In another experiment we raised the stakes in a different way: We approached about 300 U.S. telemarketers and gave them a challenging test about customer service, a topic directly relevant to their jobs. But, again, our results were similar. The telemarketers who received success feedback on the questions they answered right demonstrated learning, while those who got failure feedback on the questions they answered wrong didn’t. Sure, performing poorly on a customer service test might have made those participants feel a little rotten, but the failure wasn’t so big that they felt compelled to attend to it. They preferred to protect their egos.
Original source: Maybe Failure Isn’t the Best Teacher