Effects of reward contexts on young children's task interest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two studies designed to examine the consequences of rewards and the contexts in which they are used on children's task interest are presented. In Experiment 1, 56 preschoolers in three reward conditions (performance contingent, task contingent, and no reward) were presented with blocks, some of which they were free to use and some of which were not allowed to be used. After performing, all children were observed during a 5-min nonreward session in which they were free to choose whether to play with the blocks. Although immediate compliance and interest were comparable for all groups, the no-reward group evidenced significantly greater free-choice interest than did the two reward groups. It was suggested that rewards may undermine intrinsic interest by heightening the salience of the restrictive context. In Experiment 2, this suggestion was tested. Twenty-eight children were presented with the blocks in an experimental design that differed in context (permissive vs. restrictive) and in whether rewards were offered. Rewards were found to undermine interest only within the restrictive context. I concluded that rewards may affect task interest by influencing the social milieu of adult-child interaction. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Volume121
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

Fingerprint

Reward
reward
social milieu
Group
experiment
Task Performance and Analysis
Compliance
Research Design
interaction
performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Education
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Effects of reward contexts on young children's task interest. / Fabes, Richard.

In: Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, Vol. 121, No. 1, 1987, p. 5-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{b3267268840b4ce584bd014decf4acdc,
title = "Effects of reward contexts on young children's task interest",
abstract = "Two studies designed to examine the consequences of rewards and the contexts in which they are used on children's task interest are presented. In Experiment 1, 56 preschoolers in three reward conditions (performance contingent, task contingent, and no reward) were presented with blocks, some of which they were free to use and some of which were not allowed to be used. After performing, all children were observed during a 5-min nonreward session in which they were free to choose whether to play with the blocks. Although immediate compliance and interest were comparable for all groups, the no-reward group evidenced significantly greater free-choice interest than did the two reward groups. It was suggested that rewards may undermine intrinsic interest by heightening the salience of the restrictive context. In Experiment 2, this suggestion was tested. Twenty-eight children were presented with the blocks in an experimental design that differed in context (permissive vs. restrictive) and in whether rewards were offered. Rewards were found to undermine interest only within the restrictive context. I concluded that rewards may affect task interest by influencing the social milieu of adult-child interaction. Implications of these findings are discussed.",
author = "Richard Fabes",
year = "1987",
doi = "10.1080/00223980.1987.9712639",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "121",
pages = "5--19",
journal = "Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied",
issn = "0022-3980",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of reward contexts on young children's task interest

AU - Fabes, Richard

PY - 1987

Y1 - 1987

N2 - Two studies designed to examine the consequences of rewards and the contexts in which they are used on children's task interest are presented. In Experiment 1, 56 preschoolers in three reward conditions (performance contingent, task contingent, and no reward) were presented with blocks, some of which they were free to use and some of which were not allowed to be used. After performing, all children were observed during a 5-min nonreward session in which they were free to choose whether to play with the blocks. Although immediate compliance and interest were comparable for all groups, the no-reward group evidenced significantly greater free-choice interest than did the two reward groups. It was suggested that rewards may undermine intrinsic interest by heightening the salience of the restrictive context. In Experiment 2, this suggestion was tested. Twenty-eight children were presented with the blocks in an experimental design that differed in context (permissive vs. restrictive) and in whether rewards were offered. Rewards were found to undermine interest only within the restrictive context. I concluded that rewards may affect task interest by influencing the social milieu of adult-child interaction. Implications of these findings are discussed.

AB - Two studies designed to examine the consequences of rewards and the contexts in which they are used on children's task interest are presented. In Experiment 1, 56 preschoolers in three reward conditions (performance contingent, task contingent, and no reward) were presented with blocks, some of which they were free to use and some of which were not allowed to be used. After performing, all children were observed during a 5-min nonreward session in which they were free to choose whether to play with the blocks. Although immediate compliance and interest were comparable for all groups, the no-reward group evidenced significantly greater free-choice interest than did the two reward groups. It was suggested that rewards may undermine intrinsic interest by heightening the salience of the restrictive context. In Experiment 2, this suggestion was tested. Twenty-eight children were presented with the blocks in an experimental design that differed in context (permissive vs. restrictive) and in whether rewards were offered. Rewards were found to undermine interest only within the restrictive context. I concluded that rewards may affect task interest by influencing the social milieu of adult-child interaction. Implications of these findings are discussed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0002064065&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0002064065&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/00223980.1987.9712639

DO - 10.1080/00223980.1987.9712639

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0002064065

VL - 121

SP - 5

EP - 19

JO - Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied

JF - Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied

SN - 0022-3980

IS - 1

ER -