In 3 experiments with 96 17-59 yr old undergraduates, it was observed that (a) failure in 1 task disrupts subsequent performance on both a similar and a dissimilar task; (b) if initial failure occurs on a complex task, then subsequent performance is not disrupted as in the case where initial failure occurs on a simple task; and (c) initial success on a task mitigates the disruptive effects of failure. Moreover, the initial immunization treatment need not be on the same task as the failure or subsequent test treatments. Results are interpreted in terms of a helplessness notion and the role of expectation-outcome incongruency. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

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Keywords previous failure, subsequent performance, college students, support for helplessness notion or expectation-outcome incongruency
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Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Douglas, D. (Darleen), & Anisman, H. (1975). Helplessness or expectation incongruency: Effects of aversive stimulation on subsequent performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1(4), 411–417. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.1.4.411