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ERIC Number: EJ913742
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Motivational Influences on Cognitive Performance in Children: Focus over Fit
Worthy, Darrell A.; Brez, Caitlin C.; Markman, Arthur B.; Maddox, W. Todd
Journal of Cognition and Development, v12 n1 p103-119 2011
Cognitive psychologists have begun to address how motivational factors influence adults' performance on cognitive tasks. However, little research has examined how different motivational factors interact with one another to affect behavior across the life span. In the current study, the authors examined how children perform on a classification task when placed in a regulatory fit or mismatch. Nine-year-old children performed a classification task in which they either gained or lost points for each response. Additionally, children were given either a global promotion focus (trying to earn a gift card) or a prevention focus (trying to avoid losing a gift card). Previous work indicates that adults in this task tend to perform better when there is a match (or "fit") between the incentive to gain, or avoid losing, a global reward, and the more local task reward structure to either maximize points gained or minimize points lost on a trial-by-trial basis. Unlike adults, 9-year-olds perform better in the promotion condition than in the prevention condition regardless of task reward structure. Possible explanations for the differences between adults' and children's performance are discussed as are possible applications for academic settings. (Contains 1 footnote and 4 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A