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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 12 Issue 1 (1983) Do Rewards Reduce Student Motivation?
Volume 12, Issue 1 (1983)

Do Rewards Reduce Student Motivation?

pp. 1—11

ABSTRACT: The systematic use of rewards has become a common practice in student management and instruction. However, recent research suggests that under certain circumstances, rewards may reduce post-reward motivation. The degree to which this research can be generalized to actual educational settings is questionable,although some evidence suggests that reduced motivation is one possible effect that rewards may have in such settings. Several theories have been proposed for the negative effect of rewards on motivation. These theories include self-perception or attribution, competing response, and reinforcement contrast theories. While further research is needed, the following guidelines can he suggested for using rewards with minimal threat to student motivation: (a)Refrain from introducing rewards when initial levels of motivation and interest are high, (b) use the least powerful reward or punishment which is effective, (c)apply reward procedures that will foster student perceptions of self-determination,competence and task enjoyment.

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