Publication

An affect misattribution pathway to perceptions of intrinsic reward

Leander, N. P., Kay, A. C., Chartrand, T. L. & Payne, B. K., Apr-2017, In : Social Cognition. 35, 2, p. 163-180 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Intrinsic rewards are typically thought to stem from an activity's inherent properties and not from separable rewards one receives from it. Yet, people may not consciously notice or remember all the subtle external rewards that correspond with an activity and may misattribute some directly to the activity itself. We propose that perceptions of intrinsic reward can often be byproducts of misattributed causal inference, and present some initial evidence that perceptions of intrinsic reward can in fact increase when words pertaining to an activity are subtly paired with pleasant context cues. Importantly, these effects follow classic boundary conditions of both misattribution and intrinsic motivation; insofar as they were extinguished when participants could make a proper source attribution and/or when the activity became associated with a blatant external reward. We further propose a distinction can be made between authentically "intrinsic" rewards and the illusion of intrinsic rewards caused by misattributed positive affect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Cognition
Volume35
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2017

    Keywords

  • intrinsic reward, misattribution, positive affect, MOTIVATION, EXPLANATIONS, ATTRIBUTION, JUDGMENTS, SALIENCE, BEHAVIOR, AROUSAL, SYSTEMS, GOALS

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