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Lecture

PSY426H1 Lecture Notes - Intentionality, Perceived Control, Cognitive Flexibility


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY426H1
Professor
Jason Plaks

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Intentionality and personal causation: when people believe that desired outcomes will follow reliably
from certain behaviours and that they are competent to execute those behaviours
Autonomy: inner endorsement of ones actions, the sense that they emanate from oneself and are one’s
own.
- choice: organismic concept anchored in the sense of a fuller, more integrated functioning.
- endorsed by the whole self and is experienced as action for which one is responsible
The Support of Autonomy and the Control of Behaviour
Intentionality and personal causation: when people believe that desired outcomes will follow reliably
from certain behaviours and that they are competent to execute those behaviours
Autonomy: inner endorsement of ones actions, the sense that they emanate from oneself and are one’s
own.
- choice: organismic concept anchored in the sense of a fuller, more integrated functioning.
- endorsed by the whole self and is experienced as action for which one is responsible
Autonomy
- select desired outcomes and choose how to achieve them - flexibility and the absence of pressures
In contrast…

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Controlled
- greater rigidity- even with choice, you can be ‘pawns’ to desired outcomes, even though you intend to
achieve those outcomes
The distinction between Autonomy-Supportive vs. Controlling
(Deci & Ryan, 1980) hypothesized that autonomy supportive events and contexts would maintain or
enhance intrinsic motivagtion and that controlling events and contexts would undermine intrinsic
motivation.
Event: a specifiable occurrence or condition relevant to the initiation and regulation of behaviour. Eg.
Rewards
Rewards
Functional significance of control
External effect that restricts self-determination
Rewards have been found to undermine intrinsic motivation
Tend to display less interenest and willingness to work on activity after termination of rewards than did
people who had worked on the activity without receiving a reward
Undermining effect

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Present when rewards were expected, salient, contingent on task management
Performance-contingent rewards – generally been found to undermine intrinsic motivation, although
they have sometimes been shown to maintain or enhance intrinsic motivation when the controlling
aspect is minimized and competence cues are emphasized
Threats and Deadlines
Also decreases intrinsic motivation
Such as avoid unpleasant noise, or imposition of deadline
Evaluation and Surveillance
Also undermines intrinsic motivation, regardless of surveillance by video camera or in person
Tend to limit self-determination and thus reduce intrinsic motivation even when they are not
accompanied by explicit rewards or punishments
Choice
(Zuckerman et al, 1978) when college student subjects were given a choice about which puzzles to work
on, and about how much time to allot to each, they were more intrinsically motivated during a
subsequent period than were no choice subjects
Positive Feedback
Positive competence feedback increased intrinsic motivation only under certain circumstances or for
certain kinds of people
Neither supports autonomy nor controls behaviour, it can enhance intrinsic motivation by affirming
competence
Intrinsic motivation is based on the need for competence and the need for self determination, so
positive feedback will only increase intrinsic motivation when accompanied by the experience of self-
determination
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