Consequences of superfluous social constraints: Effects on young children's social inferences and subsequent intrinsic interest

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Investigated the effects of the imposition of a nominal contingency--the presentation of engagement in one activity as a means for earning the chance to engage in a second activity of equivalent initial interest--on 132 preschoolers' subsequent intrinsic interest in and social inferences about the 2 activities. Across experiments analogous contingency manipulations were presented in a highly familiar context in which Ss had previously encountered such contingencies and a more novel context in which Ss had not previously encountered the use of such social constraints. Ss in the 3 studies showed some tendency to discount interest in the activity presented as a means relative to the activity presented as an end. Further evidence suggests that findings did not result from any reflective reliance on an abstract discounting principle. Implications for understanding the development of self- and social perception processes and interpreting previous over-justification research are discussed. (57 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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