Self-esteem was explored as a factor in appropriate (typical) and inappropriate (atypical) changes in performance expectations across trials of a nonthreatening success condition vs. a threatening failure condition. Participants (51 women, 45 men) were randomly assigned to one of the conditions and completed a self-esteem scale and 8 trials of a timed digit-substitution task. Moderated multiple regression revealed significant interactions between self-esteem and condition for typical and atypical changes. A significant positive relationship between self-esteem and typical changes was found under success and between self-esteem and atypical changes under failure. Differences between conditions were evident only for high self-esteem, with greater typical changes for success and greater atypical changes for failure.