Does Unconscious Reward Undermine Intrinsic Motivation?

[Speaker] Ichimura, Kenshiro:1
[Co-author] Fujino, Masahiro:1, Okada, Akiho:2, Kobatake, Junichi:2, Kusumi, Takashi:1
1:Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University (Japan), 2:Faculty of Education, Kyoto University (Japan)

Contrary to the common belief that monetary reward enhances human motivation, it is well understood that performance-based monetary reward can undermine an individual's intrinsic motivation. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether this "undermining effect" is linked to unconscious monetary reward cues. Seventy-two participants performed a game-like task involving a stopwatch with conditions of no reward, subliminal reward, or supraliminal reward. Intrinsic motivation for the task was measured by the number of times they attempted the task during a free choice period (behavioral measure) and answers to a questionnaire scale (self-report measure). Results showed that even though self-reported intrinsic motivation was higher in the supraliminal reward group than the other two groups, behavioral intrinsic motivation was undermined in the supraliminal reward group and also in the subliminal reward group. These results indicated that undermining effect affected intrinsic motivation in unconscious reward processing.
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