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Keywords:

  • regulatory mode;
  • task motivation;
  • effort investment;
  • goal attainment

Abstract

This research investigates the relation between regulatory-mode (Higgins, Kruglanski, & Pierro, 2003; Kruglanski et al., 2000) and task motivation. Four studies conducted in diverse field and laboratory settings support the notions that ‘locomotion’, i.e. a self-regulatory emphasis on movement from state to state, is positively related to intrinsic task motivation, whereas ‘assessment’, i.e. a self-regulatory tendency to emphasize comparative appraisal of entities and states (such as goals and means) is positively related to extrinsic motivation. It is further found that ‘locomotion’, but not ‘assessment’, is positively related to effort investment, which, in turn, is positively related to goal attainment. Attainment is, additionally, predicted by an interaction of locomotion and assessment, such that individuals are most likely to reach their goals if they are high on both these dimensions. Taken as a body, these findings highlight the relevance of regulatory-mode concepts to the study of task motivation and activity experience. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.