Sample Research Paper on Response expectancy theory and application


Communication is a crucial tool used in creating and maintaining relationships and
interacting with other members of society. Hypnosis is a limitation that makes one unable to
communicate and interact with others voluntarily. Various theories can be used to examine and
explain hypnosis such as the social cognitive theory, the role theory, the disassociation theory
and the response expectation theory (Lynn & Green, 2011). This paper will focus on
summarizing the response expectation theory as it can be used in understanding hypnosis.

Background Information

Response expectancy theory was developed by Kirsch in 1985 (Kirsch, 1997). He defined
the theory as the behavior that results from stimulus and directions aiming at the desired
outcome. He used the theory to explain the importance and the role of expected response while
designing prescriptions and managing conditions such as anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction
and hypnosis. The theory focuses on understanding how stimulus to an expectation can make an
individual respond to suggestions or directions to produce the expected result.


The response expectancy theory has one primary assumption that subjects respond to
directives and stimulus with anticipation of getting expected outcomes (Mathibe, 2008). The
subjects are stimulated to take courses of action such as employees being motivated to work
hard, meeting targets, and being rewarded with salary increment and recognition. The
employees are therefore obliged to work hard to achieve expected outcomes. In addition, the


theory also assumes that the subjects will be able to foresee the results of their actions and
behaviors. In this case, they will act towards getting the outcome or avoiding the result. The
outcome dictates the response.


The response expectancy theory can be applied in different ways both scientifically and
in real-life situations. First, it can be used in the clinical setting to manage anxiety and depression
disorders (Kirsch & Moncrieff, 2007). In the clinical setting, the patients are given the result and
expected to work with the therapist to achieve the desired results. The theory is also applied in
the work environment to motivate employees to commit to delivering excellently or meeting
their targets with an expectation of getting rewards such as salary increase and rank promotion
(Mathibe, 2008). Scientifically the role expectancy theory has been applied to manage anxiety
disorders where the expectancy model of fear is applied to alter the expectations (Kirsch, 1997).
For instance, where the subject is exposed to a situation whose outcome causes anxiety, the
therapists can sensitize the patient with information’s that the situation can result in a positive
outcome that he or she will be comfortable with. Besides, the expectancy theory has been used in
placebo medications where patients are meant to believe that they have been given the medicines
that can cure their illnesses (Kirsch, 1997). This stimulates the body to respond to the placebo
medication and causes the healing or pain reduction or reduces effects of the disease. Further,
response expectancy theory has been used to manage hypnosis conditions where the subject with
the hypnotic state is stimulated to given direction because of an expected attractive outcome
(Kirsch, 1997).




I can use the response expectancy theory to explain my hypnotic situation in
communication because when Jonathan approached me and he communicated and broke the fear
of communicating in me, I realized that it’s easy to communicate and have other people know
you and make friends. Thereby I became an outgoing person and initiated communication with
others and sought to be known, know others and make friends.




Kirsch, I. (1997). Response expectancy theory and application: A decennial review. Applied and
preventive Psychology, 6(2), 69-79.
Kirsch, I., & Moncrieff, J. (2007). Clinical trials and the response rate illusion. Contemporary
clinical trials, 28(4), 348-351.
Lynn, S. J., & Green, J. P. (2011). The sociocognitive and dissociation theories of hypnosis:
Toward a rapprochement. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,
59(3), 277-293.
Mathibe, I. (2008). Expectancy Theory and its implications for employee motivation. Academic Leadership: the Online Journal,