chapter  5
60 Pages

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Children: Detrimental Effects of Mark R. Lepper

BySuperfluous Social Controls

Wright, 1965) and demonstrated that children’s subsequent behavior, as well as their reported attitudes, towards the previously forbidden activity was influenced by the strength of the prior prohibition. In the most impressive of these follow-up studies, Freedman (1965) showed significant increases in avoidance of the prohibited toy among mild-threat subjects some 6 weeks later, when these children were tested by another adult in a very different setting in which they were only inadvertently confronted with an opportunity to play with any or all of the toys they had previously encountered. Increased avoidance of the toy was not apparent, however, under either mild-or severethreat conditions when the children had been kept under close surveillance by the experimenter during the initial “temptation period. ” These data suggested that it was the experience of resisting temptation under conditions of minimal justificiation, and not the specific content of the two threats of punishment, that led to later devaluation and continued avoidance of the activity in the absence of further constraints.