Confidence [with Biographical Introduction]

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One vital difference in the underlying ideas, no matter what nomenclature psychologists use, is whether the positive feeling about the self is linked to abilities or simply to a sense that at heart you are a worthwhile person. Self-efficacy Self-efficacy is the term that psychologists use to describe the belief a person has that they can reach their goals. Unlike self-esteem which is more of a global judgement on the self and its worth, self-efficacy specifically isolates the way an individual assesses their competence in relation to achievements, goals and life events.

Self-efficacy expert, Albert Bandura from Stanford University argues that 'ordinary realities are strewn with impediments, adversities, setbacks, frustrations and inequities. However, Bandura and others argue that schools have a huge part to play in developing young people's feelings of self-efficacy. Optimism In everyday life we usually use the word optimism to mean feeling positive about life. Often we refer to someone who is optimistic as seeing 'the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty'. In psychology, there are two main ways to define optimism. Scheier and Carver, the authors of the popular optimism measure - the Life Orientation Test - for example, define optimism as 'the global generalized tendency to believe that one will generally experience good versus bad outcomes in life.

The other main way to define optimism is to use the concept of 'explanatory style'. He argues that each of us has our own 'explanatory style', a way of thinking about the causes of things that happen in our lives. Optimists are those who see adversities as temporary and restricted to one domain of life while pessimists often see problems as permanent and pervasive. In another section, we look at optimism in depth. Here all that matters is realising that no matter how optimism is defined it is an important ingredient in confidence.

The Confidence Formula At the Centre we are use the following formula for confidence: We believe that as confidence increases there will generally be a rise in self-esteem. However, for reasons we shall explore more fully in the next section, we do not think it useful to pursue increases in self-esteem more directly as this can interfere with well-being. Carol Craig, Centre for Confidence and Well-being, Centre for Confidence and Well-being Skip to content. Confidence is a word which we frequently use in everyday language yet rarely do we stop and think what it means.

Confidence influences the willingness to invest - to commit money, time, reputation, emotional energy, or other resources - or to withhold or hedge investment. This investment, or its absence, shapes the ability to perfrom. In that sense, confidence lies at the heart of civilization. Everything about an economy, a society, an organization, or a team depend on it.

These techniques have included modeling and social comparison. Results indicated that the higher the induced self-confidence, the greater the muscular endurance. Modeling provides confidence information, according to Bandura , through a comparative process between the model and the observer. Bandura reasoned that observers would have a stronger basis on which to increase their own self-confidence if they could see a number of people of widely differing characteristics succeeding at a task.

People may also try to persuade themselves that they have the ability to perform a given task through imagery and causal attributions for previous performances. Verbal persuasion by itself is of limited influence, and for treating phobias in clinical psychology it is often used in combination with other techniques, such as hypnosis, relaxation, or performance deception.

However, in athletic, educational, and work situations, for which the fear component is unlikely to be as paralyzing as in chronic phobias, persuasive techniques by themselves may improve performance more successfully than in phobic behavior; but there has been little research on this possibility. The few studies that have been conducted in motor performance report mixed results Feltz and Riessinger, ; Fitzsimmons et al. Weinberg found no effects on endurance performance with the use of dissociation and positive self-talk strategies, and Yan Lan and Gill found that providing subjects with bogus feedback and the suggestion that elevated arousal levels were indicative of good performance did not induce higher self-confidence.

In contrast, Wilkes and Summers found persuasive techniques that tried to enhance confidence and emotional arousal influenced strength performance, but confidence-related cognitions did not seem to mediate the effect. In addition, Feltz and Riessinger found significant effects on endurance performance using mastery imagery, with corresponding effects on self-confidence. One explanation for the equivocal findings in these studies may be the differences in the degree of persuasive influence of their techniques and the extent of their subjects' personal experience on the task.

In the Weinberg study, subjects were not told that the cognitive strategy they were to use would enhance their performance. There was no attempt at persuasion. In comparison, Wilkes and Summers instructed their subjects to persuade themselves that they were confident or to persuade themselves that they were "charged up.

The degree of persuasive influence also depends on the believability of the persuasive information. Yan Lan and Gill tried to lead subjects to believe that they had the same heightened pattern of physiological arousal as good competitors. However, there was no manipulation check that the subjects believed the persuasion.

The lack of persuasive effects in some of the research may also have been due to confounding with actual performance. All of the studies used multiple performance trials; thus, subjects may have formed perceptions on the basis of their performance experience that overshadowed much of the influence that the treatment variable had on self-confidence.

This explanation is supported by research showing that the significant effects for endurance performance and self-confidence were short-lived after subjects experienced performance failure Feltz and Riessinger, A slightly different line of research in organizational behavior has shown consistent effects for instructors' expectancies on trainees' self-confidence and performance Eden, ; Eden and Ravid, ; Eden and Shani, These studies induced military instructors to expect higher performance from some trainees than others. Not all of these studies measured self-confidence or self-expectancy, as used in the studies , but those that did showed that high expectancy trainees had higher levels of self-confidence and performance than low expectancy trainees.

Performance Feedback Evaluation feedback about ongoing performances has also been used as a persuasive technique Bandura, Instructors, managers, and coaches often try to boost perceived trainees' self-confidence by providing encouraging feedback. Positive feedback about ongoing performance has been shown to instill higher perceptions of confidence than no feedback at all Vallerand, Also, feedback on causal attribution that credits progress to underlying ability or effort has been shown to raise perceived confidence more than no feedback or feedback that implies lesser ability Schunk, a.

However, inappropriately high amounts of positive. For instance, Horn found that the frequent use of positive reinforcement by coaches for less-skilled players resulted in lower perceived competence in those athletes, while the use of higher amounts of mistake-contingent criticism for highly-skilled players led to higher levels of perceived competence. Horn reasoned that the liberal use of praise given to low-skilled players was not performance-contingent and thus communicated to them that their coach held lower expectations for them. In addition to its use as a persuasive technique, evaluative feedback can also add to enactive confidence information regarding ongoing performance as it conveys signs of progress.

In order to be informative and motivative, feedback must be provided in reaction to defined performance standards or goals Bandura, Otherwise, there is no basis on which to form internal comparisons to be able to evaluate ongoing performance. A wealth of research has shown that both feedback and goal setting are needed to enhance performance Bandura and Cervone, ; Erez, ; Feltz and Riessinger, ; Locke and Latham, ; Strang et al. Even in the face of substandard performance, Bandura suggests that subjects' motivation and self-confidence may not be undermined if the discrepancy is only moderate and they are given knowledge of that discrepancy.

Causal Attributions Studies that have examined the influence of causal attributions on self-confidence beliefs have either assessed the attributions that individuals have made for previous performances in relation to the confidence expectations for future performances McAuley, , or have manipulated attributional feedback concerning previous performance to examine the effect on subsequent confidence expectations Schunk, a, a; Schunk and Cox, ; Schunk and Gunn, Much of this research, conducted on educational learning has generally shown that attributions made or induced for previous performance that are internal and subject to personal control e.

Therefore, helping individuals attribute good performance to ability, skill improvement, or hard work and their bad performances to lack of effort, lack of sufficient practice time, or use of an inappropriate strategy can be expected to improve their self-confidence beliefs and motivation for continued performance. Physiological Confidence Information The few studies that have investigated the influence of physiological or emotional states on self-confidence are equivocal Feltz, , a; Feltz and Mugno, ; Juneau et al.

For diving tasks, Feltz a found that perceived autonomic arousal, rather than actual physiological arousal, significantly predicted confidence judgments. For strength tasks, however, Kavanagh and Hausfeld found that induced moods happiness or sadness , as measured by self-reports, did not alter confidence expectations in any consistent manner. Bandura has argued that it is people's perceived coping confidence that is more indicative of capability than their perception of their physiological arousal condition. If people believe that they cannot cope with a potential threat, they experience disruptive arousal, which may further lower their confidence judgments that they can perform successfully.

Evidence for this argument comes from research that has shown that it is not the frightful cognitions themselves that account for anxiety symptoms, but the perceived self-confidence to control them Kent, ; Kent and Gibbons, A number of instructional practices are important contextual influences on self-confidence that do not necessarily fit into any of the four principal sources of confidence information Schunk, b. In addition to evaluative and attributional feedback, these practices include goal setting and reward contingencies. Schunk has suggested that these contextual influences convey confidence information to learners by making salient certain cues that learners use to appraise their self-confidence.

The research on goal setting and self-confidence has generally shown that setting goals for oneself and attaining them, especially specific, difficult, and proximal goals, enhance perceptions of self-confidence Bandura and Schunk, ; Locke et al. Specific goals raise confidence expectations to a greater extent than more abstract goals because they provide more explicit information with which to gauge one's progress.

Difficult goals raise confidence expectations more than do easy goals because they, too, offer more information about one's capability to achieve. Although the research supports the setting of difficult goals, experts recommend that they be realistic Locke and Latham, Garland , however, has questioned the basis of the goal attainability assumption in setting difficult goals.

Laboratory experiments on goal-setting have found positive relationships between goal difficulty and performance even when the goals assigned to individuals were difficult and beyond their reach Weinberg, One factor that may resolve the differences between experts' recommendations and laboratory evidence is task type. The type of task used in goal-setting studies has been observed to mediate this positive relationship between goal difficulty and performance Tubbs, ; Wood et al.

Kanfer and Ackerman have provided a theoretical explanation for. In learning complex tasks, such as air-traffic control operations, the benefits of goal-setting are difficult to realize because of the already high attentional demands of the task Kanfer and Ackerman, In simple tasks, such as performing sit-ups, attentional demands are minimal, which leaves plenty of room available for engaging in the self-regulatory activity of goal-setting. One problem in being assigned specific and difficult goals versus selecting one's own goals is that it may create a performance goal orientation that focuses one's attention on proving one's ability Kanfer, a: Research is needed to determine whether assigning specific and difficult goals creates a performance goal orientation and whether assigning less specific goals might offset some of the negative motivational effects of assigning difficult goals, including a decreased sense of self-confidence.

In addition to specific and difficult goals, immediate goals are also easier to gauge in terms of progress than are distant goals. They make a task appear more manageable, provide an indication of progress, and affect self-evaluative reactions to performance Stock and Cervone, A few studies have found no difference between immediate and distant goals e.

However, research on long-term goal-setting programs to improve the study skills and grades of college students suggests that relatively long-term plans and goals are most beneficial because they allow flexible choice among daily activities Kirschenbaum, ; Kirschenbaum et al. One way to reconcile these divergent findings is to view them in terms of stages of skill acquisition.

For instance, it may be argued that short-term goals facilitate performance and perceived competence in the early stages of skill acquisition, but as competence develops over time, moderately long-term goals allow greater flexibility and choice and may be viewed as less controlling than short-term goals Manderlink and Harackiewicz, In addition to examining goal-setting influences on self-confidence and performance in relation to stages of skill acquisition, examining them in relation to one's rate of progress may also explain divergent findings.

Carver and Scheier propose that when one encounters difficulty in executing a higher order more distant goal, attention is shifted back to a lower order more immediate subgoal. As discrepancy toward the subgoal is. As long as one is making good progress toward a long-term goal, one's attention does not need to shift to subgoals to feel confident and be successful.

Future research is needed to determine under what conditions and with what tasks different goal-setting techniques enhance self-confidence and performance. Another common instructional practice to enhance motivation is the use of rewards. Providing rewards incentives for desirable outcomes imparts information as well as motivation Bandura, Informing learners that they can earn rewards on the basis of what they accomplish is hypothesized to influence their self-confidence for learning.

As individuals work toward a task and note their progress, their sense of confidence can be validated through rewards. Rewards have been shown to heighten self-confidence beliefs more when they are contingent on performance than when offered simply for participation Schunk, c. As with feedback, rewards may actually reduce self-confidence beliefs if they are given in a noncontingent manner for some learners and not others or if they are distributed within a competitive reward structure Ames, ; competitive reward structures emphasize social comparisons that can result in differential ability attributions Schunk, Numerous studies have examined the relationship between self-confidence and motivated behavior or performance across a number of tasks and situations Bandura, Although these correlational results do not necessarily demonstrate a causal relationship between self-confidence and performance, they do provide convergent evidence of a consistent association between self-confidence and performance of at least a moderate magnitude.

For instance, in sport and exercise, Feltz b found that the correlations between self-confidence and subsequent performance in 28 studies ranged from. Other studies have experimentally manipulated perceived self-confidence levels and then measured subjects' motivation in coping behavior Bandura et al. In general, these diverse causal tests provide corroborating evidence that perceived self-confidence contributes significantly to motivated behavior and performance.

Attempting to demonstrate the causal influence of self-confidence on behavior and performance through experimental manipulation of self-confidence, however, has been criticized as leading to an arbitrary interpretation of the relationship of self-confidence to performance Biglan, Biglan points out that when environmental variables are manipulated in order to manipulate self-confidence ratings, performance behavior or other factors are also af-.

Environmental manipulations may influence some other variable e. In such situations, path analysis or structural-equation modeling is an appropriate method to investigate a network of causal relationships Anderson and Evans, ; Cook and Campbell, ; Duncan, Path analysis and structural-equation modeling allow one to test whether the model presented fits a set of data adequately by comparing the observed relationships among the variables with the predicted relationships. These methods also permit an estimation of the relative indirect and direct contributions of effects. Causal modeling methods are not techniques for discovering causal directions, but, rather, for testing directions of causation that have already been specified by a model.

Causal modeling techniques have been used in a number of self-confidence studies to control for the contribution of other possible factors and to test the network of causal relationships posed by a theory Dzewaltowski, ; Dzewaltowski et al. In general, these studies have found self-confidence to be a major determinant of motivated behavior or performance and to be influenced by performance in a recursive fashion. For motor behavior and performance, existing self-confidence has been shown to predict initial performance, but as one gains experience on the task, performance also becomes a strong predictor of both future performance and self-confidence Feltz, , a; Feltz and Mugno, ; McAuley, These results indicate that performance-based treatments may be affecting behavior through other mechanisms, as well as perceived self-confidence.

One of the mechanisms not investigated in these studies on motor performance is goal effects.

Are you a confident athlete?

Path-analytic studies that have included goal effects have generally found that assigned goals influence both self-confidence and personal goals and that both variables, in turn, have direct effects on performance Earley and Lituchy, ; Locke et al. Although team confidence is recognized as being important to group or team functioning, there has been little research on it Bandura, Studies have examined group confidence in social dilemmas Kerr, , school systems Parker, , and sports Feltz et al.

Two of these studies Feltz et al. Bandura's proposition that an aggregate of group members' perceived confidence of the group as a whole would be more predictive of the group's performance than an aggregate of the members' judgments of their own confidence when there is at least a moderate level of interdependent effort required of the group. Because school systems require at least a moderate level of interdependence among their teachers, Parker examined teachers' beliefs in their own instructional self-confidence and their beliefs about their schools' collective capability to predict schools' levels of academic achievements.

Teachers were asked to rate their self-confidence in three teaching domains reading, mathematics, and language , as well as their beliefs in the collective confidence of the school as a whole in the same three areas. Each teacher's self-confidence and school confidence ratings were then compared with the performances of the students in each teacher's school on a standardized test of reading, mathematics, and language proficiencies. The teachers' perceived confidence in their school's capability perceived school confidence predicted the academic achievements of the students in their school and that these collective confidence beliefs of the school were more predictive of the academic achievement of the students than were the teachers' beliefs of their own instructional self-confidence, thus, supporting Bandura's hypothesis.

A team confidence measure was constructed after conducting a conceptual analysis of the competence areas required in hockey with the consultation of two collegiate hockey coaches. The resulting measure of team confidence had seven dimensions: Initial analyses have indicated that team confidence was only slightly more predictive of team performance than was individual confidence.

However, when wins and losses were analyzed by game, team confidence was more affected by losses than was individual confidence. The construct of team or collective confidence is still in a rudimentary stage in terms of understanding and explaining motivation. Clearly, a greater understanding of its utility will come from rigorous and systematic research. Toward this end, Bandura suggests that advances in research on team confidence will be greatly influenced by the development of appropriate measures; specifically, measures of perceived team confidence need to be tied closely to explicit indices of group performance.

This may be best accomplished by conducting conceptual analyses of the competence areas within a group's performance. Although Bandura's theory of self-efficacy as a self-confidence concept is not without its criticisms see Biglan, ; Eastman and Marzillier, ; Feltz, b; Lee, , research on self-confidence from divergent psychosocial domains of functioning and from different cultural environments Earley, ; Matsui, ; Matsui and Onglatco, has consistently shown self-perceptions of ability to be an important and necessary cognitive mechanism in explaining motivated behavior and performance. However, self-confidence, as a common mechanism that mediates behavior, cannot be expected to account for all behavior change in human performance Bandura, Even so, given the demonstrated importance of self-confidence in enhancing performance, numerous inferences can be drawn to help individuals develop and maintain self-confidence to improve motivation for performance.

In this section research and theory from self-efficacy, goal-setting, and attributions are used to speculate on practical ways to enhance self-confidence for motivation and performance. Applications for enhancing self-confidence are organized around techniques that are based on the four sources of confidence information within Bandura's theory of self-efficacy Bandura, Given that the relationship between self-confidence and motivated behavior or performance has been well documented, the important goal is to find ways to enhance self-confidence beliefs.

Research has supported that the strongest and most durable determinant of self-confidence is the experience of mastery or performance accomplishments. One way of facilitating performance mastery is through instructional strategies 4 Schunk, The instructor can provide for maximum skill development through an instructional sequence of developmental or modified activities, breaking the skill into parts, providing performance aids, physical guidance, or a combination of these methods.

For example, the instructor can physically guide learners through the movements, have them practice on a simulation training device, or design a series of progressive activities to challenge their improving skills. These successes should be based on relevant and realistic progressions: Performance aids and physical guidance should be gradually removed as soon as possible, however, so that learners can engage in self-directed mastery experiences. As noted, self-directed experiences indi-. For complex tasks, the goals should be specific and challenging but attainable. For easy or routine tasks, the harder the goal, the better the performance.

Assuming an individual has the requisite skills and commitments, working toward difficult goals can build a strong sense of confidence because the goals offer more information about the performer's capability to acquire knowledge and skills than do easier goals. Some individuals, however, may need some persuasive help to be convinced that the goals are not too difficult Schunk, b. In addition, for complex and difficult tasks, short-term goals should be used along with long-term goals.

Similarly, when using short-term goals, the performer's perceptions of self-confidence for attainment of future goals should be monitored, as well as perceptions of self-confidence that result from goal attainment. As Stock and Cervone point out, goal-setting strategies will not help individuals who lack a sense of efficacy for attaining the subgoals or those who do not experience enhanced feelings of confidence when they attain the subgoals. Feedback also appears necessary for goals to have maximum effectiveness in enhancing self-confidence and improving performance. Furthermore, when one is first learning complex tasks, self-confidence beliefs and success can be enhanced by emphasizing process-related or learning goals over outcome-related or performance goals.

Rather than defining success through outcome measures, such as winning and losing or number of tasks completed, success should be redefined to include process variables, such as effort, form, and strategy. These process-related goals are important because they help individuals focus on the learnability of a skill rather than viewing the skill as requiring inherent aptitude Jourden et al.

When individuals have had no prior experience with a task, observing others modeling is one means of providing information by which to judge one's own capabilities. For instance, observing others engaging in threatening activities without adverse consequences can reduce inhibitions in observers Lewis, The models can be similar in terms of personal characteristics e. The content of the model's statements is also an influential factor in raising perceptions of efficacy Gould and Weiss, ; Schunk,.

Models can provide information and strategies about how to perform the task as well as confidence statements. The use of multiple demonstrators and coping models has also been shown to influence the effectiveness of demonstrations Bandura et al. Bandura has reasoned that the more different types of people observers see succeeding at a skill, the stronger the convictions will be that they, too, can succeed. Coping models, who initially exhibit difficulty on the task in the same way as learners do but gradually overcome those difficulties, provide the learners with information that this task can be accomplished through perseverance.

Olympic Training Center has used observational techniques in a slightly different manner in an attempt to increase an athlete's confidence expectations and performance. In this self-modeling technique, videotapes of an athlete's performance is altered to eliminate the mistakes and then replayed a number of times for the athlete in hopes of altering the athlete's performance beliefs. Research has not yet been provided to determine the effectiveness of this technique with athletes; however, it has been shown to be effective with persons exhibiting deficient speaking skills by editing out the mistakes, hesitancies, and external aids from the videotapes and playing them back to the speakers Dowrick, Although persuasion and communication techniques alone may be of limited value in enhancing self-confidence beliefs, they may be effective when used in conjunction with performance-based techniques and are provided in a manner contingent to performance.

Because it is difficult to evaluate one's own progress in many activities, credible and expert observers can help stretch one's confidence beliefs through effective persuasion techniques. Persuasive information is probably most important during early stages of skill acquisition, when learners lack task experience and knowledge of their capabilities.

As discussed above, to be effective the persuasive information must be believable and, therefore, should be only slightly beyond what the learners can do at that time. For instance, if one is using imagery to try to help convince individuals that they can endure more muscular fatigue, manage potential threats safely, achieve greater athletic feats, or return to performance from injury, the imagery should be structured so that the individuals imagine themselves performing just slightly better than what they think they can do.

As with setting goals, the imagery should be challenging but attainable. Mastery experiences should then be arranged to facilitate effective performance. As with the other persuasion techniques, it is important that the deception is believable. For instance, if a coach is trying to improve an athlete's maximum press in weight lifting by persuading him to think he is lifting less weight than he is actually pressing, the difference between the two should be small.

Instructors should also be aware that continually deceiving one's students may undermine the trust they need to have in order to attempt new skills. A second category of persuasion techniques involves effective communication from instructor to learner. These strategies include performance feedback, rewards, causal attribution feedback, and positive communication. Performance feedback can provide clear information that learners are making progress toward their goals. As noted above, however, feedback must be given contingently in relation to defined performance standards or goals, and it must be given consistently to all learners so as not to create expectancy effects.

If a wide discrepancy continues between performance and goals, short-term subgoals should be constructed to reduce the discrepancy. Different types of performance feedback should be used, depending on a learner's phase of skill acquisition: Progress feedback should be used during the early phase of skill acquisition or with persons who are likely to perform more poorly in comparison with others because normative feedback can debilitate learning if used before an individual has developed a resilient sense of self-confidence for the task Kanfer, b.

Normative feedback can be used during later phases of skill acquisition. As with performance feedback, if rewards are used they must be clearly tied to performance progress in order to influence self-confidence Schunk, c, a. The combination of performance-contingent rewards with short-term goals appears to enhance self-confidence beliefs better than either technique alone Schunk, a.

Attributional feedback and positive communication are especially important techniques when mistakes and setbacks occur. Because mistakes and failures are inevitable, the way in which an instructor communicates and interacts with a learner will have an important influence on the learner's self-confidence. Telling learners that their past failures were due to insufficient effort, rather than lack of ability, can help them meet their setbacks with renewed vigor and persistence because lack of effort can be rectified.

But encouraging learners to emphasize external factors e. If an instructor tells a learner that her failure on a difficult task, for which she expended a lot of effort, was due to lack of effort, she is apt to interpret the feedback as lack of ability or start to distrust the instructor's feedback. In situations in which learners are expending great effort at difficult tasks and still not succeeding, the instructor needs to help them acknowledge the difficulty of the task and set up modified challenges that can be accomplished.

Positive communication by an instructor has been shown to be very helpful in reducing the negative affect that occurs in failure situations Smith et al. Positive communication is performance contingent, but it focuses on positive aspects of performance while acknowledging mistakes, provides instructional feedback, and emphasizes the learning nature of task acquisition Eden, ; Jourden et al. Most individuals feel discouraged and ashamed when they do not perform well and need the assurance and encouragement of the instructor in regard to their abilities.

In response to a learner's mistakes, the instructor should not focus on the error itself, but instead find something positive and constructive to say about improving the performance. Four steps characterize this positive approach to mistakes. First, the learner's distress about the mistake is acknowledged. Second, the learner is complimented by the instructor's finding something about the performance that was correct.

The compliment must be about an important and relevant aspect of the task; otherwise, it is likely to be discounted by the learners. Third, the instructor provides instructions on how the learner can improve the mistake. Fourth, the instructor ends with a positive note by encouraging the learner to keep trying. These four steps ''sandwich" skill instructions between words of encouragement and praise.

A positive communication style allays feelings of embarrassment and promotes a sense of self-confidence. Some individuals may interpret increases in their physiological arousal as a fear that they cannot perform a skill successfully. Thus, it is believed that if the arousal of these individuals can be reduced through such techniques as relaxation and biofeedback, fears will decrease and self-confidence will increase.

However, as Bandura argued, it is one's perceived coping confidence that plays a central role in controlling fear arousal: Helping individuals believe that they can exercise control over potential threats and frightful cognitions is the way to decrease fears and increase.


Confidence - Wikipedia

One way to help improve coping confidence is to teach individuals coping strategies to use to manage threatening situations, such as positive self-talk. Research has shown that positive self-talk can help individuals manage stressful situations if they believe that the technique will help them cope Girodo and Wood, According to Bandura , the persuasion that the technique will help the individual cope more effectively is what instills a sense of personal control, which enhances coping confidence.

Another technique that instructors can use to help improve coping confidence is to try to manipulate the environment to reduce the uncertainties of the situation. For example, sources of uncertainty might include how dangerous the situation is, how well one expects to perform, whether one will be asked to perform, or what one's coworkers, colleagues, or teammates will think. Uncertainty can be reduced by providing information of task requirements, providing assurance to the learner or performer , and emphasizing realistic, short-term goals that take the attention away from long-range outcomes.

Simulation training can also help to reduce uncertainties about stressors. However, simulation training that involves exposure to serious physical threats reduces anxiety only when it is perceived as successful Keinan, Individuals who have low coping self-confidence might require some preparatory coping interventions before they are exposed to simulation training that is physically dangerous or threatening. Self-confidence is a potent predictor of an individual's performance, given the appropriate skills and adequate incentives. The role of an instructor, manager, or coach, therefore, is to develop and sustain a learner's high level of self-confidence by ensuring performance success, using modeling and persuasion techniques, communicating effectively, and reducing anxiety-producing factors.

These techniques can be used in combination with each other in various ways, depending on the task and the learner, to enhance self-confidence. Many of these techniques can also be applied to enhance team confidence. For instance, if a team is having some difficulty achieving a task or solving a problem, the instructor or leader can design a series of progressive activities for the team and help them set short-term team goals that emphasize process variables e.

Teams can also observe other, similar teams that persevere in the face of adversity or that demonstrate successful strategies about how to perform the group task. Self-modeling techniques, in which mistakes are edited out of a performance, can also be used to enhance confidence, although no research to date has explored the effectiveness of this technique with teams. The communication techniques described can be used with teams as well as individuals. Team confidence can be expected to be enhanced when contingent performance feedback and rewards are provided to the team and. Lastly, as with individual coping confidence in threatening situations, team coping confidence can be enhanced and anxiety reduced by reducing the uncertainties that a team faces.

Techniques for reducing uncertainties for teams also include simulation training, observing other teams performing the task, and providing as much information regarding the task as possible. Four major categories of techniques have been described to enhance self- and team confidence. Evidence for the use of these techniques has come from an extensive and diverse research literature, but there are still a number of areas of research that are needed to better understand self-confidence and to enhance performance.

Most of the research and applications on self-confidence have been concerned with the influence of unidimensional confidence information on individual performance. Other areas that deserve attention are how people process multidimensional confidence information; the study of self-confidence over time and in different situations; the relationships among self-confidence, goals and goal orientations; individual differences in self-confidence; and team confidence.

Scant research has been conducted on how people process multidimensional confidence information and the heuristics they use in weighting and integrating these sources of information in forming their confidence judgments Bandura, The importance of different types of information may vary across different types of activities and situations.

For instance, in some sport and exercise situations, physiological information may be a more pertinent source of confidence information than previous performance. In addition, people may weight sources of information differently in different phases of skill acquisition. In processing multidimensional information, people may also misjudge or ignore relevant information in trying to integrate different information Bandura, Results from research on these questions will help to understand how self-confidence expectations gain their predictive power; it will also have implications for the type and amount of confidence information provided to individuals for particular types of activities and situations.

Other motivational variables, such as goal orientations and conceptions of ability as they relate to goal setting and self-confidence, have received little attention in research except for Kanfer a , who has noted that different goal orientations may be called for at different phases of skill acquisition.

Research is needed to examine induced differential goal orientations in relation to goal-setting and self-confidence at different phases of skill acquisition and for different kinds of tasks e. Studying confidence judgments across extended periods of performance and across situations or tasks may be the most informative paradigm for testing the relative contribution of self- or team confidence and other cognitions to performance over time, as well as for testing changes in sources of confidence information.

For instance, research has generally shown that males view themselves as more confident than females in achievement activities that have been stereotypically linked with males Campbell and Hackett, ; Fennema and Sherman, ; Lirgg, Further research is needed to explore the extent to which individual differences mediate the relationship between confidence judgments and performance. The resiliency of confidence beliefs may also be an important factor in the relationships between self- or team confidence and performance. Bandura , has suggested that self-confidence must be resilient in order for one to persist and sustain effort in the face of failure.

According to Bandura, experience with failures and setbacks is needed to develop this robust sense of self-confidence. Future research might examine how different patterns of success and failure influence the development of a robust sense of confidence. In addition, Bandura notes that when self-doubt sets in after failure, some individuals recover from their perceived low confidence more quickly than others.

Similarly, some teams may be able to regain their sense of confidence after a setback more quickly than other teams. Knowing how and why some individuals and teams are able to regain their sense of confidence more quickly than others would be a valuable source of information for designing interventions that would help confidence recovery. Furthermore, although according to Bandura , , an optimistic sense of self-confidence is advantageous to continued effort and persistence, substantial overestimates of one's competence provide a dangerous basis for action Baumeister, Research is needed to determine the optimal distortion necessary to foster the persistence needed for mastering various tasks.

In the area of team confidence, a number of other issues are in need of further investigation, such as sources of team confidence information, the relationship of team confidence to group attributions and other group motivation concepts, and the influence of team leaders on team confidence. Although Bandura postulated that teams are influenced by the same sources of confidence information as individuals, there may be other sources that are unique to a team.

Perhaps social, community, or political support provides important team confidence information. For sports teams, the. Research has also yet to examine the relationship between team confidence and other conceptual and theoretical perspectives of group motivation. For example, relationships between team confidence and team attributions, desire for team success, and social loafing have yet to be studied. Only one study has examined team confidence and team cohesion Spink, Lastly, the influence of team leaders may also provide some insight on team confidence and performance.

Bandura has suggested that a performance slump, especially by a key member of the team or the team leader, could influence the confidence that other members have in the team's ability to be successful. Similarly, managers' and team leaders' leadership confidence may affect team confidence and performance. Wood and Bandura found evidence that perceived managerial self-confidence both directly and indirectly influenced organizational performance by the effect it had on people's goal setting and use of analytic strategies.


Other research has shown that a high sense of personal confidence enhances strategic thinking and facilitates organizational performance under varying levels of organizational complexity and goal assignments Wood et al. It could be argued, therefore, that the confidence a team has in a key member or in its leader may also have an important effect on team effectiveness.

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In addition to the confidence a team has in its leader, the confidence that a leader has in his or her team may also affect team performance. Some support has been found for this argument Chase et al. In addition to leadership confidence, different kinds of leaders' behaviors may also influence individual and team confidence for certain tasks and certain team members. Research on leadership behavior has suggested a path-goal theory of leadership: Certain leader behaviors supportive, directive, participative, and achievement oriented are hypothesized to differentially influence the self-confidence and effort-performance expectancies among team members, depending on the task and its characteristics.

For instance, supportive leadership behavior e. Leadership behaviors that are directive e. Although Yukl suggests that the theory has yet to be adequately tested, it can provide a framework in which to investigate possible moderating variables of leadership influences on both self-confidence and team confidence.

One advantage of relying on the research of one team of investigators is that the work displays an analytical progression as later studies build on the results obtained from earlier work. Another advantage of Bandura's work is that the approach identifies sources of confidence information that provide a basis for practical ways of enhancing performance, as discussed below.

A disadvantage is that this work is based largely on a particular theoretical perspective, which may not be the only framework for studying the relationship between self-confidence and performance. Can such techniques as sleep learning and hypnosis improve performance? Do we sometimes confuse familiarity with mastery? Can we learn without making mistakes? These questions apply in the classroom, in the military, and on the assembly line. Learning, Remembering, Believing addresses these and other key issues in learning and performance. The volume presents leading-edge theories and findings from a wide range of research settings: Common folklore is explored, and promising research directions are identified.

The authors also continue themes from their first two volumes: Learning, Remembering, Believing offers an understanding of human learning that will be useful to training specialists, psychologists, educators, managers, and individuals interested in all dimensions of human performance. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

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