Relation of reward contingency and interpersonal context to intrinsic motivation: A review and test using cognitive evaluation theory

Richard M. Ryan, Valerie Mims, Richard Koestner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

588 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reviews recent experimental literature on reward contingency effects on intrinsic motivation. Agreement emerges among investigators for most contingency effects when experimental procedures use standard terminology. However, some discrepancies are apparent, especially with respect to performance-contingent effects that both increased and decreased intrinsic motivation relative to task-contingent effects. These discrepancies are discussed in terms of cognitive evaluation theory (E. L. Deci and R. M. Ryan, 1980). An integration of the various effects was tested using 96 college students working on a puzzle-solving activity for whom various reward conditions were in effect. Results of the study and review suggest that it is the relative salience of controlling and informational aspects of rewards that mediate the contingency effects. The importance of the interpersonal context of reward administration for the facilitation or undermining of intrinsic motivation is underscored. (45 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-750
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1983

Keywords

  • interpersonal context, intrinsic motivation, college students
  • reward contingency &

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