Two studies examining the negative effect of self-efficacy on performance

J Appl Psychol. 2002 Jun;87(3):506-16. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.87.3.506.


Although hundreds of studies have found a positive relationship between self-efficacy and performance, several studies have found a negative relationship when the analysis is done across time (repeated measures) rather than across individuals. W. T. Powers (1991) predicted this negative relationship based on perceptual control theory. Here, 2 studies are presented to (a) confirm the causal role of self-efficacy and (b) substantiate the explanation. In Study 1, self-efficacy was manipulated for 43 of 87 undergraduates on an analytic game. The manipulation was negatively related to performance on the next trial. In Study 2, 104 undergraduates played the analytic game and reported self-efficacy between each game and confidence in the degree to which they had assessed previous feedback. As expected, self-efficacy led to overconfidence and hence increased the likelihood of committing logic errors during the game.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Motivation*
  • Random Allocation
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Workplace / psychology*