Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Durik, Amanda M.

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


The perception of utility in tasks has been shown to facilitate performance and interest. This study (N = 160) is an extension of work by Hulleman and colleagues and is a 2 (success expectancy: high, low) x 2 (utility level: No Utility, Utility) x 2 (goal level: no goal, difficult goal), between-subjects design. Previous findings have shown that individuals with low success expectancies benefit from a utility manipulation, but high success expectancy individuals do not. The current study aimed to facilitate performance and interest, particularly in high expectancy participants. Participants learned a new math technique. After the practice session, participants were prompted to think about the task's utility or not, and were assigned a goal for the final problem sets or not. The researchers hypothesized that there would be a 3-way interaction on performance and interest. Neither hypothesis was supported. However, participants with high versus low success-expectancy performed better, and those in the utility condition found the task more interesting. Implications and future research directions are also discussed.


34 pages




Northern Illinois University

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