Two studies tested the impact of autobiographical recall of general versus specific academic success or failure on actual task performance. As expected, it was found that general memories of failure and specific memories of success resulted in worse performance than general memories of success and specific memories of failure. In Study 1, this performance pattern was obtained on a standard math test. In Study 2, it was replicated on a test of intellectual ability, and a mediation by fear of failure was documented. The present findings offer direct evidence that autobiographical memories of success and failure impact actual performance and also reveal the role of memory specificity in this influence. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.