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Erzsébet Németh: Complex Investigation of Behavior and Attitude Changes Caused by External Stimuli

The aim of our series of investigations was to examine the complex behavioural and attitudinal changes caused by rewarding interpreted as an external stimulus. Methods: 197 first-grade pupils' (6–7-year-olds) task was to put a circle a the differences found on the illustrations they were given. The task was the same for all the children, but they were divided into tree groups with to respect rewards: the fist group was not given any rewards; the second group could draw from a „lucky dip” after every fifth score; the third group got public feedback on their achievement. After completing the first task the children could choose, whether to go out to play in the school-yard or to ask for another similar exercise. The children were told that no reward would be given for further correct solutions. Measurements: The degree of intrinsic motivation is shown by the spontaneous activities performed without any reward. The number of correctly identified details in the first task was considered as the measure of achievement. Results: The external reinforcement methods used by in our study reduced intrinsic motivation while the quantitative indicators of achievement rose. Furthermore, rewarding also affected the additional components of behavior: it reduced the creativity and spontaneous activity of the people performing a task, and it also influenced their discipline and focus of attention.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 98. Number 4. 319-338. (1998)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Németh Erzsébet, Semmelweis Orvostudományi Egyetem, Magatartástudományi Intézet, H–1089 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia