AWARENESS OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CUES AS A FUNCTION OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND MOTIVATIONAL SUBSYSTEMS

BARBARA L WHEELER, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated people's awareness of cues in relation to the interaction of causality orientation, a person variable, with motivational subsystem, a situational variable. These variables are facets of cognitive evaluation theory, proposed by Deci to explain intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.^ Two problems were examined. The first concerned whether people with high internal causality orientations and/or who were intrinsically motivated were aware of internal cues such as emotions or bodily sensations. Conversely, it concerned whether those with high external causality orientations and/or who were extrinsically motivated were aware of external cues such as the environment or other people. The second problem concerned whether causality orientations and motivational subsystems interacted to affect behavior.^ Everyone in the sample of 95 college students filled out a causality orientation assessment. Some then answered a question designed to elicit their baseline awareness of cues. Next, all were shown hidden figure puzzles, generally found to be intrinsically motivating. While they worked on these puzzles, they received feedback found in previous research to alter intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. These motivational changes were intended as the situational variable. Finally, subjects were left alone to first answer the cue assessment question, then do whatever they wished. The percentage of this free-choice time spent on the hidden figure puzzles was the behavioral measure of intrinsic motivation.^ Major findings were: (a) no baseline relationship between causality orientations and awareness of cues existed; (b) external causality orientation predicted awareness of external cues following the intervention; (c) those who answered the initial cue question were more aware of internal cues following the intervention and also performed better on the puzzles during the free-choice period; (d) internal causality orientation predicted puzzle performance during the free-choice period; (e) subjects with higher internal causality orientations were older; (f) the feedback had no effects; and (g) gender did not affect motivation or awareness of cues.^ The results were interpreted using a model of interaction of person, situation, and behavior. Recommendations were made for further study of people's awareness of cues. It was also suggested that the effects of feedback on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation be investigated further. Finally, implications for educational practice were discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology

Recommended Citation

WHEELER, BARBARA L, "AWARENESS OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CUES AS A FUNCTION OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN CAUSALITY ORIENTATIONS AND MOTIVATIONAL SUBSYSTEMS" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8409272.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8409272

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