The role of impulsive processes in self-determination theory: investigating the effects of implicit and explicit measures of motivation across a range of behaviours

Keatley, David (2013) The role of impulsive processes in self-determination theory: investigating the effects of implicit and explicit measures of motivation across a range of behaviours. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The current thesis reports six studies investigating the predictive validity and effects of implicit and explicit measures of motivation from self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2008; Edmunds, Ntoumanis, & Duda, 2007; Ryan & Deci, 2000b), across a range of behaviours. In addition, the suitability of a dual-systems model (Strack & Deutsch, 2004) as a conceptual framework to understand the effects of implicit and explicit measures of motivation is also addressed. The research in this thesis, which focuses on integrating implicit processes and self-determination theory literature, was a novel area at the commencement of research. Therefore, the research conducted is of central importance in adding to the literature by examining the effects of implicit processes on motivation, thereby providing a better overall picture and adding knowledge by incorporating implicit processes alongside explicit measure from SDT.

In the first study, implicit measures of motivation were used to test whether autonomous and controlled forms of motivation could be measured separately at the implicit level. This study advanced knowledge of the processes by which different forms of motivation from SDT influence behaviour by comparing the predictive validity of explicit measures of motivation and a newly developed implicit measure of motivation from SDT for 20 health-related behaviours. A dual-systems model was adopted to explain the process by which implicitly-measured motivation from SDT provided unique prediction of behaviour above explicit measures. Separate structural equation models of the proposed model for each behaviour indicated some support for the role of implicit measures of motivation; however, intention provided more consistent, significant prediction across most behaviours.

Following on from the results of the first study, a second study was conducted to assess the predictive validity of an alternative implicit measure of motivation from SDT in explaining variance in three health-related behaviours (condom use, healthy-eating, and physical activity). The implicit association test was adopted to develop a measure of implicit forms of motivation from SDT due to its increased support in the wider-literature (Greenwald, Nosek, & Banaji, 2003). Interactions between implicit and explicit measures of motivation were also analysed consistent with Perugini's (2005) proposal of an interaction or multiplicative pattern of effects for the implicit and explicit processes. Consistent with Perugini's proposal, the dual-systems model also outlines that the two systems may interact; therefore, directly testing this was necessary. Results indicated that only implicitly-measured motivation predicted physical activity, whereas explicit measures significantly predicted physical activity, healthy eating, and condom use.

Based on the findings from the first two studies, and other research conducted in the wider-literature (Perugini, 2005; Perugini, O'Gorman, & Prestwich, 2007), there was increasing support for the view that the predictive validity of implicit measures may be biased towards behaviours that are more spontaneous or unplanned in their initiation. Chapter 4 outlines two studies that were conducted to test the predictive validity of implicit measures of motivation from SDT for novel behaviours with which participants had little or no previous experience and administered without their prior knowledge, therefore, not allowing them the chance to plan or prepare. Results showed that the implicit measure of motivation significantly predicted both behaviours. These studies, when taken in conjunction with the prior studies, also provided insight into the double-dissociation pattern of effects between implicit and explicit measures. Essentially, it may be that implicit measures of motivation better predict spontaneous behaviours, whilst explicit measures of motivation better predict planned or deliberative behaviours.

A further study was conducted into the role of implicit motivation in students' academic achievement (Chapter 5). This provided a stringent test of the predictive validity of the implicit measure of motivation, as it was administered at the beginning of the academic years and used to predict students' grades (taken as an indicator of behavioural engagement with academic work) at the end of the year. Given the findings from previous studies (e.g., Burton, Lydon, D'Alessandro, & Koestner, 2006), motivation for different academic behaviours (e.g., studying throughout the year, revision for exams, and coursework) was measured. Results indicated that implicitly measured motivation consistently predicted grades at the end of the year.

The final study of the thesis focused on another pertinent issue in psychometric assessment. Self-report measures of individuals' motivation and other psychological constructs have been shown to affect subsequent behaviour, frequently referred to as the mere-measurement effect (Conner, Godin, Norman, & Sheeran, 2011; Godin et al., 2010). While this effect has been shown for explicit measures, an important outstanding question is whether the same effect generalises to implicit measures. Given increases in the use of implicit measures in research on motivation, this issue is important to consider in research. A Solomon (1949) four-group design was adopted to investigate the possibility of implicit measures of motivation affecting subsequent interventions, and behaviour. Results showed that completion of an implicit measure of motivation significantly decreased behavioural engagement. Furthermore, a significant interaction between implicit measurement and priming manipulations indicates the possibility of a suppression effect, such that the relative implicit measure of autonomous and controlled motivation lowers the effect of a prime for autonomous motivation.

In the concluding chapter (Chapter 7) findings from the empirical studies reported in the thesis in terms of the wider research area is discussed. Firstly, the role of implicit measures of motivation appears to predict behaviours that are spontaneous, or unplanned, while explicit measures better predict planned or deliberate behaviours. This distinction fits within the wider literature on the patterns of implicit and explicit processes (see Perugini, 2005). Secondly, some limited support is shown throughout the chapters for a dual-systems model as a conceptual framework for explicit and implicit, or reflective and impulsive processes. Furthermore, the limitations and scope of the studies reported in the thesis are outlined and suggestions for future research based on the research provided.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Clarke, D.D.
Heym, N.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 14531
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 12:05
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 03:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14531

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