Efficacy expectations or response predictions: The meaning of efficacy ratings as a function of task characteristics

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50 Snake-fearful (Fear Survey Schedule) undergraduates completed efficacy questionnaires corresponding to a Behavioral Approach Test (BAT) and an unrelated skill task. Ss were asked to indicate expected anxiety ratings for each of the BAT tasks and whether they would be able to accomplish the most difficult task on each questionnaire if various levels of incentive were available. Most Ss indicated willingness to attempt the most difficult skill but not the BAT task unless sufficient incentives were available. The level of incentive required to produce altered efficacy ratings was significantly related to level of anticipated anxiety. Results support the hypothesis that phobic Ss have high efficacy expectations for approach tasks, and that efficacy questionnaires for these tasks reveal their willingness to perform behaviors for which they expect anxiety and other forms of negatively valued reinforcement. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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