Effects of Reward and Task Constraint

  • Teresa M. Amabile
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


One of the most fascinating and frustrating aspects of creativity is that, in some ways, it defies effort. Unlike most desirable behaviors that psychologists study, creative behavior cannot be achieved simply by trying. Even individuals who have previously distinguished themselves for outstanding creativity often fail to produce creative work, despite their best efforts. Indeed, these individuals— for example, writers suffering “writer’ s block”— often complain that the harder they try, the more meager their success. Recall the excerpt from Dostoevsky’ s letter that was presented in Chapter 1. There, he described the extreme difficulty he encountered in writing a commissioned novel: “I believe you have never written to order, by the yard, and have never experienced that hellish torture” (Allen, 1948, p. 231). These difficulties often seem to arise when people attempt to meet the demands of others— in other words, when they try for the wrong reasons.


Intrinsic Motivation Choice Condition Task Constraint Intrinsic Interest Reward Condition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa M. Amabile
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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