Overjustification and children's intrinsic motivation: Comparative effects of four rewards

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Studied the relative overjustifying effects of various types of rewards on 30 boys' and 30 girls' (mean ages 72.6 and 72.4 mo, respectively) intrinsic motivation. Four reward procedures were examined–tangible, verbal, symbolic, and self-administered symbolic (self) rewards. Ss attempted to solve mazes under 1 of 5 training conditions and were then given a free-play period in which to engage in further maze play or try other materials. Ss receiving tangible rewards and those who self-administered symbolic rewards (self-reward) showed less subsequent intrinsic motivation than Ss in the control, verbal reward, and symbolic reward conditions. Moreover, internal locus-of-control expectancies (Stanford Preschool Internal-External Scale) were inversely related to intrinsic motivation for Ss in the self-reward condition. Results are discussed from 2 perspectives–the intrinsic-extrinsic reward continuum and E. L. Deci's (1975) distinction between the controlling (detrimental) and informational (competence- and motivation-enhancing) aspects of rewards. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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