Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Christina Frederick-Recascino, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shawn Doherty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Geoff Kain, Ph.D.


Cognitive Evaluation Theory was developed by Deci & Ryan, (1985) to explain factors that affect intrinsic motivation. This study was done to test this theory by having volunteers engage in direct and indirect competition while working on a simple task in a time-pressured environment. Specifically, it was predicted that task performance would be adversely affected in competition because participants would be focused on the outcome (winning versus losing), while being faced with a deadline for task completion. In addition, a reduction in intrinsic motivation toward the activity was expected. While these hypotheses were not supported, a proposal was made that certain environments may result in people becoming accustomed to competition and/or pressure, which would explain why this outcome occurred. In addition, females performed better and reported higher levels of intrinsic motivation, which is inconsistent with previous research.