Numerous studies have demonstrated that perfectionistic strivings are associated with higher performance. Few studies, however, have investigated how perfectionistic strivings lead to higher performance. The present study investigated whether invested time (time on task) can explain the relationship between perfectionistic strivings and task performance. A sample of 100 university students performed a simple letter-detection task. Afterwards they rated their subjective effort regarding speed and accuracy. Results showed that (a) perfectionistic strivings showed positive correlations with time on task and with task performance and (b) that time on task fully mediated the relationship between perfectionistic strivings and task performance. Regarding subjective effort, students high in perfectionistic strivings indicated that they put more effort in accuracy than in speed compared to students low in perfectionistic strivings. The findings indicate that invested time may explain how perfectionistic strivings lead to higher performance in simple self-paced tasks. Moreover, they indicate that, for people high in perfectionistic strivings, accuracy of task performance is more important than speed
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