Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Douglas A. Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson,

Third Advisor

Dr. Heather M. McGee


Creativity, motivation, overjustification effect, rewards, performance

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Despite many decades of debate, the question of whether or not extrinsic motivation is detrimental to intrinsic motivation and creativity continues to spark discussion among professionals (Cameron & Pierce, 1994). This is an important issue for business owners who do not want to stifle creativity and intrinsic motivation in an effort to increase productivity. Even though many authors have labelled extrinsic motivation as archaic and harmful (Deci, 1971; Kohn, 1993; Pink, 2009), the available empirical evidence does not match such levels of condemnation. The purpose of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of several interventions (performance-contingent money, performance-contingent praise, and performance-contingent money plus praise) in increasing creativity. Two within-subject multiple reversal designs were used to examine the impact that these interventions had on 27 college students. A hybrid within subject and between group analysis was carried out. The within subject analysis involved visual inspection of graphs and showed a slight downward trend across all phases, beginning with the first session. A two-factor ANCOVA showed that neither money nor praise increased creative performance. The results contradicted both the overjustification effect and behavioral accounts regarding the impact on external rewards, although methodological concerns need to be resolved before this statement can be made with confidence.

Included in

Psychology Commons