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Summary

A high expectancy of success in playing a “fishing game” was established for all subjects (fourth-grade children) Subjects then played the fishing game for money A nonsense syllable was associated with the money. Half of the subjects were frustrated in their attempts to obtain the money, while the remaining subjects were rewarded in their attempts The dependent measures indicated that, relative to rewarded and control subjects, frustrated subjects (a) looked at pictures of money more often, (b) overestimated the size of money, and (c) attributed more positive statements to the syllable associated with reward Subjects frustrated on a larger reward showed these effects to a greater extent than subjects frustrated on a smaller reward These data support the hypothesis that the incentive value of a reward, and of salient neutral stimuli associated with the reward, is increased by frustration, and that this effect is strengthened by the use of larger rewards.