“Of course I will ...”: The combined effect of certainty and level of expectancies on persistence and performance


The importance of performance expectancies for the prediction of regulation of behavior and actual performance has long been established. Building on theories from the field of social cognition, we suggest that the level of performance expectancies, as well as the certainty of the expectancy, have a joint influence on an individual’s beliefs and behavior. In two studies (one cross sectional using a sample of secondary school students and one longitudinal using a sample of university students) we found that expectancies more strongly predicted persistence, and subsequent performance, the more certain the expectancy was. This pattern was found even if prior performance was controlled, as in Study 2. The data give an indication that it may be useful to include certainty as an additional variable in expectancy models.

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Correspondence to Oliver Dickhäuser.

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Dickhäuser, O., Reinhard, MA. & Englert, C. “Of course I will ...”: The combined effect of certainty and level of expectancies on persistence and performance. Soc Psychol Educ 14, 519–528 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-011-9159-x

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  • Performance expectancies
  • Certainty
  • Performance