Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Psychometrics and statistics

Focus on your strengths? The role of perceived relative strengths versus weakness in learning effort

Organizational Psychology, Psychometrics and Statistics

Success in today's life greatly depends on our competence - that is, the extent to which we master certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Therefore, strategies that may enhance individuals’ learning are of great value. In this project we examined a self-regulatory strategy that may bolster individuals’ motivation to learn: focusing on strengths. Focusing on strengths entails that individuals identify their relative strengths and weaknesses and subsequently engage in learning activities that fit their strengths rather than their weaknesses. In the past decade, the notion of focusing on strengths has gained substantial resonance among practitioners in the fields of education and human resource development. However, research backing this practice is scarce. Although a vast amount of research has examined the role of self-perceived competence in motivation, not much research has specifically looked into the role of perceived strengths in motivation to learn. We do not know whether individuals who have the choice of working on multiple topics or skills are willing to put more effort into their learning when they work on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. In this project, we addressed this issue by examining the role of perceived relative strengths versus weaknesses in learning effort.

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology
Partners outside of the University of Groningen
  • Dr. Djoerd Hiemstra, NHL, Leeuwarden


  • Hiemstra, D. & Van Yperen, N.W. (2015). The effects of strength-based versus deficit-based self-regulated learning strategies on students' effort intentions. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 656-668.

University's focus areas

  • Healthy Ageing
  • Sustainable Society
Last modified:10 January 2022 5.21 p.m.
printView this page in: Nederlands