Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 104–118 | Cite as

What if I can’t? Success expectancies moderate the effects of utility value information on situational interest and performance

  • Amanda M. Durik
  • Olga G. Shechter
  • Michael Noh
  • Christopher S. Rozek
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz
Original Paper


Two studies tested how the effects of a utility value manipulation on interest and performance were moderated by expectations for success. College students learned a new technique for mentally solving multiplication problems with instructions containing task utility information or not. In Study 1 (N = 62), the effect of the utility value information was positive for individuals with high success expectancies, but negative for individuals with low success expectancies. Study 2 (N = 148) examined the causal role of success expectancies by manipulating whether participants received an expectancy boost before receiving the utility manipulation. The results showed further support for the importance of success expectancies in moderating the effect of directly-communicated utility value. The results are discussed in relation to other research on utility value, interest, and expectancy–value models of achievement behavior.


Interest Utility value Task value Success expectancies Perceived competence 



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Award # R305B090009. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the U.S. Department of Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda M. Durik
    • 1
  • Olga G. Shechter
    • 2
  • Michael Noh
    • 2
  • Christopher S. Rozek
    • 2
  • Judith M. Harackiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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