Nelson, L. R., & Furst, M. L. (1972). An objective study of the effects of expectation on competitive performance. Journal of Psychology, 81, 69-72.

In arm-wrestling with 12 pairs both Ss believed the stronger S to be actually weaker. In 10 of the 12 contests, the weaker S won, that is, an expectation factor influenced performance more than real physical strength. However, when the roles for expectations were reversed, all of the stronger Ss who believed they were stronger, won.

This study contained some experimental confounding and so its results only suggest that how one expects to perform has a strong influence on the eventual performance quality.

Implication. What an athlete expects of him/herself and a competitor, has a strong influence on a performance outcome. Expectations for how well one will perform is one part of the complex of factors underlying self-efficacy and its influence on actual performance.

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