David Vazquez (UC Riverside)
Sustained Attention and Dispositional Motivation: Top-down Influences on Cognitive Performance
Despite recognition of participants’ motivations as factors in cognitive experiments, few studies have examined the role of dispositional motivation on cognitive performance. An information-processing framework that incorporates Deci and Ryan’s (1985) differing levels of motivation (intrinsic, extrinsic, amotivated) would suggest that motivation mediates top-down resource allocation in various cognitive tasks to differing degrees. In order to explore this possibility, we measured participants’ (n=102) performance on various cognitive tasks, including the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART), self-report on the Academic Motivation Scale, as well as performance IQ. Results indicate a negative trending relationship between extrinsic motivation and error on the SART, r = -.18, p = .06. Moreover, we found no relationship between performance IQ and either motivation or SART performance, confirming the independent influence of motivation on behavior. Results will be considered in light of understanding individual differences in long-term motivation and offer insights for building cognitive profiles of differently motivated individuals.