Effects of prior success and failure on expectations of success and subsequent performance

N. T. Feather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ss worked at a task consisting of 15 anagrams. 1/2 of the Ss failed (initial failure) and 1/2 succeeded (initial success) at the 1st 5 anagrams. 1/2 were told the anagrams were easier than most (high expectation) and 1/2 that they were more difficult than most (low expectation). All Ss rated their chances of success before attempting each anagram. The last 10 anagrams were of 50% difficulty. Measures of n Achievement and Test Anxiety were available. Results showed that mean performance on the last 10 anagrams was significantly (p < .01) lower after initial failure than after initial success. Probability estimates reflected the pattern of success and failure and shifted more after failure than after success. Success-oriented Ss made more "typical" changes in probability estimates in the success condition; failure-oriented Ss made more of these typical changes in the failure condition. Performance scores correlated positively with initial probability estimates in the high expectation-initial success group. Results were discussed in terms of the theory of achievement motivation and the transfer effects of prior experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1966
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • EXPECTANCY, PRIOR SUCCESS &
  • EXPECTATION &
  • EXPECTATION OF SUCCESS
  • FAILURE &
  • FAILURE, OF SUCCESS &
  • PERFORMANCE
  • PERFORMANCE TEST, PRIOR SUCCESS &
  • SUCCESS, PRIOR, &

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