Evaluation and Intrinsic Motivation: The Double-Edged Sword
positive affect, intrinsic motivation, performance goal, achievement motivation, mastery goal
Each summer, one of us runs a basketball camp for youths, and is always astounded at the spirit of young athletes. They possess endless optimism, and the majority of the campers play basketball simply for the love of the game. Within the camp, different structured activities stress a variety of fundamentals. For example, some drills focus on skill improvement and developing competence at specific skills (e.g., dribbling, passing, shooting). Other drills are more competitive in nature (e.g., shooting contests), and focus on outperforming others. Both types of activities are focused on developing competence, and both involve some degree of evaluation in this instructional context. However, the competitive activities are particularly evaluative, and provide an opportunity for campers to demonstrate their competence compared to others. Campers know that a coach may be evaluating their performance, and typically the kids anticipate receiving performance feedback as a result of this evaluation. The coaches frequently comment on the markedly different reactions that campers have to these evaluative activities. Some kids thrive in competition, but do not appear to enjoy themselves as much in the absence of it, and even express boredom with skill-development activities. Other kids tend to withdraw when they are being evaluated, and seem to really enjoy the activities that are not as competitive.
Multiple Perspectives on the Effects of Evaluation on Performance: Toward an Integration