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Achievement Standards for Contingent Self-Reinforcement: Effects of Task Length and Task Difficulty

John C. Masters and Monica D. Christy
Child Development
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Mar., 1974), pp. 6-13
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1127744
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1127744
Page Count: 8
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Achievement Standards for Contingent Self-Reinforcement: Effects of Task Length and Task Difficulty
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Abstract

It was hypothesized that socialization within an achievement-oriented culture would encourage children to adjust the amount of contingent self-reward according to the length and difficulty of a task. Second-grade children completed long-easy, long-difficult, short-easy, and short-difficult versions of 3 tasks and set their own amount of reward following each. Long tasks were judged to merit greater amounts of reward than shorter ones, but the effect of difficulty varied across tasks. It is proposed that an additional factor, namely, the quality or accuracy of performance, was also governing level of self-reward. Individual differences in amount of self-reward were consistent across tasks.

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