Positive Feedback and Motivation: Extrinsic Rewards Effect on Intrinsic Motivation in Sports

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Deci & Ryan (1985) described the study of motivation as the exploration of the energization and direction of behavior (p. 3), and an adequate theory of motivation must therefore take into account both the needs that are innate to the organism (i.e. those that must be satisfies for the organism to remain healthy) and those that are acquired through interactions with the environment (Deci, 1985). The Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET), a sub theory of the Self-Determination theory deals with the effects of extrinsic motivation on an individual’s intrinsic motivation. CET focuses on two fundamental needs, perceived competence and autonomy, sub dimensions of intrinsic motivation, are enriched or reduced based on environment and social factors. Perceived competence accompanied by feelings of autonomy has been shown to have a positive impact on intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Based upon research, CET has shown that extrinsic rewards can undermine a person’s intrinsic motivation and shift a person’s motivation from internal to external (Deci, 1971; Lepper, Greene, & Nisbett, 1973. But does the same theory apply to individuals who are intrinsically motivated who participate in sports. Research has demonstrated that participation in exercise tends to be more extrinsically motivated than participation in sport does, but that the more autonomous forms of regulation are important in maintaining activity levels of both over time (Ryan & Deci, 2007). There have been earlier studies that have shown that positive performance feedback enhanced intrinsic motivation (e.g., Deci, 1971; Harackiewicz, 1979). In the sport domain, many environmental and interpersonal factors (e.g., rewards, coaches’ behaviors) can affect athletes’ feelings of ...

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