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Overjustification Effect

Definition

Overjustification occurs when play becomes work as a result of payment or other reward. More formally, it is the process by which intrinsic interest in some activity or behavior is supplanted through the presentation of an extrinsic reward. An activity that was once interesting in and of itself becomes less interesting and less attractive after a person is rewarded for completing the activity. This leads to the ironic and surprising result that rewarding a behavior can inhibit future repetitions of that behavior.

The overjustification effect occurs when internalized motives are supplanted by external motives. It occurs because people do not have perfect access to the preferences and motives that guide their decisionmaking processes. These preferences are often inferred from observation of their own behavior, and sometimes ...

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