Extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation in education: Reconsidered once again

Edward L. Deci, Richard Koestner, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

876 Scopus citations


The finding that extrinsic rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation has been highly controversial since it first appeared (Deci, 1971). A meta-analysis published in this journal (Cameron & Pierce, 1994) concluded that the undermining effect was minimal and largely inconsequential for educational policy. However, a more recent meta-analysis (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 1999) showed that the Cameron and Pierce meta-analysis was seriously flawed and that its conclusions were incorrect. This article briefly reviews the results of the more recent meta-analysis, which showed that tangible rewards do indeed have a substantial undermining effect. The meta-analysis provided strong support for cognitive evaluation theory (Deci & Ryan, 1980), which Cameron and Pierce had advocated abandoning. The results are briefly discussed in terms of their relevance for educational practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


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