Does Intrinsic Motivation Theory Explain the Adverse Effects of Rewards on Immediate Task Performance?

John C. McCullers, Richard Fabes, James D. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In an effort to answer the question posed in the title, we assessed the effects of rewards on the immediate task performance of preschool children in two studies. Both studies had within-subjects, repeated measures designs, and both yielded highly consistent results showing a detrimental effect of reward on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and on the Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Man test. Performance decrements were confined to sessions in which subjects were rewarded; when rewarded subjects were shifted to nonreward, their performance improved dramatically. Although these studies were not concerned with the effects of reward on intrinsic motivation, the findings appear to present theoretical difficulties for current cognitive-motivational explanations of the adverse effects of material rewards on immediate task performance. An alternative viewpoint that material rewards can produce a temporary regression in psychological functioning is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1033
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume52
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1987

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motivation theory
intrinsic motivation
Task Performance and Analysis
Reward
reward
Motivation
performance
Language Tests
Preschool Children
preschool child
vocabulary
Psychology
regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Does Intrinsic Motivation Theory Explain the Adverse Effects of Rewards on Immediate Task Performance? / McCullers, John C.; Fabes, Richard; Moran, James D.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 5, 05.1987, p. 1027-1033.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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