Motivation as a function of success frequency

Katinka van der Kooij*, Lars in ‘t Veld, Thomas Hennink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

It is well-established that intermediate challenge is optimally motivating. We tested whether this can be quantified into an inverted-U relationship between motivation and success frequency. Participants played a game in which they navigated a scene to catch targets. In Experiment 1 (N = 101), play duration was free and the motivating value of success frequency was measured from the probability that a player would continue at that frequency. In Experiment 2 (N = 70), play duration was fixed, and motivation was measured using repeated self-reports. In Experiment 1, the probability to continue increased linearly with the success frequency whereas play duration did show the inverted-U relationship with success frequency. In Experiment 2, self-reported motivation showed the inverted-U relationship with success frequency. Together, this shows that motivation depends on success frequency. In addition, we provide tentative evidence that the concept of intermediate challenge being most motivating can be quantified into an inverted-U relationship between motivation and success frequency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume45
Issue number6
Early online date30 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by NWO OTP Grant 15989.

Funding Information:
Author K. van der Kooij is funded by an Open Technology Program grant by the Dutch Research Council that involves bi-annual discussion of the research results with developers of rehabilitation games. Author Lars in ‘t Veld declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Thomas Hennink declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Flow
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Motivation
  • Reward
  • Success

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