The purpose of this study was to determine whether high motivational level facilitates performance on an easy motor task and impairs performance on a difficult one. The problem is suggested by the theoretical formulations of Hull (4) and Spence (12) and the experiments done within this framework. The theory states that a response tendency is some multiplicative combination of associative and motivational factors. The most obvious consequence of this formulation is that as motivational level increases, performance will increase. But this applies only to the simplest situations, in which there is but one response tendency to be augmented by increased motivation. A situation in which it is possible for the experimenter to keep a single response tendency dominant is classical defense conditioning. The prediction that speed and final level of conditioning will increase with augmented drive has been supported in a number of studies of conditioned eyelid closure (13, 14, 15, 16, 17). In this series of studies drive or motivation was manipulated by varying the intensity of the unconditioned stimulus (the air puff) or by dividing subjects (Ss) into high and low drive groups on the basis of their scores on the Taylor Scale of Manifest Anxiety.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1958 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Macek, Albert J.
"Effects of Motivation on the Performance of Difficult and Easy Motor Tasks,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 65(1), 359-369.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol65/iss1/54