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Paper Topic:

Research Methods in Psychology (A report on our class experiment)


The Effects of Problem and the Reward System on Task Performance

MinJee Kang

Northwestern University

November 8 , 2007


The present study was designed to determine the effect of problem and reward on task performance . Participants were given eleven mathematical problems to solve wherein five of the problems were solvable by one formula , the Einstellung formula , and six were test problems solvable by both the Einstellung formula and other simpler formulas . The set problems solvable by the Einstellung formula were

br either presented before or after the test problems . The design also involved splitting the two groups into reward-present and reward-absent groups . It was found that the presentation of set problems before test problems significantly increased the number of answers with the Einstellung formula . However , the hypothesis that the presence of reward would decrease this effect was rejected

The Effects of Task and the Reward System on Task Performance

There is a tendency to apply similar solutions or formula to given numerical problems . This mental set is referred to as Einstellung (Luchins , 1946 . In Luchins 's experiment (1946 , mathematical problems were given to participants to solve . Included in the group were Einstellung solutions and several variant solutions . The participants were grouped into two . The first comprised of those who answered the set problems , those with Einstellung solutions , prior to the test problems those with variant solutions , and the second comprised of those who answered all the problems at random (Luchins , 1946

The study regarding set and test problems is of particular interest in this present study . The researchers had studied the effect of introducing set problems as a group prior to test problems however there was no indication as to the effect of presenting test problems prior to set problems and on the relevance of Einstellung solutions in such a case . The studies presented form the basis of this study 's hypothesis that participants exposed to set problems before test problems would manifest more Einstellung solutions than those exposed to test problems prior to set problems

The situation with the Einstellung solutions entails that participants are interested in finishing the problems with as little effort as possible as the reapplication of previous formula might give them the same correct result as in prior problems . Previous research regarding low interest tasks as well as those given small attention by participants have been shown to interact with the presence of reward situations . The low interest tasks were deemed as non-intrinsically motivated thus researchers attempted to extrinsically motivate participants to accomplish the task well . The extrinsic motivation given to participants did significantly affect task performance as the participants were motivated to finish the task in the fastest , shortest and simplest way possible in to achieve the extrinsic goal . Given the nature of the task given to the participants in this particular study , it was hypothesized by the researchers that the presence of an incentive system would lessen the presence of...

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