Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 319–336 | Cite as

Use of techniques promoting students' self-determination: Effects on students' analytic problem-solving skills

  • Ann K. Boggiano
  • Cheryl Flink
  • Ann Shields
  • Aubyn Seelbach
  • Marty Barrett

Abstract

Based on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1987, 1991), we assessed the effect of controlling strategies and restricted choice options on students' performance on analytic reason problems. Subjects in the controlling-directives condition were told by their “teacher” that a given strategy was the way students “should” solve a set of analytical problems. Although subjects in the noncontrolling-directives condition were taught the same strategy, they were encouraged to use any strategy they chose to solve the identical problems. The results indicated, as predicted, that subjects in the controlling-directives condition performed significantly worse than subjects in the noncontrolling-directives condition on a subsequent set of analytic reasoning problems, when tested by an experimenter who was unaware of a subject's condition. Interestingly, subjects in the controlling-directives condition regarded the teacher as qualitatively more competent than noncontrolling-directives subjects, in spite of their poorer performance. Furthermore, feelings about the task, mood differences, or perceptions of performance as a function of condition did not account for these findings. The data are discussed as they relate to the theoretical and practical import of the deleterious use of controlling techniques in a number of contexts, as well as adults' erroneous beliefs about controlling strategies.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann K. Boggiano
    • 1
  • Cheryl Flink
    • 1
  • Ann Shields
    • 1
  • Aubyn Seelbach
    • 1
  • Marty Barrett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulder

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