Objective. According to literature in occupational therapy and psychology, intrinsic motivation is thought to be enhanced if people can keep the end-product of an activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of keeping an end-product on intrinsic motivation.
Method. Fifty participants chose one of four activities (painting a ceramic vase, decorating cookies, stringing beads for a necklace, creating stationery) and performed two conditions (keep, no-keep) in counterbalanced order. Participants were timed in each condition and, after each condition, ranked their self-determination and competence, which are psychological needs underlying intrinsic motivation. Participants were interviewed at the end of the study to examine their experiences.
Results. Participants worked significantly longer on a chosen activity when the end-product could be kept and rated themselves significantly more self-determined and competent after performing the keep condition. However, further analysis revealed that these results depended on the activity chosen.
Conclusion. The findings support that keeping an end-product can enhance performance of an activity. However, because results were not consistent across all activity choices, further research is needed to characterize the meaningfulness of particular activities.