Boasts are a boost: Achievement prime self-reactivity predicts subsequent academic performance

Richard H. Gramzow, Camille S. Johnson, Greg Willard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The present research tests the hypothesis that self-reactivity following an achievement prime reflects the strength of achievement goals and is a predictor of future goal-relevant performance. In Studies 1-3, undergraduates reported their grade-point averages (GPAs) following either an achievement goal prime or a control prime. Academic exaggeration (higher self-reported than official GPA) was the indicator of self-reactivity to the prime. Study 1 involved a direct achievement goal prime, whereas Studies 2 and 3 involved indirect priming techniques. In all 3 experiments, greater academic exaggeration following the achievement goal prime (but not the control prime) predicted better academic performance a semester later (based on official records). Study 4 demonstrated that the magnitude of students' GPA goals mediated the association between academic exaggeration and subsequent performance (1 year later). The fact that self-reactivity to a single achievement goal prime in the lab predicted later performance in "real life" suggests that individual differences in reactivity to a specific prime can signal much broader motivational orientations related to the primed goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-468
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Achievement
  • Goals
  • Implicit cognition
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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