Priming autonomous and controlling motivation and effects on persistence

Image credit: Trishna Patnaik


The present studies examined whether priming distinct motivational states influenced persistence at a task designed to promote repeated failure, and post-task plans for engaging in self-regulatory activity. Two double-blind, between-subject experiments (Study 1 N = 58; Study 2 N = 92) involved participants being randomized to Autonomous Motivation, Controlling Motivation, or Neutral prime conditions using a scrambled-sentence test. Participants then attempted an impossible persistence task that promoted repeated failure. Following, participants reported their plans to engage in exercise. Using frequentist and Bayesian analyses, Study 1, Study 2, and an internal meta-analysis showed no differences in persistence or planned exercise across priming conditions, thus contrasting with previous research. Unanticipated moderation effects or motivational priming effects being smaller than those inputted into a priori power analyses may be the most likely reasons for these findings.

Current Psychology
Stephen Murphy
Stephen Murphy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology

My research interests include self-regulation, motivation, meta-science, data science, and digital wellbeing.