September 9, 2015

Choice in tasks can increase intrinsic motivation

Interesting new study showing that choice in tasks, however trivial and inconsequential, can increase one's intrinsic motivation:

Live as we choose: The role of autonomy support in facilitating intrinsic motivation
by Liang Meng and Qingguo Ma (2015)

Abstract: According to Self-determination Theory (SDT), autonomy is a basic psychological need, satisfaction of which may lead to enhanced intrinsic motivation and related beneficial outcomes. By manipulating the opportunity to choose between tasks of equal difficulty, throughout the motivational process, the effect of autonomy support was examined both behaviorally and electrophysiologically.
More negative stimulus-preceding negativity (SPN) and an enlarged FRN loss–win difference wave (d-FRN) indicated an enhanced expectation toward the positive outcome (during the anticipation stage) as well as intensified intrinsic motivation toward the task (during the outcome appraisal stage) when choice was available. Taken together, results of the present study suggest d-FRN upon feedback as a real-time electrophysiological indicator of intrinsic/autonomous motivation and illustrate the important role of autonomy-supportive job design in the workplace.

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