The present research examines psychological momentum (PM), a perceived force that lay intuition suggests influences performance. PM theory is proposed to account for how momentum perceptions arise, and four studies demonstrate the influence of lay intuitions about PM on expectations regarding performance outcomes. Study 1 establishes that individuals share intuitions about the types of events that precipitate PM, and Study 2 finds that defeating a rival increases momentum perceptions. Study 3 provides evidence for the lay belief that as more PM accumulates during a prior task, there should be more residual momentum left to carry over to a subsequent task, and Study 4 finds that an individual whose PM is interrupted is expected to have greater difficulty completing a task than is an individual whose steady progress is interrupted. Discussion focuses on linkages between PM and related constructs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology