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Effects of External Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation

Rodney Lanesbury 220056245 Word Count 1000

Motivation, the driving force behind what we do. Without motivation there would be little reason for many of us to do what we do on a daily basis, for pleasure or even work. Several types of motivation exist, and several different rewards for such motivation, these include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and can work on an internal or external reward feature. Internal rewards are those such as reaching a personal goal or the rush of throwing heavy weight around the weight room and external rewards are things like payment or encouragement. External rewards can be perceived as either informative or controlling and this will alter the intrinsic motivation for such a task. I will elaborate on these ideas with reference to studies and meta-analysis to support the statements made.

Motivation, it is the driving force behind what and why we do what we do, without it, we probably wouldnt achieve half of what we do, whether it be in the academic or sporting arena, motivation is what drives us to achieve our goals. There exist two major types of motivation, Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation. Sage defines motivation as the direction and intensity of ones effort (Weinberg and Gould, 2011). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation differs in the reasons that the athletes participate in the activity. The intrinsically motivated will participate for no other reason than the satisfaction of participating in the activity (McCullagh, 2005), however extrinsically motivated athletes will participate for a separate outcome from there participation such as reward or positive feedback (Ryan and Deci, 2000).

Decis classic study in 1971-1972 showed that participants that were paid for participating in and interesting activity spent less time completing the activity than those who were not paid. Consequently the intrinsic motivation for this activities participation dropped. This trend seems to follow through in other research such as Lepper and Greene, when in 1975 used school children in a study and found that children who were extrinsically rewarded for an intrinsically motivating activity lost intrinsic motivation to participate (Weinberg & Gould 2011). Another great example is the 1994 study of 440 male and female athletes on Division I sports. The study again revealed that athletes on a scholarship had lower intrinsic motivation (Amarose, Horne and Miller 1994). Earlier studies on the effects of athletic scholarships on intrinsic motivation showed that Division I footballers on scholarships also had lower intrinsic motivation to participate. The study also that the longer the athletes receive scholarships the lower there intrinsic motivation becomes (Frederick & Ryan 1995). In 1995 Tang and Hall conducted a meta-analysis of 50 studies on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The study found that, although expected rewards decreased intrinsic motivation, unexpected rewards had no effect on intrinsic motivation. From the above studies and meta-analysis, we can see that overall external rewards decreased intrinsic motivation, however, if the external reward came as a surprise to the athlete it had no effect on motivation levels. In these studies we see that the intrinsic motivation decreases occurs due to an external locus of causality, however, the meta-analysis revealed that an internal locus of causality would not affect ones motivation levels. Although external rewards show a decrease in intrinsic motivation in cases where the reward is expected, another factor contributing to motivation levels is how the athlete perceives the reward. If the reward is perceived as controlling, intrinsic motivation will decline, however if the reward is seen as

informative the athlete may show an increase in motivation (Weinberg and Gould 2011). For example, when an athlete is first learning how to squat and finally get form and depth rite, and his personal trainer rewards him with positive feedback the athlete will be more motivated to perform with good form and depth the next time around, hence the athletes intrinsic motivation will have increased.

From the above studies we can see that extrinsic motivation has an affect on intrinsic motivation. Multiple studies and meta-analysis of these studies has drawn upon similar conclusions on ways in which extrinsic motivation affects an athletes intrinsic motivation. We also see that the way the external rewards are perceived affects intrinsic motivation. External rewards can be perceived as either informative or controlling with one resulting in more intrinsic motivation to complete a task then another. As seen in the 1995 Tang and Hall meta-analysis, unexpected external rewards showed no affect on intrinsic motivation, however expected external rewards showed a decrease in intrinsic motivation. (Tang and Hall 1995) Also supporting this idea of decreased intrinsic motivation with external rewards is the 1994 Amarose et. Al study of 440 athletes that supported this idea. And what more could support the idea further than the quote by famous basket baller Magic Johnson whom stated I received my share of offers, cars and money. It immediately turned me off. It was like they were trying to buy me, and I dont like anyone trying to buy me (Weinberg and Gould 2011). Weinberg and Gould (2011) also showed that if the reward was perceived as informative it would alter the intrinsic motivation, as compared to if the reward

was controlling. If the athlete was rewarded with praise for good form on squats and given positive feedback on how to better their form, they would show more intrinsic motivation than those who were paid for accomplishing the same outcome.

Amorose, Horne, & Miller, (1994). Intrinsic motivation in collegiate athletics: Relationship with athletes scholarships status and coaching behaviors. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. 16, S26. Frederick, C. M., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). Self-determination in sport: A review using cognitive evaluation theory. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 26, 5-23. Lepper, M. R., & Greene, D. (1975). Turning play into work: Effects of adult surveillance and extrinsic reward on children's intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 479-486. McCullagh, Penny. (2005) Sport and Exercise Psychology Lecture. Cal State University East Bay. 10/27. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78. Tang, S-H., & Hall, V. C. (1995). The overjustification effect: A meta-analysis. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 9, 365-404. Weinberg R, & Gould, D (2003). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology: Human Kinetics, Lower Mitcham, South Australia.