Article | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | January 1986

Social Influences on Creativity: The Effects of Contracted-For Reward

by T. M. Amabile, B. A. Hennessey and B. S. Grossman

Abstract

Three studies, with 195 5–11 yr olds and 60 female undergraduates, tested the hypothesis that explicitly contracting to do an activity in order to receive a reward would have negative effects on creativity, but receiving no reward or only a noncontracted-for reward would have no such negative effects. Children performed story-telling and collage-making tasks and were rewarded with an activity, while undergraduates performed the collage-making task and were paid or not paid for their participation. All 3 studies supported the hypothesis. This support appeared to be strong and generalizable across different S populations, reward types, reward presentations, and creativity tasks. Possible mechanisms for the phenomenon are discussed in terms of choice, intrinsic motivation, and the labeling of the task.

Keywords: Social Psychology; Creativity; Motivation and Incentives; Situation or Environment;

Citation:

Amabile, T. M., B. A. Hennessey, and B. S. Grossman. "Social Influences on Creativity: The Effects of Contracted-For Reward." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50, no. 1 (January 1986): 14–23.