Abstract

A goal-setting approach was used to examine the ways in which different goals influence the performance of 69 brain-damaged (BD) patients in an arithmetic task. Patients were equally assigned to two conditions: one in which a specific, high goal was set, and one with a “do your best” goal. Statistical analyses indicated that patients with a specific, high goal performed significantly better than patients with a “do your best” goal. No clinical or neuropsychological variables (e.g., time since onset of illness and memory function) were found to have a moderating influence on the effect of goal setting. These results indicate that even BD patients with cognitive and executive dysfunctions can efficiently self-regulate their behavior after the assignment of a high, specific goal in an easy laboratory task.