original paper

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 34-38

Motivational synchronicity: Priming motivational orientations with observations of others’ behaviors

  • Ron FriedmanAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester Email author 
  • , Edward L. DeciAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester
  • , Andrew J. ElliotAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester
  • , Arlen C. MollerAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of RochesterDepartment of Preventative Medicine, Northwestern University
  • , Henk AartsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Utrecht University

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Abstract

Two experiments tested the motivational synchronicity hypothesis, according to which observation of a target person’s behavior implying an intrinsic or an extrinsic motivational orientation primes the observers’ corresponding motivational orientation. Experiment 1 revealed that participants exposed to a target person intrinsically motivated to perform a task, relative to those exposed to an extrinsically motivated target person, showed greater intrinsic motivation (free-choice persistence) for the same task. Experiment 2 extended this in two important ways: (1) different tasks were used for the target and participant in order to rule out an expectation-based interpretation of the results, and (2) performance on an activity known to be facilitated by intrinsic motivation was used as the dependent measure. It appears that simply observing others’ motivational orientations influences the accessibility of the observers’ corresponding motivational orientation.

Keywords

Priming Motivational orientations Intrinsic motivation Synchronicity