When positive and negative expectancies disrupt performance: regulatory focus as a catalyst
Article first published online: 2 JUL 2007
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 187–212, March/April 2008
How to Cite
Keller, J. and Bless, H. (2008), When positive and negative expectancies disrupt performance: regulatory focus as a catalyst. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 38: 187–212. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.452
- Issue published online: 26 FEB 2008
- Article first published online: 2 JUL 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 MAY 2007
- Manuscript Received: 4 DEC 2006
- German Research Foundation. Grant Numbers: BL289/11-1, KE913/1-1
The present research investigates the impact of negative and positive stereotypic expectancies on cognitive test performance. A theoretical framework that relates expectancy effects to self-regulatory processes as postulated by Regulatory Focus Theory (RFT) is presented. Building on the differential sensitivity hypothesis proposed in this theoretical model, we argue that when self-regulation in a prevention focus is activated individuals are particularly sensitive with regard to negative cues and therefore negative expectancies are likely to result in poor test performance due to an apprehension about meeting minimal goal standards. Conversely, when self-regulation is guided by a promotion focus individuals are particularly sensitive with regard to positive cues and hence likely to show impaired performance when confronted with positive expectancies due to an apprehension about meeting maximal goal standards. The results of four experiments, relying on both situational and chronic regulatory focus, support these assumptions. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.