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Subjective Control Over Rewards: Effects Of Perceived Choice Of Reward Schedule On Intrinsic Motivation And Behavior Maintenance

Gregory G. Feehan, Michael E. Enzle

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Two studies were conducted to assess the effect of perceived self-control over reward schedules on both intrinsic motivation (Exp. 1) and extinction-phase behavior maintenance (Exp. 2). Previous research involving yoking procedures has potentially confounded manipulations of administration of reward by self or others with how well-tailored the reward contingencies were to individual subjects' needs. The current experiments employed manipulations of choice of reward schedule rather than administration of reward to ensure that all subjects were exposed to identical reward contingencies. Significant treatment effects in the two experiments confirmed the efficacy of choice of schedule, even when illusory, in protecting intrinsic motivation from the negative effects of extrinsic rewards.