice, retention and transfer phases.

Method: Twenty-four males were randomly assigned to a part process goal, holistic process goal or control condition and performed a simulated race-driving task in practice, retention and transfer tests.

Results: Analyses of variance revealed that performance during practice was similar in all conditions but that the holistic process goal group outperformed the part process goal group at both retention and transfer.

Conclusions: Compared to part process goals, holistic process goals result in more effective motor learning and performance that appears to be more robust under pressure. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date25 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Goal setting
  • Attention
  • Learning
  • Competitive anxiety


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