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Summary

Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four schedules of outcomes on a problem solving task ascending, descending, constant success, and constant failure As predicted by White's theory of competence motivation, constant success subjects showed a sharp drop in desire to persist over time, interpreted as satiation of competence motivation Ascending subjects showed significantly more persistence than constant success subjects, with descending and constant failure subjects falling between these two conditions No differences on the final measure were found among conditions for liking for the task and attributions of causality, although significant differences between ascending and descending subjects were obtained on the difference scores, with ascending subjects showing more positive change than descending m liking and internal causality, from the first to the second measure