In social cognitive theory, expectancies play a crucial role in shaping human behavior. Expectancies refer to the beliefs or assumptions individuals hold about the consequences of their actions. These expectations guide our behavior by influencing our motivation, decision-making processes, and self-regulation.

Types of Expectancies

There are several types of expectancies identified in social cognitive theory:

The Role of Expectancies

Expectancies play a significant role in various aspects of human behavior:


Expectancies influence our motivation by determining the level of effort and persistence we put into a behavior. When we anticipate positive outcomes or believe in our abilities, we are more motivated to engage in that behavior. On the other hand, negative expectancies or low self-efficacy can demotivate us from taking action.


Expectancies also affect our decision-making processes. We weigh the potential consequences of our actions based on our beliefs about their outcomes. These expectations guide us in choosing between different options and making decisions that align with our desired outcomes.


Expectancies play a role in self-regulation, which refers to monitoring and controlling our own behavior. By considering the anticipated outcomes, we can regulate our actions accordingly. For example, if someone expects negative consequences for procrastinating, they may set deadlines and implement strategies to stay focused.

Cultivating Positive Expectancies

To foster positive expectancies, it is essential to:


In social cognitive theory, expectancies play a vital role in shaping human behavior. Outcome expectancies, efficacy expectancies, and social outcome expectancies influence our motivation, decision-making, and self-regulation. By understanding and cultivating positive expectancies, individuals can enhance their likelihood of success and achievement.