ERIC Number: ED471686
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: A Needs-Based, Developmental Perspective.
Covington, Martin V.
This chapter reframes, from a developmental, self-worth perspective, the longstanding debate over the presumed negative impact of extrinsic rewards on subject-matter appreciation and creative expression. The chapter argues that the debate over the potentially adverse effects of extrinsic payoffs is largely misplaced because of a narrow, almost exclusive focus on the tangible attributes of rewards as the cause of their adverse effect. The proper concern in the debate on the effects of rewards should be more with their meaning as a measure of self-definition rather than their tangible attributes and with their withdrawal as a means of control rather than the offering of rewards. To promote a developmental perspective to the question, the chapter uses data from Berkeley college students' recollections of forces influencing their willingness to learn for its own sake throughout their education. These data showed that students' personal interest and curiosity in learning increased incrementally from elementary to high school, with a slight dip in middle school, and dropped precipitously after college entry. The possibility that competition for scarce valued rewards is the major cause of intrinsic disengagement is discussed, drawing on findings from the Berkeley student study and other research. Possible contributors to task engagement were identified as task success, personal meaning of the task, and task-focused reasons for engagement rather than self-aggrandizement or self-protection. The chapter concludes by asserting that when properly employed by educators, tangible reinforcers can encourage adolescents' intrinsically-oriented goals. (Contains 41 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Achievement Need, Adolescent Attitudes, Adolescent Behavior, Adolescent Development, Adolescents, Competence, Competition, Models, Psychological Needs, Punishment, Rewards, Self Concept, Self Motivation, Student Motivation, Theories
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Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
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