13 Negative effects of reinforcement: Reduced intrinsic motivation and creativity Flashcards Preview

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What is the basic logic of reinforcement theory?

People will repeat actions that bring them good things; won't repeat actions that bring bad stuff. People will work to maximise pleasure and minimize pain.


What are some corollaries of the idea that human behaviour is motivated solely by acquisition of external rewards?

People are inherently greedy – they act only for gain
People are inherently lazy - only work if reward available
Coercion - for people to understand reward is contingent on behaviour, they must be denied the reward if no behaviour
Constant surveillance - to make sure people are rewarded/punished when behaviour is appropriate, the people must be observed


What were the results of Lepper and Greene 1973?

Children did art in three conditions (expected reward; no reward; unexpected reward). In the expected reward condition, 8.59% spent doing art; in other conditions, 16.73% and 18.09% respectively.


How can self-determination affect intrinsic motivation?

When activity not self-determined, it is less reinforcing. If external reward assigned, self-determination is undermined


How did Ryan (1982) demonstrate the "aversiveness of being controlled"?

Children doing task in room. Three conditions - no intervention, verbal praise -> no effect. When teacher combined verbal praise with "This is exactly what I want you to do", activity levels dropped.


In which cases does reinforcement reduce intrinsic interest?

Initial interest in the task is high
The reward is tangible
The reward is salient
The reward is expected
The reward fails to signal efficacy
The reward signals that the task is trivial


What is the overjustification hypothesis?

That people rationalise behaviour such that if external reward present, they will explain their behaviour in terms of seeking that reward (thereby assuming behaviour is not intrinsically rewarding)


How does Premackian theory explain how reinforcement might reduce intrinsic interest?

Premack's principle states that more probable (preferred) behaviours reinforce less probable (preferred) behaviours. Conversely, less preferred behaviour punishes more preferred. Rewards given to children are less preferred than intrinsic interest in task. Thus by offering children insignificant reward for task, they are effectively being punished.


How is superstition acquired?

Erroneously pairing behaviour with a biologically significant event


How did Pisacreta (1982) demonstrated how pigeons acquire stereotyped responses?

Pigeons could peck 10 keylights in any order to get food, but by about 3 months, pigeons would use one dominant sequence in 1/5 of trials. Five most dominant sequences accounted for half of responses. Experimented repeated on first-year students (1998) with same results.


Why does stereotyped responding demonstrate the ills of external reinforcement?

Because people working for reinforcement will fall into stereotyped patterns of behaviour - no creativity


What is an operant?

Any behaviour that produces the occurence of a reinforcer (eg. pressing a bar)


What did Page and Neuringer's 1985 study demonstrate about the how behaviour can be reinforced?

Pigeons would receive reinforcement only if pecked keylights in different order from last 30 times - variance in behaviour increased with trials. Quality of behaviour, rather than just behaviour itself, can be reinforced.


What distinctions between types of reward do Eisenberg and Cameron (1996) introduce?

1. Task-dependent reward, which is performance independent and task completion dependent

2. Performance-dependent reward - matters HOW you complete task


Why might quality-dependent reinforcers increase intrinsic motivation?

- Increase perceived competence/achievement
- Increase perceived self-determination
- Reduce the aversiveness of effort
- Reinforcement for minimal effort may convey task triviality; conversely, high performance criteria convey task's importance

Children anagram example - if asked to get six anagrams before reward, then increased performance. Signal that the quality of behaviour, not just behaviour itself, is important.


What is the formula for expected utility in expectancy-value theory?

Expected utility of an action = value of goal x probability of obtaining goal


What level of difficulty do people choose to optimise utility?

Moderately difficult - most balanced ratio of probability of success and utility of success. They know they can get it. People titrate their behaviour based on the probability of success of that behaviour.


What three things does an individual need to change behaviour?

1. Learn that the goal is valuable
2. Learn that the behaviour leads to the goal
3. Learn that they are capable of successfully obtaining the goal with that behaviour


How does probability affect utility of success?

Most valuable outcomes are hardest to obtain. Therefore if the probability of success (Ps) is high, the utility of success (Us) is low:

Us = 1 - Ps

But the expected utility of an action depends on how likely it is that the action will succeed:

EU = Ps x Us
EU = Ps x (1-Us)


What is the shape of the probability of success vs expected utility curve?

Inverted U


Why is it a mistake to tell children they're smart, according to Brummelman et al. (2013)?

Because if they fail, they think they're dumb. Praise process not child - "You did this in a clever way".