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Elements Of The Competitive Situation That Affect Intrinsic Motivation

Johnmarshall Reeve, Edward L. Deci

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Effects on intrinsic motivation of three elements of the competitive situation (viz., competitive set, competitive outcome, and inter-personal context) were explored. Participants solved puzzles with a same-sex confederate under one of five experimental inductions, and intrinsic motivation was assessed by subsequent free-choice behavior and self-reports of interest/enjoyment. As predicted by cognitive evaluation theory, competitive outcome(viz., winning vs. losing) and interpersonal context (viz., pressured vs. nonpressured) affected intrinsic motivation. Path analyses showed that (a) winning (relative to losing) increased intrinsic motivation by enhancing perceived competence and (b) a pressured (relative to nonpressured) interpersonal context decreased intrinsic motivation by diminishing perceived self-determination. Further, competence valuation-the importance one places on doing well-related positively to perceived competence, perceived self-determination, and intrinsic motivation.