The Psychological Effects of Feedback

October 18, 2019
The Psychological Effects of Feedback

Whether we receive feedback from our boss regarding our work, from a trusted reader about the quality of our online article or by our coach concerning our performance, the feedback we usually get will profoundly influence our ability to succeed. Once people understand the feedback about the outcomes of their behaviour, their instant response to information that they are receiving will be affected by their desire to maintain a good self-image.

So, is there a big difference between getting positive or negative feedback? We will discuss it more in the text below.

Feedback can affect the mood

The feedback some people receive can have emotional consequences; it can make them feel either bad or good. These psychological consequences are an essential outcome that we collect from the feedback; they empower the behavioural change in response to that feedback.

If we eliminate the feelings that we get from it or if we even alter the meaning of those feelings; that action will significantly have an impact on that specific feedback.

Positive response

When a person accepts positive feedback, there is no new decision to make. If the employee has high self-efficiency, the feedback will be more effective. Supposing that the message of the feedback was received and accepted from the source, a person with higher self-efficiency will be able to translate this into valuable action better. If a person has the low self-efficiency (For example trusting his ability to perform a task), then he will instead choose not to adapt to the requested goal because of the lack of motivation to complete it and therefore he won’t put more effort into it.

When the receiver’s self-efficiency is high, then there will be more chance of a positive behavioural response. Additionally, people that are more confident will always find more creative ways to reach their goals and to show their commitment to reaching those goals. This action is what makes people with more self-effectiveness one of the main predictors of their performance.  

Negative Response

Assuming that negative feedback is accepted, the person has to make next decision; either he will put more effort to minimize the mistakes, or he will choose not to adept the self-set goal to the one set by the feedback. Therefore, self-efficiency is playing a crucial role in this action.

Negative feedback is mostly based on false perceptions, and it can bring mistakes in the workplace as a result. A person that is providing negative feedback might not have all the evidence, and because of that could end up providing the inaccurate assumptions. This action could potentially lead to poor business decisions. If a person that receives the negative feedback tries to adjust to the work he is doing; the attempt to fix an issue can end up actually in creating a more significant problem depending on their self-efficiency level.


When everything above is taken into consideration, we can say that positive feedback will increase people’s confidence, and they will believe even more into pursuing their goals, which will eventually lead people to expect successful goal attainment realization. While on the other hand, negative feedback will weaken the people’s self-confidence and their ability to pursue their goals alongside with their expectations of success.

Also, another essential part to remember is:

  • When we succeed in performing in the way that moves us closer to our goal, we should commend ourselves for our commitment to the goal that we have created, but not on our progress towards that goal.
  • When we fail to act in a way that moves us closer to our goal, we should criticize ourselves for not putting enough effort into our work, but not for the lack of commitment.
  • When we try to complete the goal that we have never attempted before, one in which we have little to no experience or skill to finish it, we should commend ourselves on our devotion by focusing on the fact that we have continued towards completing the goal even though we made mistakes.
  • When we try to finish the task that we have finished before, one at which we have experienced, we should pay great attention at our failures and mistakes if we wish to continually improve our ability in completing the same goal better in the future.
  • The essential thing is to apply these same principles when we are offering feedback to others, mainly if it’s meant for children.



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