Date of Graduation

Summer 2017


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

D. Wayne Mitchell


approach-drive motivation, avoidance-drive motivation, intrinsic motivation, goal setting, response latency, recognition memory task

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Researchers have found that performance is enhanced when participants set goals that are specific, difficult, and perceived as attainable. Also, motivation contributes to performance; specifically, intrinsic motivation, approach motivation, and avoidance motivation. Ninety participants were assigned randomly to one of two motivation groups; a goal setting or a control and assessed over a series of memory problems; solvable and unsolvable. Participant’s response latencies (RL) following an unsolvable problem was examined as a function of motivation type. Based upon the results from a 2 (Group; goal setting vs control) X 2 (test order) X 2 (memory problem difference scores) mixed ANOVA, a significant Group difference was found. The goal setting group had significantly faster RL’s compared to the control group. Secondary analyses of motivation type by goal setting group revealed no significant differences between the goal group and control group on the BAS, BIS, and Intrinsic Scales. It was hypothesized that the magnitude and type of motivation would be predictive of memory problem performance. However, no consistent relationships between motivation and RL were evident, an unexpected result.


© Jessica K. Willis

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