THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GROUP EXPERIMENTAL LEVEL OF ASPIRATION MEASURES AND SELF-ESTIMATES OF PERSONALITY1
ETS Research Bulletin Series
This research was concerned with the relationship between the indi-vidual^ level of aspiration in regard to performance on cognitive tasks, and his reported self-percept ions and desires with respect to various traits in his personality. Two group-administrable lerel of aspiration tasks were used, one involving three trials on a general ability test, the other, eight Vrx<.ls on a code-learning task. Subjects computed their scores after each trial, and then stated what score they would try to
... hey would try to make on the following trial. The difference between each performance and the following aspiration, averaged over all trials, was the principal level of aspiration measure used. A total of ikh male and 99 female college students took one or both level of aspiration tasks, as well as a Check List in which the individual is asked to describe himself as he is, and as he would like to be, on each of 8l heterogeneous personality and ability traits. A number of scores reflecting various self-evaluative tendencies were obtained from the Check List responses. Results indicated that the height of the individual's level of aspir- ation on the cognitive tasks was not related to his over-all self-criticalness, or dissatisfaction with self. However, high aspiration level tended to be associated somewhat with a relatively favorable self»appraisal on a cluster of ability traits, and with the desire to attain a more favorable statuB even when present status is reported as already being very high. Individuals showing the two characteristics Just mentioned tended not only to set high aspirations on the cognitive tasks, but also to adjust their aspirations from trial to trial with little regard to preceding upward or downward shifts in performance. The results suggest that several of the measures under study may reflect the intensity of the individual's desire to approximate the ideal self even when the present self-image is highly favorable.