The Effects of Cooperative and Individualistic Reward on Intrinsic Motivation

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The effects of cooperative versus individualistic reward on students' intrinsic motivation were investigated. The controlling aspects of extrinsic reward may be heightened or produce greater ego threat in the individualistic situation when compared with a group situation. We predicted that students in the cooperative social situation would show higher levels of intrinsic motivation. Fifth-grade students from existing cooperative groups were assigned randomly to receive a tangible reward based on either cooperative or individualistic achievement for completing pattern block designs. Cooperation affected intrinsic motivation positively. Students in the cooperative dyad solved the block designs more quickly, interacted positively, and viewed the task as easier than did those in the individualistic situation, and they reported that their peers were helpful. There was little evidence that the controlling functions of reward or ego-threat were factors in producing the outcome. Some evidence supporting the importance of the social nature of cooperation was provided.

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Hom Jr, Harry L., Mark Berger, Melissa K. Duncan, Arden Miller, and Aleta Blevin. "The effects of cooperative and individualistic reward on intrinsic motivation." The Journal of genetic psychology 155, no. 1 (1994): 87-97.

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