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When Effort Is Enjoyed: Two Studies of Intrinsic Motivation for Personally Salient Activities

Abstract

Distinctions between two philosophical conceptions of happiness, hedonism and eudaimonism, were applied to the study of intrinsic motivation. Modified versions of the Personally Expressive Activities Questionnaire (PEAQ) were used in two studies to contrast activities, all of which were enjoyed, but which differed in the level of effort involved. In Study 1, 173 college students were free to choose any type of activity that met the selection criteria. In Study 2, the activities chosen by 95 undergraduates were limited to activities associated with a particular leisure time or hobby activity in which the respondents engaged on a regular basis. Consistent results across the two studies indicate that High Effort–Liked activities, in comparison to Low Effort–Liked activities, were associated with greater interest, flow, and feelings of personal expressiveness, greater perceived competence, and higher scores for both self-realization values and importance. These differences are discussed for their implications for the conceptual understanding of intrinsic motivation.

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Correspondence to Alan S. Waterman.

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Waterman, A.S. When Effort Is Enjoyed: Two Studies of Intrinsic Motivation for Personally Salient Activities. Motiv Emot 29, 165–188 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-005-9440-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-005-9440-4

Keywords

  • intrinsic motivation
  • effort
  • flow
  • self-determination
  • self-realization