Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Psychology



First Advisor

Dana Chesney

Second Advisor

Robin Wellington


Previous research has shown that motivation plays a vital role in what we remember. Motivation can be either extrinsic (e.g., a reward for doing well) or intrinsic (e.g., wanting to do well). Here we test if intrinsic motivation improves Working Memory (WM) performance. In an online study, undergraduate students (N=358, 334 after excluding participants that did not complete at least 25% of the survey) completed reverse letter span tasks, recalling 42 sets of 4-9 letters that were shown for one second in reverse order. We manipulate intrinsic motivation via feedback. Participants were randomly assigned to feedback (FB) and no-feedback (NFB) conditions. The FB group was informed if their answers were right or wrong, while the NFB group received no feedback on their answers. Preliminary analysis found that the participants who received feedback answered more items perfectly (M = 15.8, SD = 7.6) than participants who did not receive feedback (M = 14.4, SD = 7.9) but this difference was not significant (F(1,332) = 2.500, p = .115, hp 2 = 0.002). Our results call for further investigation regarding feedback, intrinsic motivation, and WM and demonstrate potential correlation(s) between these variables.

Included in

Psychology Commons