Enhanced expectancies facilitate golf putting

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Objectives: To examine the influence of enhanced expectancies on motor learning, we manipulated learners' expectancies by providing criteria for "success" that were relatively easy or difficult to meet. Design: Experimental design with two groups. Method: Two groups of non-golfers practiced putting golf balls to a target from a distance of 150 cm. The target was surrounded by a large (14 cm diameter) and a small circle (7 cm diameter) during practice. The groups were informed that balls coming to rest in the large circle (large-circle group) or small circle (small-circle group), respectively, constituted a "good" trial. One day later, the circles were removed. Participants putted from the same distance (retention) and a greater distance (transfer: 180 cm). Results: On both retention and transfer tests, accuracy was greater for the large-circle compared with the small-circle group. Conclusions: Enhancing expectancies by providing a relatively "easy" performance criterion led to more effective learning. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.