Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alisa G. Brink


While prior studies have examined the impact of relative performance information (RPI) in competitive tournament settings with simple, repetitive tasks that are sensitive to increases in raw effort (i.e., mundane tasks), no study has examined the effect of RPI in tournaments where competitors must generate output that is both novel and appropriate (i.e., creative tasks). In this study I examine whether the provision of RPI impacts effort and performance in a competitive tournament setting differently depending on the tournament’s task type (i.e., mundane vs. creative). As prior studies have found that high and low performers disproportionally influence the success of a tournament incentive, this paper centers on how high and low performers respond to RPI on a creative task relative to a mundane task in a competitive tournament setting. Specifically, whether the rate at which high performers become complacent and low performers give up (i.e., cease putting forth costly effort towards task completion) after viewing RPI is moderated by a tournament’s task type. Based on theory from social and cognitive psychology, I predict that both high and low performers are likely to engage in more social comparisons and competition after viewing RPI on a creative task since one’s ability on a creative task is perceived to be of greater importance than one’s ability on a mundane task. As such, both high performers and low performers are likely to exert more effort after viewing RPI on a creative task than on a mundane task. However, creative tasks are less effort sensitive than mundane tasks, so this increase in effort is less likely to translate into greater creative task performance. Further, given creativity is more cognitively demanding than mundane tasks, the increased concern brought on by social comparisons after viewing RPI for creative tasks may deplete the cognitive resources necessary for producing output that is of high creative quality and thus I predict creative task performance will be worse when RPI is present relative to when it’s absent.


© Joseph M Sarji

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Date of Submission


Available for download on Tuesday, May 11, 2027

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