Investigating the predictive validity of implicit and explicit measures of motivation in problem-solving behavioural tasks

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Abstract

Research into the effects of individuals’autonomous motivation on behaviour has traditionally adopted explicit measures and self-reported outcome assessment. Recently, there has been increased interest in the effects of implicit motivational processes underlying behaviour from a self-determination theory (SDT) perspective. The aim of the present research was to provide support for the predictive validity of an implicit measure of autonomous motivation on behavioural persistence on two objectively measurable tasks. SDT and a dual-systems model were adopted as frameworks to explain the unique effects offered by explicit and implicit autonomous motivational constructs on behavioural persistence. In both studies, implicit autonomous motivation significantly predicted unique variance in time spent on each task. Several explicit measures of autonomous motivation also significantly predicted persistence. Results provide support for the proposed model and the inclusion of implicit measures in research on motivated behaviour. In addition, implicit measures of autonomous motivation appear to be better suited to explaining variance in behaviours that are more spontaneous or unplanned. Future implications for research examining implicit motivation from dual-systems models and SDT approaches are outlined.

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