Motivation when optimism declines: Data on temporal dynamics

Frank W. Wicker, Jeannine E. Turner, Joylynn H. Reed, Erin J. McCann, Seung Lee Do

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


To contribute to a description of motivation variables across time, the authors examined temporal changes in these variables as the time to pursue a test-taking goal approached. In three samples, expected performance, grade-level standards, and perceived adequacy of effort decreased as the test time approached, but other indices of motivation did not always decrease. Data indicated that (a) there is a strong relationship between expectancies and implicit goal setting, (b) students may sometimes change goal levels and definitions of success to maintain their desire for chosen goals despite declining expectations, (c) effects of event proximity on goal-achievement expectations may be based on overestimating the adequacy of future effort, and (d) the degree to which expectancy and value predict motivation appears to vary with exam proximity. Results revealed a temporal complexity in motivation variables and in the relationships among them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-432
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Expectation
  • Motivation
  • Optimism
  • Value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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