The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

The Effects of Competition on Test Taking Speed


Sean Kortschot


Motivational factors have a large influence on the speed and effort driving behaviours and mental processes (Mir et al., 2011). These motivational factors, called incentives, come in 2 main classes: Intrinsic, a motivation driven by internal reward, and extrinsic, motivation driven by an external reward (Deci, 1972). The present study tested how motivational factors influence test taking speed under the influence of intrinsic or extrinsic incentives. Participants were asked to complete a simple match-to-sample task using a 26 symbol cipher, either at the same time as another participant, or by themselves, and were either instructed to complete it a-^ fast as possible, or instructed to complete it at their own pace. A significant relationship was found for the main effect of the experiment—the influence of pairing on test completion time (F= 6.05, p < .05). The secondary effect of interest was the difference in completion time between pairs of participants. Again, this was found to be significant (F = 36.439, p < .05). These results were discussed at length in terms of the variation in influence of competition and incentive in relation to the Yerkes-Dodson Law.

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