ERIC Number: ED177380
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Reinforcement and the Overjustification Effect.
Williams, Bruce W.
Reward contingencies and other extrinsic constraints on behavior can lead to reduced levels of interest in and/or decreased engagement in a target activity in a subsequent noncontingent situation. It has been hypothesized that this effect is caused by a change in the self-perceived locus of motivation from intrinsic to extrinsic. It follows from this that effective rewards are more likely to produce the overjustification effect than are ineffective rewards. However, a review of empirical studies suggests the opposite conclusion. This experiment manipulates four levels of the behavior constraint-reinforcement variable: attractive reward, unattractive reward, request to perform, and a no-reward, no-request control. Only the unattractive reward and request groups indicated performance decrements which suggest the overjustification effect. The attractive reward group was significantly different from these two groups on this measure. Results indicate that reinforcement does not cause the overjustification effect. The behavior constraining aspect of a contingency seems to produce the effect, while the reinforcement, or reward value, aspect leads to an increase in interest and post-contingency performance. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (59th, San Diego, California, April 5-8, 1979)