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Attribution Of Causality And The Overjustification Effect

Thane S. Pittman, Eugenia E. Cooper, Timothy W. Smith

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Using false physiological feedback to influence attribu tions of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, it was found that the overjustification effect is mediated by one's self-perceived motiva tion. Contingent reward significantly decreased intrinsic interest, which was defined as the number of trials on the target activity during a free choice period. This overjustification effect was significantly decreased when individuals were given an intrinsic interpretation of their behavior, while individuals given an extrin sic interpretation for their behavior showed a non-significant augmentation of the overjustification effect.