All about Over Justification Effect

The over justification effect that is also called the undermining effect or Over sufficient Justification is the effect whereby giving someone an incentive to do something that they already enjoy doing decreases their intrinsic motivation to do it. As a result of the extrinsic incentive, the person views his or her actions as externally motivated rather than intrinsically appealing. By rewarding the person for performing an activity they already thoroughly find enjoyable, the interest diminishes in that individual’s enjoyment of the task. In general, intrinsic motivation decreases in response to tangible but not verbal rewards for behavior. According to Self-perception theory, people undergo over justification effect because by observing what they do and why they did it, gaining self-insight into their behavior, the extrinsic motivation appears to be the main cause and so undermines or weakens their intrinsic motivation.

The tendency for intrinsic motivation becomes reduced during those activities that have become attributed to extrinsic motivation; the behavior or activity becomes over justified or over rewarded. For some individuals extrinsic factors can enhance their interest in an activity. By rewarding an incentive for outstanding performance on a certain task, it can boost the intrinsic motivation by offering positive feedback and response. It all depends on who is receiving the award, why they are receiving the award, and how the reward is perceived.

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