Dalton, J. E., Maier, R. A., & Posavac, E. J. (1977). A self-fulfilling prophecy in a competitive psychomotor task. Journal of Research in Personality, 11, 487-495.

Individuals who believed that the probability of success in performing a task was low, performed at a significantly lower level than those who perceived they had an advantage (an increased probability of success).

This gave rise to the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether or not failure was likely, those who believed they would fail facilitated that outcome, even though success could have been achieved.

Implication. In the days leading up to an important contest, thoughts should be controlled and structured. Activities such as role-playing successful aspects of performance, publicly justifying why one will do well, and positive performance enhancement imagery should be considered in precompetition strategies.

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