A study of feedback aversion

Last registered on June 11, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

A study of feedback aversion
Initial registration date
June 10, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 11, 2020, 8:54 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project examines individuals' preferences for receiving feedback on their performance on a male-typed aptitude test. We will explore how preferences for feedback depend on beliefs of absolute and relative performance, degree of uncertainty about own performance, level of difficulty of the task, and gender. We will also elicit unincentivized data on how individuals interpret and generalize both positive and negative feedback.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Coffman, Katherine B. and David Klinowski. 2020. "A study of feedback aversion." AEA RCT Registry. June 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5990
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Main outcome measures: incentivized measure of preference for receiving information on absolute and relative performance on the test, derived from three questions (negative real effort price for information, no price, positive real effort price for information); and, unincentivized stated preference for receiving information about performance. Secondary outcome measures: performance on the test, believed absolute and relative performance on the test, degree of uncertainty about performance, unincentivized self-reported interpretation and generalizability of hypothetical feedback.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This is an online study conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk (expected 1-day study). Participants first complete an aptitude test. They then report their incentivized beliefs about their own absolute and relative performance on the test. They also report their degree of uncertainty about these beliefs. Then, participants are asked how interested they are in receiving feedback about their own absolute and relative performance (unincentivized slider scale). Then, they answer 3 incentivized questions that elicit their preferences for feedback using prices in terms of a real-effort task. We then collect demographic information and data on how participants would hypothetically perceive, interpret, and generalize feedback.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
We randomize the difficulty of the test (either relatively easy or hard). Randomization done by the computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual participant.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 individuals in the easy condition, 500 individuals in the hard condition.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard Business School
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials