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The Effect Of Differential Amounts Of Positive Verbal Feedback On The Intrinsic Motivation Of Male Hockey Players

Robert J. Vallerand

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The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the amount of positive verbal feedback presented and the ensuing intrinsic motivation of male hockey players toward a hockey-related task. The subjects were 50 male hockey players 13-16 years of age who performed on an interesting task consisting of 24 slides that allowed the subject to test his decision-making abilities in simulated hockey situations. Subjects performed on the task and received either 6, 12, 18, 24 (on every trial or slide), or no positive verbal reinforcements regarding their performance. Following their participation on the task, subjects answered an intrinsic motivation questionnaire and a question on feelings of competence. Results indicated that subjects receiving positive verbal feedback displayed a much higher level of intrinsic motivation and experienced higher levels of feelings of competence than subjects in the control group, irrespective of the amount of feedback presented. Further, no other differences were found among the feedback groups. These findings are discussed in light of cognitive evaluation theory (Deci & Ryan, 1980) and previous intrinsic motivation studies on the effect of positive verbal feedback. Finally, implications and suggestions for future research within the realm of sport are proposed.