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MOTIVATION AND SELF-REGULATION

IN THE BATTLE AGAINTS


ACADEMIC PROCRASTINATION

Bachelorarbeit
zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades “Bachelor of Science” (B.Sc.)
eingereicht
beim Prüfungsausschuss für den Bachelor-Studiengang
Economics (Politische Ökonomik)
der
Fakultät für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften der
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
2019

Verfasserin: Anna Mindova


Matrikelnummer: 3023348
Geboren in: Stara Zagora, Bulgarien
Email: anna.mindova@gmail.com
Anschrift: Dammerstockstraße 15
76199 Karlsruhe
Erklärung

Hiermit versichere ich, dass ich die vorliegende Arbeit selbstständig und
ohne unerlaubte fremde Hilfe verfasst habe und dass alle wörtlich oder
sinngemäß aus Veröffentlichungen entnommene Stellen dieser Arbeit unter
Quellenangabe einzeln kenntlich gemacht sind.

Heidelberg, 25.03.2019 _______________________


(Unterschrift)
Contents

I. Abstract..............................................................................................1
II. Introduction ..............................................................................................1
1. Why procrastination? …..............................................................................1
2. Why self-regulation and motivation?.........................................................2
2.1. Self-Control and Self-Regulation ….....................................................2
2.2. Importance of self-regulation ….........................................................2
2.3. Motivation and self-regulation ….......................................................3
2.4. Importance of motivation …...............................................................4
III. Methods ….........................................................................................5
1. Procrastination...........................................................................................5
1.1. Functional and Dysfunctional forms of delay.....................................5
1.2. Systematization of theoretical approaches
towards procrastination....................................................................6
1.3. Implications of procrastinatory behavior...........................................9
1.4. Characteristics are typical for procrastinators...................................9
1.4.1 Perfectionism and procrastination............................................9
1.4.2. Procrastination, feeling of incompetence and pessimism......10
2. Self-regulation..........................................................................................11
2.1. Underregulation and missregulation...............................................11
2.2. Structure of self-regulation process.................................................11
2.3. Self-regulation is like a muscle.........................................................12
2.4. Self-Control and Procrastination......................................................13

2.4.1 Perspectives of relation between


procrastination and self-control..............................................13
2.4.2. Procrastination, self-control failure and
emotional well-being..............................................................13
3. Motivation................................................................................................15
3.1. Types of motivation..........................................................................15
3.1.1. Intrinsic Motivation.................................................................15
3.1.2. Extrinsic Motivation................................................................16
3.1.3. Amotivation............................................................................17
3.2. Motivation and academic achievement...........................................17
3.3. Variables that influence intrinsic motivation...................................19
3.3.1. Self-determination and competence......................................20
3.3.2. Praise, involvement and intrinsic motivation (Study)…..........21
3.3.3. External rewards and intrinsic motivation..............................21
3.3.4. Monetary and non-monetary rewards
and intrinsic motivation..........................................................22
3.4. Motivation and procrastination......................................................25
4. Self-determination theory........................................................................26
4.1. Self-regulation, motivation and
procrastination in self-determination framework..........................27
IV. Summary..........................................................................................29
V. Literature..........................................................................................30
I. Abstract
Procrastination is a major problem not only in the academic world, but also
has a very significant impact on each life-domain. The aim of this paper is to
analyze the influence that self-regulation and motivation have on
procrastination particularly in the academic life and how both phenomena
can contribute for a decrease into “putting off” behavior. Each of the three
processes will be described in more detail, also their interactions with other
variables that influence them will be presented in order to gain a deeper
understanding of their nature. Briefly the motivation of the paper will be
discussed and why exactly motivation and self-control are the two center
methods used. Systematization of procrastination and also, its predictors will
be also considered. After establishing the structure of self-regulation
process, its relation to procrastination will be analyzed. Determinants of
achievement motivation and the correlation with delaying behavior will also
be taken under consideration.

II. Introduction
1. Why procrastination?
Understanding the nature of procrastination is crucial, mainly because it is a
very big and influential phenomenon in the academic domain, approximately
80%-90% from the students are procrastinating (Ellis, Knaus,1977; O´Brien,
2002) and the most alarming part is that numbers are constantly growing
(Kachgal, Hansen, Nutter, 2001). Delaying to act upon an intention is a
common problem, not only within students but also is widespread behavior
among adults. Researches show that 29% of hundred adults are postponing
computing their taxes and 42% from those hundred people are postponing
to set some money aside (Kasper, 2004). Many studies from different
countries show that with aging, people generally tend to procrastinate less if
they live in countries or environment where self-discipline is valued and
central concept into the upbringing, or if the individuals have good
education, are married and respectively live in stable family environment, or
have a good, secure job (Ferrari et al., 2005, 2007, 2009; Gröpel and Steel,
2008; Steel and Ferrari, 2013; Beutel et al., 2016). Another statistical data
reveals that nearly 50% from the adults are claiming to procrastinate from
time to time and only 20% postpone different activities most of the time
(Harriott and Ferrari, 1996). The percentage of adult procrastinators is
relatively big and one possible explanation for this occurrence is because
typical procrastinatory behavior for the academic world decreases with age

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but in the same time it is being substituted with other forms of dysfunctional
delaying related to different life-domains (Ferrari et al., 1995). The statistic is
very frightening, as well as the negative impact that such behavior has on
humans physical and mental health such as depression, anxiety, stress
(Kağan 2009; Sirois 2014; Steel 2007; Stöber and Joormann 2001) and on the
life satisfaction in general (Caldwell and Mowrer 1998; Çapan 2010; Deniz
2006; Hinsch and Sheldon2013; Özer ,Saçkes 2011; Steel 2010). The huge
influence of procrastination is an evidence of its very strong negative impact
on people and its very complicated nature, consisting many aspects related
to feelings and intuition, to the mind and to the matter of behaving in
general (Solomon and Rothblum1984). Most procrastinatinators refer to this
phenomenon as very concerning, damaging, and irrational (Briody, 1980),
and over 95% of the affected people then want to minimize the extent of its
influence on their life (O’Brien, 2002).
2. Why self-regulation and motivation?
2.1. Self-Control and Self-Regulation
There is a clarification to be made between the processes of self-control and
self-regulation. Although both terms are very often used by many authors to
describe the same phenomenon (e.g., Baumeister, 2000; Muraven et al.,
1998; Steel, 2007), which will be the case in this paper, but generally there is
a differentiation to be made between them. Self-regulation is a process
focused more on developing, modeling particular behavior of the individual
that assures the achievement of specific goal and self-control on the other
hand is a mechanism more oriented towards restraining the individual from
certain behavior provoked by impulses and temptations, that are overall not
consistent with the already settled self-regulation path (Baumeister, 2002).
Self-control functions because of the resources provided by self-regulation
such as thoughts, emotions, and actions (Kanfer, 1977).

2.2. Importance of self-regulation


Self-regulation is one of the main concepts that will be used in this paper for
achieving better explanation and deeper understanding of the
procrastinatory. “Self-regulation is thus a key to success in human life and,
when it falls short, a contributing cause that helps explain many forms of
human suffering.” (Baumeister, Schmeichel, Vohs 2007, p.2). Self-regulation
has a major impact of people’s life and when the whole process is working
smoothly a person is then able to adjust his/her behavior and to follow
either certain rules, or their own plans, ideals, etc. If there is a flaw in the
self-regulatory mechanism and it doesn’t functions properly the
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consequences for the individual and for the society in general could be very
serious because many researchers proved that most of the social problems
that our society face nowadays such as debt, sexually transmitted diseases,
unwanted pregnancy violent and criminal behavior, could be significantly
reduced if people master their self-control capability (Baumeister 2002;
Baumeister Schmeichel, Vohs 2007; Gottfredson & Hirschi 1990). Tangney
and Baumeister (2000) as well Tangney, Baumeister, and Boone (2004)
conducted a research which results were in support of this statement
(Baumeister 2002). The research is based on a measurement of the self-
control abilities of many participants, evaluation of the participant’s
achievements in different life spheres and a comparison between differences
in the performances and their corresponding self-control level. The findings
were conclusive: people who have managed to develop their self-control
abilities, accomplish generally more in each of the tested life domains.
Individuals that try to alter their behavior and successfully attain self-
regulation are less likely to form either eating disorders, or mental health
issues or even problems with substance abuse and therefore can manage
their emotions better, have better relationships, higher self-esteem, etc.
(Baumeister Schmeichel, Vohs 2007). Another important result from the
conducted research is that not only someone's personal life is affected from
the benefits or disadvantages which different levels of self-regulation
delivers, but if a person has strong or weak self-control abilities impacts also
those around them, the community, and the society at large are either
positive or negative influenced.

2.3. Motivation and self-regulation


Essential, but unfortunately understudied aspect of the self-regulation
theory is the role of motivation, without a desire to accomplish something,
to hold on to plans promises, follow rules, etc. nothing can be done
(Baumeister Schmeichel, Vohs 2007) and without the drive, without the
initiative to succeeded, self- regulation mechanism can’t function properly. If
there is enough level of the appropriate motivation the outcomes of self-
regulatory process can be always improved. (Higgins 2000).
The interesting fact is that self-regulation process can’t be impeccable
executed if there is lack of motivation but adequate level of motivation itself
can compensate for the lack of self-regulation strength due to

3
exhaustion1(Muraven, Slessareva 2003). Two researches were made
(Muraven, Slessareva, 2003) to investigate the role of incentives respectively
the motivation of participants that operate on very low self-regulatory level.
Experiment 1 was more focused on the participant’s performance when the
proposed incentives are very significant, namely, other people are
depending on how good they will perform. Experiment 2 on the other hand
tested the participants under conditions when the level of their
accomplishment only affects them which represents in the framework of the
study not so significant incentive.
The results from the conducted experiments proved a theory, namely, even
when someone is facing difficulties to exert self-regulatory behavior,
because its capacity was temporarily depleted the performance can be
manipulated through different levels of motivation or incentives which
delivers the individual the needed kick towards better performance.
2.4. Importance of motivation
As already mentioned, procrastinatory behavior is mostly to be observed in
the academic life which is the reason why most of the researchers chose to
concentrate and conduct their studies in this field. Various of analysis and
experiments with students led to the conclusion that motivation is a key
factor for increasing student’s behavioral attainments, such as, persistence
(Vallerand et al. 1997) and achievement (Fortier, Vallerand, Guay, 1995;
Grolnick, Ryan, Deci 1991; Guay, Vallerand, 1997; Miserandino, 1996;
Ratelle, Guay, Vallerand, Larose, & Sene´cal, 2007, Studies 2 and 3) and also
for buildup of their cognitive outcomes e.g. learning (Benware, Deci, 1984;
Grolnick, Ryan 1987; Vansteenkiste et al., 2004), challenge seeking
(Boggiano, Main, & Katz, 1988) and creativity (Runco, 2005) and also
enhancing their psychological well-being in general (Levesque, Zuehlke,
Stanek, and Ryan 2004). All of the above-mentioned traits are crucial to the
individual’s development and therefore our society as hole because those
characteristics are the key factors needed for an increase in the quality of
human capital (Runco, 2005).
Based on the essential role of motivation in the process of self-regulation
and its positive correlation with academic achievement, it will be the second
explanatory variable used in this paper.

1
The self-control strength model theory proved that people’s performances related to self-
regulation mechanism decrease if they already have applied it. Self-regulation is like a muscle, if it
is used repeatedly it gets exhausted (Muraven, Slessareva 2003).

4
III. Methods
1. Procrastination
1.1. Functional and Dysfunctional forms of delay
There are various definitions of procrastination and each one of them is
constructed around one main idea, namely, a conscious delay to begin or
complete some activity or a task (Solomon, Rothblum 1984). Researchers
distinguish between procrastination with functional aspects (active
procrastination) (Bernstein, 1998; Chu, Choi 2005; Ferrari, 1993) and
dysfunctional procrastinatory behavior which brings more damage to the
individual than benefits. But how can a particular form of delay can be
classified as functional, or dysfunctional? In Table 1 are summarized seven of
the most popular theory's concerning procrastination, those are most
quoted in the literature and also work of different authors in this field. Each
description is matched with either procrastination or strategic delay, or both,
if it actually applies to typical for that state behavior of the individual which
gives a very clear explanation of both processes and their differences.
The first three descriptions are concentrated on the delay itself, if there is
actually some kind of putting off behavior to be observed? The other four
statements are concerned with the kind of postponement. As written in
Table 1 the first four definitions of procrastination are true for the both
functional and dysfunctional delay which characterizes both types of delay as
some kind of necessary or important for the individual performance which
he/she definitely intends to complete. The major differences between
procrastination(dysfunctional) and strategic delay are in the essence of the
process, namely, when the postponement behavior itself can be described as
irrational or unnecessary and its negative consequences were being
overlooked, bringing only discomfort to the person but still this continues,
then the phenomenon in question is exactly procrastination. The sixth
description point can be confusing because functional delay also happens
despite that the individual is aware of the negative consequences but this
statement isn’t crossed as a match to functional behavior because in this
case the person believes that those negative consequences are the price that
must be paid for the long-term benefits that will result from delaying a
certain task. There is still some subjectivity if certain delay categorizes as
functional or not, because such classification is made from the person itself,

5
based on his/her personal standards (Milgram, Sroloff, Rothblum, 1988; van
Eerde, 2000).
Table 1 (Source: Klingsieck 2013)
Procrastination Strategic
(dysfunctional) delay
(functional)
An overt or covert act is delayed
1 x x
(Ferrari, 1998).
The start or the completion of this act is intended.
2 x x
(Lay, Schouwenburg, 1993)
The act is necessary or of personal importance
3 x x
(Lay, 1986).
The delay is voluntary and not imposed on
4 oneself by external matters x x
(Milgram, Levinson 1998)
The delay is unnecessary or irrational
5 x
(Lay, 1986; Steel, 2007, 2010).
The delay is achieved despite being aware of its
6 potential negative consequences x
(Steel, 2007).
The delay is accompanied by subjective
discomfort (Ferrari, 1998; Solomon, Rothblum, 1984)
7 x
or other negative consequences
(Simpson, Pychyl,2009).

Taking under consideration the seven definitions of procrastination that


have been used in Table 1 a new definition emerges as a summary from all of
them “the voluntary delay of an intended and necessary and/or [personally]
important activity, despite expecting potential negative consequences that
outweigh the positive consequences of the delay” (Klingsieck, 2013 p.26). It is
undoubtable that there is nothing functional about procrastination itself
therefore it is called dysfunctional delay and if there are some kinds of
functional aspects then it is not procrastination anymore, but a strategic
delay (Corkin, Yu, Lindt, 2011). The focus of this paper will be the
dysfunctional type of delay or in other word procrastination.
1.2. Systematization of theoretical approaches towards
procrastination
In reality there are not only various, numerous different definitions of the
phenomenon procrastination but also many researches based on different

6
theories (van Eerde, 2003). Klingsieck (2013) systemizes the most advanced
explanations of procrastination and their theoretical approach into four
perspectives, namely, differential psychology, motivational and volitional
0psychology, clinical psychology, and situational.
All four different perspectives of procrastination are summarized in Table 2.
Table 2 (Source: Klingsieck, 2013)
Motivational
Differential and Clinical
Situational
psychology volitional psychology
perspective
perspective psychology perspective
perspective
Being evoked
Understanding Motivational or/ Clinically
by certain
procrastination a trait and volitional relevant
situational
as ... deficit phenomenon
features
Theories that Self- Psychoanalysis
have been Determination
referred to in Cognitive
(Big Five) Temporal Behaviorism -------
order to
Motivation
explain Neuropsychology
procrastination Action Control
Examples of Intrinsic
variables that Conscientiousness motivation Task difficulty
have been Goal orientation Anxiety
associated Neuroticism Stress Task
with Self-regulation Depression attractiveness
Perfectionism
procrastination Time- Task specificity
studies management

Within the framework of motivational and volitional psychology the focus is


on motivational and volitional variables that correlate with procrastination
and specifically when either or both are absent (Klingsieck, 2013). Intrinsic
motivation and internal locus of control (Brownlow, Reasinger, 2000) and
self-determination, (Senecal, Julien, Guay, 2003), self-efficacy (Haycock,
McCarthy, Sky, 1998) are some of the many motivational variables that are
related to procrastination and are being used from many researchers into
the analysis of procrastinatory nature. Self-regulation (Dietz, Hofer, Fries,
2007; Senecal, Koestner, Vallerand, 1995; Wolters, 2003), self- and action
control (Schouwenburg, Groenewoud, 2001; Blunt, Pychyl, 2005) are also
small number of the numerous representatives of the volitional variables
that are linked to procrastination. Time management (Lay, Schouwenburg,
1993), time orientation (Ferrari, Diaz-Morales, 2007) and different learning

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strategies (Howell, Watson, 2007; Wolters, 2003) are other important
variables that are intensively studied in relation to procrastination. Taking
under consideration the methods that have been used in this paper to
describe procrastinatory behavior the view of the paper is through the lenses
of the motivational and volitional psychology perspective towards
procrastination.
Dysfunctional delay is accepted as personality trait within the differential
psychology. The main focus of the researchers working within this
framework is the link between trait procrastination and other personality
traits like conscientiousness and neuroticism (Johnson, Bloom, 1995; Lee,
Kelly, Edwards, 2006; van Eerde, 2003, 2004; Watson, 2001), perfectionism
(Flett, Hewitt, Martin,1995; Pychyl, Flett, 2012), low self-esteem
(Ferrari,1994, 2000; Pychyl, Coplan, Reid, 2002), pessimism (Jackson, Weiss,
Lundquist, 2000) and many others.
The clinical psychology perspective studies the part of procrastination that
can be qualified as clinically case or even as psychological disorder (Rist,
Engberding, Patzelt, Beißner, 2006; Schouwenburg et al., 2004). Based on
methods, such as, psychoanalysis, cognitive behaviorism, and
neuropsychology and on other variables that mainly have a negative relation
to procrastination, researchers are able to decide if a particular issue
qualifies as clinical one. From this perspective procrastination is often
related to feelings of anxiety (Flett, Blankstein, Martin,1995; Rothblum et al.,
1986; Spada, Hiou Nikcevic,2006) depression (Flett, Blankstein, Martin, 1995;
Solomon, Rothblum, 1986) also to stress and its possible causes (e.g., Flett,
Blankstein, Martin, 1995; Jackson et al., 2000; Tice & Baumeister,1997). As
clinically relevant are the forms of procrastination associated, for example,
with cluster-c personality disorders, such as, obsessive-compulsive behavior
(Ferrari et al., 1995; Chapter 8) and also those that serve as some kind of
revenge (Ferrari, Emmons, 1994) or even disobedience (Solomon, Rothblum,
1984).
From the situational perspective procrastination is a result of other events
and circumstances and the focus is on the task itself and especially on the
relationship between the individual to the task. The characteristics taken
under consideration in this perspective are how difficult and attractive the
given task is (Ackerman, Gross,2005; Blunt, Pychyl, 2000; Ferrari, Scher,2000;
Lay,1992; Milgram, Marshevsky, Sadeh, 1995; Milgram et al. 1988; Pychyl et
al., 2000) how valid the assignment is (Milgram, Dangour, Raviv, 1992),
autonomy (Ackerman & Gross,2005; Blunt,Pychyl, 2000), and also the
characteristic of the teachers (Schraw, 2007).

8
1.3. Implications of procrastinatory behavior?
Along with the typical for procrastinators personality characteristics, there is
also common procrastinatory behavior (Brownlow, Reasinger, 2000). Classic
example for such act is before exams they end up studying fewer hours than
actually intended to (Lay, Burns 1991; McCown, Johnson 1991). Another
good and common behavioral path is that students start to work on school
task much later than they actually had to (Lay, Burns, 1991) and also are
delaying giving their work to the professors (Ferrari 1992). Naturally this kind
of behavior results in lower grades (Rothblum, Solomon, Murakami, 1986;
Tice, Baumeister 1997; Wesley 1994) than school achievements of students
that don’t procrastinate, the satisfaction that procrastinators experience
from the academic courses is not really great in comparison with non-
procrastinators (McCown, Johnson 1991).

1.4. Characteristics are typical for procrastinators


People’s daily life is negatively affected by procrastination, making it almost
impossible for them to get things done (McCown, Johnson, 1991) leading
them to suffer psychologically and physically. The outcomes of such behavior
in the academic domain are most likely stress (Rothblum, Solomon,
Murakami 1986) because of the time pressure that individual experiences
due to the putting off behavior especially when the dead line of certain task
is near (Tice, Baumeister 1997). There are many personal characteristics that
differ procrastinators from non-procrastinators, for example, need of
perfection, strong fear of unsuccess (Flett, Blankenstein, Hewitt, 1992) or
even pessimism about their own abilities (Lay 1992) are some of the typical
for procrastinators traits.
1.4.1 Perfectionism and procrastination
The focus of Flett’s and Blankenstein's research was to study the relationship
between perfectionism and procrastination and their targeted research
group was 131 undergraduate students (56 males and 75 females). The
students had to fill out different questionnaires for a measurement of their
perfectionism level, based on the multidimensional appraisal scale,
developed by Hewitt and Flett (1989, 1991) and also for assessing their
procrastinatory propensities, built upon the Procrastination Assessment
Scale – Students by Solomon & Rothblum (1984). Within the
multidimensional appraisal scale trait perfectionism was parted into self-
oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed. This separation was

9
necessary because procrastination is a very complex phenomenon that
consists of both social and personal elements ((Frost, Marten, Lahart,
Rosenblate, 1990; Hewitt & Flett, 1989, 1991) and each of those components
has a different correlation with the putting off behavior. People that are
more self-oriented seek excellence in their own performances, other-
oriented human beings on the other hand search it in others, and socially
prescribed perfectionism is what the individual thinks others expect it from
him/her. The results were conclusive that only socially prescribed
perfectionism correlates significantly with procrastination (r (129) = .30, p <
01 and r (129) = .21, p < .05), which brings to the conclusion that individuals
who procrastinate are expecting as well as fearing to get negative reaction
from others about their performance. Fear of failure was also tested and the
results showed it significant role to perfectionism (r (129) = .40, p <.01) and
therefore also to the trait procrastination (Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, &
Mosher, 1991; Solomon, Rothblum, 1984). There are many authors that have
researched the relation between perfectionism and procrastination and
Burka and Yen (1983) not only claimed that procrastinators exhibit typical for
perfectionists' psychological traits but also are more likely to put on
themselves very unrealistic and irrational expectations (Beswick, Rothblum,
Mann, 1988; Flett, Hewitt, Blankstein, Koledin 1991).

1.4.2. Procrastination, feeling of incompetence and pessimism


Another interesting characteristic of academic procrastinators is their lack of
belief in their competence to accomplish certain task (Lay 1992). In the
paper “Trait Procrastination and the Perception of Person-Task
Characteristics” (Lay,1992) a research was made to investigate this relation.
Two methods were used in the paper one of them demonstrates the
correlation between procrastination and feeling of incompetency and the
second one introduces the link between pessimism and procrastination.
During the both studies students had to complete a procrastination scale
(Lay, 1988) and a questionnaire with 21 everyday tasks and how confident
they feel executing those tasks. The summarized answers of the participants
led to the result that procrastinators consider themselves generally less
competent to do the tasks in comparison to non-procrastinators (r=-.36, p <
0.01). For the second study additional scale was included to assess the
degree of pessimism for each participant or in other words participants
expectation for their task performance was measured (Scheier, Carver 1985).
The result from this research also yelds a negative correlation between

10
feeling of competency and procrastination (r=-.41, p<.01) and
procrastination on the other hand has a positive relation to trait pessimism
(r=.38, p<.01).
In outline very likely for a procrastinator is a genuine lack of confidence in his
own abilities and also pessimistic feelings about his own achievement
expectations (Lay 1992) and last, but not least fear of failure, namely, fear of
social disapproval (Flett, Blankenstein, Hewitt, 1992)

2. Self-regulation
2.1. Underregulation and missregulation
When an individual set for himself/herself any kind of goals, plans,
standards, etc. an execution plan is to be made that induces such kind of
behavior that is most likely to meet the already established ambitions of the
individual (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1993; Baumeister et al., 1994;
Heatherton & Ambady, 1993; Scheier & Carver, 1988). Self-regulation is an
internal process managed from the person itself (Bandura, 1989; Carver &
Scheier, 1992) constantly adjusting different reactions (Baumeister et al.,
1994) to the changes in the environment, guarantying that actions will
actually match the internal desires (Baumeister et al., 1996) and when all this
is already implemented then the regulatory process is successful. In general
self-control is the competency of an individual to change and to have control
over the own thoughts, emotions and actions (Baumester, 2002). Failure in
self- regulatory process is generally difficult to be recognized because of its
dependence on the personal perspective of each individual. When a person
has many goals, but are conflicted with one another then is often to be
observed achievement of one goal leads often to failure of others, for
example someone wants to be rich, but in the same time wants to have
more personal time and don’t work much. Self-regulation failure or success
depends generally on the attempt to prevent, start or change particular
behavior even as a reaction. When given effort is not good enough and
doesn’t lead to the wanted achievement it is called under regulation and
when the try itself makes the situation worse it is specified as missregulation
(Baumesiter, 1996).
2.2. Structure of the self-regulation process
The structure of self-regulation is based on three main elements and if there
is flaw with just one of them the whole mechanism fails (Baumeister, 2007).
The first component is commitment to standards, based on ideals, goals or
values that simply reflect the wanted outcome and set the guidelines of the
11
regulatory process. The established standards have to be defined very
precise, and also to be in harmony with one another and not to be mutually
exclusive, otherwise this can lead to failure in the self-regulatory process
(Baumeister et al.,1994).
The second key element of self-regulation is monitoring or self-awareness
(Duval, Wicklund, 1972; Carver, Scheier, 1981). This very important factor
allows the individual to observe its own behavior, to analyze whether it is
consistent with the established standards or not and consequently reshape it
or completely change it. Without self-awareness no behavioral adjustment
can occur because the individual would not be aware of the fact that a
change in the self-regulatory process is needed, naturally external
monitoring is also an option, for example, keeping a diary or different
tracking apps can be very helpful to manage better the whole process
(Baumeister et al., 2007).
The last final ingredient needed in order self-regulatory process to be
perfectly executed is capacity to make changes which refers to a very
popular theory based on the assumption that self-regulatory process in
general relies on limited resources.

2.3. Self-regulation is like a muscle


Each individual has a different self-regulation capability and in time it has
been proven that self-control abilities can be trained and strengthened like a
muscle and in the same time when not constantly developed they lose their
power (Baumeister, 2002; 1996). Just like a muscle, self-control decreased in
strength when already exercised, and throughout the day with each action
that relies on regulation gets more difficult to attain unless the individual
somehow recharge, rest and reset the power of the resources needed. Only
with everyday training, namely, creating good habits (James,1899/1992)
avoiding temptations and not satisfying the inner impulses people can
expand more the resources of their self-control process and more easily stick
to their plans and standards and achieve their goals. In time this every day
repetition of coaching the self to restrain results is creating habits which
means that the behavior is already automated, or in other words programed
in our conscious and then its execution will not be so demanding on the self-
regulation resources because it will be executed automatically. When habits
are already established emotions, thoughts and behaviors will be under
control and not in control over the individual actions (Baumeister, 1996).
Many studies have proven that an adaptation of different self-regulation
strategies, will improve the adjustment to environmental changes

12
(Baumeister et al., 2007) and will benefit the performance in the academic
domain (Bembenutty, Zimmerman 2003; Cantwell 1998; Nota et al., 2004).

2.4. Self-Control and Procrastination


2.4.1. Perspectives of relation between procrastination and
self-control
When the focus is on the relationship between procrastination and self-
control researchers established two contrasting aspects of their interaction.
The first concept used is that procrastination is result of underregulation
(Ferrari 2001; Howell, Watson 2007; Rabin et al. 2011; Senécal et al.1995), as
already mentioned, which means that some of the three main components
of self-regulation process is not working properly, either the individual fails
in establishing personal standards, or/and in monitoring the behavior or/and
in recharging the personal abilities to make behavioral changes (maintaining
motivation). The second perspective used to analyze the relationship is
delaying certain task because it is very unpleasant for the individual which
makes the procrastinatory situation worst which process, as already
mentioned, is called missregulation. Putting off behavior occurs as a cure to
the negative emotions experienced because of the nature of the task
(Baumeister and Heatherton 1996; Sirois, Pychyl 2013; Tice et al. 2001).
There are many explanations about the both self-regulation failure and
procrastination and about their interaction, but still there is not enough
clarity in the literature which type of self-control deficiency, either
underregulation or missregulation has the most significant role in the
procrastinatory process (Balkis, Duru, 2016).

2.4.2. Procrastination, self-control failure and emotional well being


The study from the paper of Balkis and Duru (2016) explains to which extent
both kinds of self-regulation failure influence procrastination behavior in the
academic domain. The results from the conducted research confirmed on
one hand previous findings from other authors which very intensively
studied this correlation (Baumeister et al. 2007; Howell and Watson 2007)
that self-regulation failure in general and both missregulation or
underregulation separately strongly correlate with procrastinatory behavior
among students.
The participants were 328 students (76.8% women), various majors on the
Pamukkale University in Turkey. First, they had to fill out a procrastination

13
scale, developed originally from Tuckman (1991) but adjusted specifically for
this study (Özer et al. 2009) with five instead of four scoring points as answer
(from strongly agree, agree, unsure and disagree) to each of the sixteen
items in the questionnaire, which all describe different typical
procrastinatory behavior, the consistency coefficient was 0.90. The second
step included assessment of their self-regulation (Tuckman, 2002) based on
how much students recognize their own actions with the given behavioral
descriptions. The self-regulation scale (Tuckman, 2002) was also adjusted for
the Turkish population (Duru et al., 2009) and the consistency coefficient in
that case was 0.73. The emotional well-being of the participants was also
estimated according to a measurement scale (Positive and Negative Affect
Schedule) developed by Watson et.al (1988) which was composed from ten
items accountable for positive and ten components for negative emotions,
which estimated if the individual is in positive or negative state of mind.
After the examination on the Turkish population was finished (Gençöz, 2000)
the resulting correlation consistency coefficient for the negative affect was
0.85 and for the positive one 0.80.
The results from the study when procrastination was accepted as
consequence of underregulation were conclusive that on one hand self-
regulation and procrastination have every strong negative relation to one
another (β=−0.69, p<0.001) and on the other hand that self-regulation is
accountable for positive change (β=0.49, p<0.001). Another interesting
finding of the study was that procrastination affects negative the individual's
well-being (β=0.24, p<0.05) and don’t really have a relation to positive
emotions (β=−0.040, p>0.05). Self-regulation itself is accountable for 47% of
the procrastinatory variance, both influence the variances of the negative
affect with 11% and of the positive affect with 22% and are with 12%
accountable for the general life satisfaction within students.
The findings from the same study were analyzed from another perspective,
namely, that procrastination is actually a missregulation, and not result of it,
which occurs because the individual is faced with task that evokes generally
negative feelings (Ferrari, 1991), consequences due fear of an exam itself
(Milgram et al.1992; Haycock et al.,1998) or just bad mood (Steel 2007). The
results confirmed that if an individual is exposed to generally negative
emotions then is more likely to engage in procrastinatory behavior (β=0.31,
p<0.001), on the other hand around positive emotions are experienced

14
during the time of the task delaying is not likely to be observed (β=−0.28,
p<0.001), negative emotions estimated 10% of the procrastinatory variance.
In summary procrastination and self-regulation in general are tightly related
to one another and if someone has developed a great self-regulatory
mechanism is very unlikely to exhibit procrastinatory behavior and also the
research show that this individual has to be in a very good emotional state.
Positive emotions defeat procrastination and promote self-control and the
other way around negative emotions caused either by the environment or
the task itself lead to delaying the task, hoping that this avoidance and
distraction will compensate for the negative feelings, but in reality, only
leads to more problems, making the delaying situation much worst also
known as missregulation or total collapse of the self-regulation mechanism
(Balkis and Duru, 2016).

3. Motivation
3.1. Types of motivation
Motivation is a very important concept tightly related to learning,
performance, and persistence which is why it is so important for the
researchers to investigate more about it in order to gain better
understanding, especially in the academic world. Motivation answers the
question: why certain behavior is being executed from someone? (Deci,
Ryan, 1985) and this answer contains very important information about the
human behavior and the moving force behind it. There are some very
interesting concepts about motivation developed in time explaining this
phenomenon (The Educational Psychologyst 1991, Issue 4). One of the most
significant theories that made most impact on the researches in this
direction is that motivation can be intrinsic, extrinsic or amotivation (Deci,
Ryan, 1985, 1991).
3.1.1. Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation means that the individual acts because the task itself
brings him pleasure and joy (Deci 1975; Deci, Ryan, 1985). Deep seated
psychological need of competence and self-perseverance are the moving
forces behind this processes and activities that satisfy those feelings will be
always willingly executed. The intrinsic motivation can be split into three
kinds: motivation to know or learn something, to experience stimulation and
to accomplish something (Vallerand, Blais, Pelletier et al. 1989).
To feel the need to know something is very significant for the researches
particularly in the academic domain because of its relation to very important

15
variables such as curiosity, learning goals, intrinsic intellectuality and the
desire to learn (Gottfried, 1985; Harter, 1981). Following the already
mentioned definition of motivation the individuals with this kind of
motivation experience pleasure and satisfaction from learning something
new and exploring.
Intrinsic motivation to achieve something is mostly researched in the field of
education and in the developmental psychology, authors also refer to it as a
mastery motivation (Harter,1981). The focus in this kind of motivation is on
the process itself to achieve something and people are experiencing
enjoyment and fulfillment from the constant accomplishments, from the
constant development of their competence (Deci 1975; Deci, Ryan, 1985;
1991). The results don’t matter, only the satisfaction of the idea that the
individual is working to outdo himself/herself, as example, for that kind of
motivation a student read more additional books besides the recommended
ones, because he doesn’t focus only to do the assignment, but he wants to
have more, to exceed what he has already successfully done.
The last kind of motivation is to experience stimulation, namely, when an
individual is engaging in an activity because of the fun and excitement,
sensory and artistic satisfaction (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975) that he experiences
from it. Typical example for such type of incentive is when a person is
reading a book because of the pure emotional pleasure that he/she
experiences during reading, because the book is exciting and moving.

3.1.2. Extrinsic Motivation


Extrinsic motivation is to be observed when someone is engaging in activity
not because of pure satisfaction from it and not for his own sake (Deci 1975).
Depending on how external, in other words autonomous the motivation is
there are also three types of extrinsic motivation to be differ in the literature
from Deci and Ryan (1985, 1991): external, introjection, and identification.
External regulation is the least autonomous kind and refers to situations
when the impulse to do something comes from another source, external
one, and it is very often related to rewards or punishments. Common
example is when students learn don't because they want to, but because
their parents told them to do the activity.
In the case of introjection people aren’t doing the action because someone
told them or force them to do it, but still part of the reason comes from
external source. Such situation when an individual is introjecting would be
when the act is executed because this is the right thing to do, he/she is
supposed to do this and not in account of inner wish to do it.

16
The last kind of external motivation is to be observed when the task is
implemented due to its consequences and importance to the individual. This
is the most autonomous reason for someone to do something because this
someone identifies the positive impact that this particular accomplishment
would have (Vallerand, 1992) that is why is called identification motivation.

3.1.3. Amotivation
Amotivation describes situations when there is either extrinsic nor intrinsic
motivation to be observed and the individual doesn’t realize that his/her
behavior is the reason for the end result. Amotivated people often feel
incompetent and also do not know why there are doing the things they do,
often is to be observed that such people blame their actions on unknowing
out of their control forces (Deci, Ryan 1985).

3.2. Motivation and academic achievement


The importance of motivation is well known to be essential for academic
success, also for mental and physical health et al. (Archambault, Janosz,
Morizot, & Pagani, 2009; Guay, Ratelle, Chanal, 2008). The still undiscovered
part of this phenomenon is which kind of motivation actually is the most
important to academic achievements. There are authors that argue that
intrinsic motivation is the most relevant (Deci & Ryan, 2000), others that
only extrinsic motivation matters (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000), and naturally
there are researchers that emphasize that both intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation are essential to the academic achievement (Elliot & Moller, 2003;
Lepper, Corpus, & Iyengar, 2005). Taylor, Koestner et al. (2014) made a
research based on testing of different types of motivation in order to define
which kind has most impact on overall academic achievement because all
previous studies from other researchers showed inconsistent results and
therefore not actual proof, which kind matters the most. Their research was
divided into four studies, namely, systematic meta-analysis (study 1),
controlled, long-term studies (studies 2 and 3) which differ from one another
in the content of the academic work and also in the cultural differences
between participants. Study 2 was conducted with high school students,
study 3 on the other hand with college representatives. Research 2 and 3
were made with Canadian participants.
Meta-analysis (Study 1)
In the first study many previous studies of the relationship between
motivation and academic achievement were being examined. Only those of
them that were based on the self-determination theory in the academic

17
domain, and were using different variables that influence motivation and
achievement were used for the meta-analysis. Another important criteria for
past researches to be included are the use of Academic Motivation Scale
(AMS; Vallerand et al., 1992) as a measurement of motivation and finally an
actual assessment of the participants' academic achievement of the
participants. Eighteen studies, six cross sectional and twelve prospective
matched all the requested points thus were at the end relevant for the
intended meta-analysis
After summarizing the results of all eighteen studies (Table 3) the outcome
was conclusive that most positive influence on academic achievement have
intrinsic motivation and identified regulation while introjected and external
regulation have either a negative or not so strong positive one and finally
amotivation showed powerful but also negative correlation, the interactions
are all significant, there is no homogeneity to be observed.
Table 3 (Source: Tylor, Koestner, 2014)
95% CI
N d
k Confidence Interval
Participants Achievement
from to
Intrinsic motivation 10 4270 .27 .23 .32
Identified regulation 11 4705 .35 .31 .39
Introjected regulation 10 4411 -.12 -.16 -.08
External regulation 11 4411 -.22 -.26 -.17
Amotivation 7 2195 -.61 -.67 -.55

Study 2
The constructed study from Koestner et al. (2014) was made in Canada with
High school students on French. The participants were 319 students (159
boys, 160 girls) and had to fill out Academic Motivation Scale (Vallerand,
Blais, Brière, and Pelletier, 1989), and also had to address their latest overall
average grade, which was the assessment of their academic achievement.
This process was implemented two times in total, one time in the beginning
of the school year, when demographic questionnaire was filled out from the
participants and the second time at the end of the school year. The
Academic Motivation Scale consisted twenty elements part from the Self-
Determination Theory (Deci &Ryan, 2002). The answers to each element
were based on 7-point Likert scale (from 1-totally disagree to 7 totally agree)

18
and depending on the given answer researchers could estimate which
motivation is hiding behind individual’s behavior.
The results from Study 2 confirmed the findings from the conducted meta-
analysis (Study 1), namely, that intrinsic motivation has most significant
impact on academic achievement. For instance, only the intrinsic motivation
from all forms of motivation, measured at the beginning of the school year
(T1) anticipated an increase in the school achievement in the second period
(T2) and the measured accomplishments in T1 predicted in T2 growth in the
intrinsic motivation.
Study 3
This study participants were college students, the main idea of it was to
observe if the findings will also confirm those from the second examination.
Also made in Canada, but this time in English with 638 participants (296 men,
342 women), again with two implications trough time. The academic
achievement measurement this time was in the first period (T1) based on
participants high school grades in math and science and in T2 on their
college performance at the end of the first semester2. The measurement of
motivation was almost the same as in Study 2 (AMS; Vallerand et al., 1992,
1993), the number of items were 7 instead of 10 and instead 7-point Likert
scale 5-point was used, but in this case the level of motivation of each
participant was reflecting his/her self-regulation degree because the college
courses are voluntary and each participant could drop out at any time.
The findings in study number 3 confirm those from Study 2 and also as
suspected those from Study 1, proving the positive and powerful effect of
intrinsic motivation on academic achievement and the negative one of
amotivation and introjected regulation.
All studies executed from Koestner et al. (2014) confirmed the role of
intrinsic motivation on academic achievement and most importantly findings
apply to all students from high school to college and stay plausible through
time.
3.3. Variables that influence intrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation can be inborn or can be developed (White, 1959) and
because of its importance in the academic domain researchers constantly

2
Grades were directly taken from the college administration (not based on self-report) and
together with those from T1 assembled into percent average in order one variable to be attained
(Koestner et al. 2014)

19
search different factors that can increase or decrease the level of intrinsic
motivation of people.

3.3.1. Self-determination and competence


According to the cognitive evaluation theory, self-determination and
competence of the individual are two of the most significant influencers of
intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1980, 1985). Naturally everything that
negatively influences the feeling of self-perseverance causing it to decrease
will negatively affect the level of intrinsic motivation as well and if the praise
of someone's work matches his/her anticipated self-determination, then is
expected for the intrinsic motivation to increase (Deci & Ryan, 1985).
The way a praise will influence the motivation rely on its focus, whether the
abilities of the individual or on his performance were being acknowledged
(Weiner et al., 1972) and each can lead to different emotional and
behavioral outcome (Weiner, 1980). The importance of this particular
distinguish lays within their interpretation from individuals because
appreciation of one’s abilities provokes a stronger feeling of competence in
comparison with effort appraisal and therefore evokes higher intrinsic
motivation (Koestner, Zuckermann, 1987).
This feeling of competence on the other hand is not only determined from
the focus of the praise but also from its context because the way each
individual appreciates his competence depends on his goal, when doing
certain task (Nicholls, 1984). When an individual executes certain task
because of his personal need to show off his capabilities (ego-involvement)
and then receives and effort appraisal, and not acknowledgement about how
capable he/she is it can result in feeling of less competence which leads to a
decrease in the level of intrinsic motivation of the individual. In comparison,
when a person is doing the task just to learn, to master it (task-involvement)
an effort focused praise would increase the feeling of competence and also
the intrinsic motivation (Jagacinski, Nicholls, 1984). Naturally the inverse
outcome is to be observed when confronted with ego- and task-involvement
of the individual when the focus of the acknowledgement is on his abilities
(Harackiewicz and Manderlink, 1984). The main explanation of this outcome
is individual’s expectations, for example, when a person is involved just to
show off, then he/she also expects appreciation of his capabilities and not of
his effort. Generally, task-involvement has more powerful positive effect on
the level of intrinsic motivation than the ego kind. (Plant & Ryan, 1985; Ryan,
1982; Ryan et al., 1983).

20
3.3.2. Praise, involvement and intrinsic motivation (Study)
Koestner and Zuckermann (1987) examined in their paper how praise and its
content and also the way people are involved in certain task are affecting the
level of intrinsic motivation of students. The authors tested different
possible evaluation scenarios and their effect on subject's intrinsic
motivation. Psychology students (24 men and 32 women) participated in the
conducted study. The individuals had to work on practice hidden figure
puzzle for 90 seconds, which is often used in studies because it evokes
significant intrinsic interest in people (Harackiewicz, 1979; Ryan, 1982; Ryan
et al., 1983). Some of the students work on this task within the framework of
task involvement which was implemented with introducing the puzzle as a
neutral game and the rest of the participants worked on the puzzle as a test
of their creative intelligence ergo under ego involvement conditions. After
the students finished the first practice puzzle, they became three more
puzzles to solve each in 90 seconds and after each of them they became
positive ability or effort focused feedback from the experimenter in the
room. After the tree tasks were done the participants were left alone in the
room (to wait for the experimenter to come back) with popular magazines
and more undone hidden figure puzzles on the side. The measurement of
their intrinsic motivation was based on their choice of entertainment after
left alone with the free choice, either puzzles or the magazines.
The results from the research showed that task involved participants and
those who became ability acknowledgement spend more time working on
the puzzle, during the “free choice” time in comparison to ego-involved
individuals and those that received effort appraise or no praise at all which
leads to the conclusion that task involvement and ability acknowledgement
are generally positive related to intrinsic motivation.All of previous
mentioned relations were confirmed once again, when both context and
focus of praise are taken under consideration: effort praise positively
influences intrinsic motivation when there is task-involvement and under
ego involvement conditions ability praise leads to increase of the intrinsic
motivation.
3.3.3. External rewards and intrinsic motivation
There are many scientists that have been studying the effect of external
rewards on intrinsic motivation (deCharms, 1968; Harlow, Harlow, Meyer,
195O; Gately, 195O; Festinger 1967,1957) and their view is that external
rewards lead to decrease in the level of intrinsic motivation and a possible
explanation about this is because of the shift into the motivation
21
perspective of the individual, namely, the activity is going to be executed for
the external reward and not for the satisfaction of doing the act itself
(Festinger 1967; 1957). Despite of the numerous experiments, mainly with
monkeys, there isn’t an actual proof of this effect. Other researchers on the
other hand are thinking in another, different direction that external rewards
actually lead to increase in the internal motivation (Woodworth, 1918;
Allport, 1937) or specifically the so-called process of internalization of the act
itself which leads to increase of the intrinsic motivation (Aronfreed, 1968).
Many experiments proved the existence of that process: when an activity
was paired with some external reward for long time, after removing the
external motivator the behavior continued (Keller, 1969; Ferster and Skinner,
1957; Morse, 1966; Uhl, Young, 1967). Those differences in the developed
theories lead to the conclusion that definitely there are different kinds of
external rewards that obviously lead to different outcomes (Deci, 1971),
which was the focus of Deci’s paper (1971).

3.3.4. Monetary and non-monetary rewards and intrinsic


motivation
There were altogether three experiments made two in the laboratory setting
and one of them on the field. The first two experiments aimed to show that
external tangible rewards such as money decrease the level of intrinsic
motivation and the third experiment was focused on how non-tangible
external rewards (verbal encouragement and positive feedback) (Deci, 1971).
Experiment 1
Was made in laboratory setting with 24 students (different majors) taking
introductory psychology class, 12 of them were put in the control group and
12 in the treatment one. During overall three sessions both groups had to
work on a puzzle, which was considered to evokes internal motivation within
the students and in order the experimentations to be sure if this actually
applies, the students had to report in each session how interesting for them
personally the puzzle was. The aim of the experiment, told to the
participants, was research on different problem-solving techniques. Only in
the second session the treatment group got 1 dollar as payment and for the
other 2 periods both groups became nothing. Important information is that
the participants in the treatment group were aware that will get paid at the
beginning of the second session, and at the beginning of the third session

22
they have been told that there is not enough money for an award. The
intrinsic motivation was measured based on the time spend on “free choice
activity” (already mentioned in this paper method). In each session the
subjects from both groups were left alone for short period of time and
nearby were New Yorker and Playboy magazines as well as the same kind,
but other puzzles used during the session. The results (in seconds) from the
time spent on a puzzle during the given” free choice activity” time, is
analyzed as a reflection of the individual’s intrinsic motivation and are
displayed in Table 4. Naturally more motivation within the participants was
observed in session 2 as a result of the prize and the same level of
motivation decreased strongly in the 3 session when there was no payment,
which confirms the predicted effect of tangible rewards on the intrinsic
motivation level, but due to the significance of the overall effect which
represents the difference between experimental and control group during all
sessions (-77.6) with p<0.05 more research is needed to confirm this effect.
Table 4 (Source: Deci, 1971)
Group Session 1 (T1) Session 2 (T2) Session 3 (T3) Session 1-3
Experimental
248.2 313.9 198.5 -49.7
(n= 12)
Control
213.9 205.7 241.8 27.9
(n=12)
-77.6
Exp. (T3 -T1)-Contr.(T3-T1)
p < 0.10

Experiment 2
The second conducted experiment in the paper from Deci (1971) was
actually field experiment and also focuses on how money influence the
intrinsic motivation. The eight students that participated didn’t really know
that they were taking part in this experiment. Four students were in the
control group and the other four into the treatment one. Both groups had
the same task to write headlines for a school newspaper for 10 weeks 3 and
also, both didn't have any contact with each other at any point. The
measurement of their intrinsic motivation was based on how fast each of
them accomplishes the work and their supervisor (the experimenter) noted
secretly the time achievements of each one of the students. During the first
3There were additional 2 weeks included in the experiment, but the results from them weren't took under
consideration in this paper (Deci, 1971)

23
four weeks both groups didn't get payed for their work, but between week 5
and 8 only the treatment group got each 0.50 cents per written headline and
after those 3 weeks of payment they have been told that there is no more
budget for them to get paid and for the last weeks of the 10-week period
again both groups worked for no money.
Because of the nature of the experiment (field experiment), there was no
constant control of the development of the study and this is why the
outcome of the experiment will be briefly explained which actually was in
support of the results from the first conducted study on. Increase in the level
of intrinsic motivation within the treatment group was observed until the
last 3 weeks when the payment was removed, after that the minutes for a
headline to be written increased with 1.04 within the experimental group
and dropped within the control group with 9.59 and the prediction that
tangible rewards do decrease the level of motivation was significant to 0.01
level.
Experiment 3
Verbal reinforcement and positive feedback do influence positive the level of
intrinsic motivation is the tested relation in the third experiment conducted
from Deci (1971). The construct was the same as during the first experiment,
again in laboratory with 24, different from the first study participants, again
three sessions, with the same measurement of motivation- “free choice
activity”. The difference between the first experiment and this one is that
after the first session the treatment group of people got positive verbal
reinforcement, e.g. very well done, instead of money and even if the
participants didn’t manage to solve the puzzles they were still encouraged,
that they gave their best, that this was the most difficult puzzle etc.. The
results (in seconds) from the time spent working on puzzle in the “free
choice” are to be seen in Table 5 and the value of the statistic is 177.4 sec
with significance level of 0.5 therefore the tested hypothesis is to be true.
Overall is to be seen positive effect of verbal positive reinforcement of the
treatment group in comparison to the results from the first experiment, but
very interesting and surprising are the results of the control group,
practically because the participants did the exactly same thing as in the first
study, but the outcome is very different and the only obvious reason for
those results could be the differences between both groups during study one
and study 3. Most of the participants during the third experiment that took
this introduction psychology class were in engineering majors in comparison

24
to the first one when the number of students with art major was significantly
bigger.
Table 5 (Source: Deci, 1971)
Group Session 1(T1) Session 2(T2) Session 3(T3) Session 1-3
Experimental
134.0 146.7 129.3 -4.7
(n = 12)
Control
246.8 146.1 64.7 -182.1
(n= 12)
177. 4 sec.
Exp.(T3-T1)- Con.(T3-T1)
p< .05

As a summary of the results from all presented experiments and previous


studies it can be concluded that positive feedback has more powerful
positive effect on intrinsic motivation as other tangible rewards like money
(Anderson et al., 1976; Dollinger, Thelen, 1978; Harackiewicz, 1979; Ryan et
al., 1983; Deci,1971) or even symbolic rewards such as gold stars (when they
come from someone else) (Danner & Lonky, 1981; Swann, Pittman, 1977).
Positive feedback has also is better and more significant impact on intrinsic
motivation than no feedback at all (Blanck, Reis, & Jackson, 1984; Deci,
1971,1972; Harackiewicz, 1979; Ryan, Mims, & Koestner, 1983) or average to
a negative one (Harackiewicz, Mandertink, & Sansone,1984; Sarafmo, Russo,
Barker, Consentino, & Titus, 1982; Zuckerman, Larrance, Porac, & Blanck,
1980).

3.4. Motivation and procrastination


As already discussed, motivation has a very major role in the academic
achievement process and therefore is very natural its relation to academic
procrastination to be also an object of various studies. Brownlow and
Reasinger (2000) examined in their paper their hypothesis that motivation
for school task is a predictor of a procrastinatory behavior of the students.
The volunteers were 96 undergraduate students (48 men, 48 women) and
their procrastination propensity was tested with the popular
“Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students" (Solomon, Rothblum, 1984)
and for motivation measurement was used “The Work Preference Inventory”
(Amabile, 1987; Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, Tighe, 1994).
The academic procrastination measurement was based not only on 5-point
answer scale to questions on how often participants putt off given school

25
tasks such as writing papers, studying for exams etc., but also the causes of
such “putting off” behavior was examined. Students had to answer different
scenarios, containing different reasons for delaying to which extent they
identify their own behavior with the given statements.
The assessed motivation scale, controls for both extrinsic and intrinsic
motivation. Satisfaction and joy experienced during the task was an indicator
for intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, compensation in the sense of
expected acknowledgement from others for the own accomplishments and
competition with others (outward orientation) were used as an identification
of external motivation. All of the features were linked to different
statements and the students had to answer on 4-point scale to which extent
they recognize their own behavior and agree with the descriptions.
Although the paper from Brownlow and Reasinger (2000) also controls and
explains the differences in the outcomes between female and male students,
only the joint outcome is relevant for this paper. The results from the
statistical regression shows that male and female students tend to
procrastinate more when their level of extrinsic motivation is low (d=-0.34;
F= 13.45, p<0.001). More detailed analysis leads to the conclusion that
students who procrastinate more were less intrinsic motivated ergo were
not so satisfied with their tasks than those that procrastinated less, the
results are significant at 0.05 level. Another positive significant interaction at
0.05 level was found between high extrinsic motivation and low
procrastination therefore major “putting off” behavior was more likely to be
observed when the students faced less extrinsically motivation.
In conclusion the examined relation of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
showed that both factors are significant predictors of procrastinatory
behavior and the presence of only one of them either intrinsic or extrinsic
motivation is enough high academic results to be achieved
4. Self-determination theory
The self-determination theory (Deci, Ryan, 1991) presents a combination of
the relation between the concept of self-regulation and motivation, self-
regulation process is constructed around the hypothesis of autonomy
(Sénecal, Vallerand, 1995) and as already mentioned in this paper, different
kinds of motivators are to be differ from one another in the degree to which
each come from the self and not from external influencers. Within the
framework of the self-determination theory there are five different types of
self-regulation: amotivation, external regulation, introjected regulation,
identified regulation and intrinsic regulation and there are three main points

26
that help a difference to be drawn between autonomous and
nonautonomous forms of self-regulation.
The first point focuses on the fact when an individual is executing some task
for entirely internal reason (autonomous) the individual feels more drive and
persistence to accomplish things as if the execution is due to an external
control or amotivation (Deci, Ryan, 1987).
Second point acknowledges that more autonomous reasons for engaging in
certain behavior are related to positive emotions, enjoyment and curiosity
about the task itself in comparison to less autonomous foundation of the
behavior which is linked to generally more negative emotions (Ryan,
Conwell, 1989).
The third and final important difference to be taken under consideration is
that consistent behavior is mainly connected to autonomous self-regulatory
behavior (Koestner, Zuckermann, 1992; Koestner, Zuckermann, 1993; Ryan,
Koestner, Deci, 1991).
The effect on motivation on procrastination is already discussed outside the
self-determination theory from Deci and Ryan (1991). The effect of self-
regulation and motivation on procrastination will be again investigated, but
this time within the framework of self-determination theory with the
purpose either to confirm the results from the previous discussed studies or
to reject them.

4.1. Self-regulation, motivation and procrastination in self-


determination framework
Sénecal and Vallerand (1995) tested the correlation between different self-
regulation styles and procrastinatory behavior in the academic domain.
Relying on the theory of self-determination from Deci and Ryan they wanted
to provide evidence for the hypothesis that more autonomous regulation
styles are linked to lower levels of procrastination. Except the used
theoretical framework, another very significant difference emerges between
other studies (Rothblum et al., 1986) that have researched motivation and
procrastination and the study from Sénecal and Vallerand (1995), namely,
that their focus was not on the reasons why students actually
procrastinated, but more important was for them to understand what is
hidden behind their choice of academic courses and majors, in other words
what is their motivation to study exactly those disciplines.
The study was conducted in Canada with 498 French speaking students (74%
women). Motivation was measured with the French version of the Academic

27
Motivational Scale (Vallerand et al., 1989) the individuals had to give an
answer to the question why they are going to school, grading each of the 16
proposed answers from 1 to 7, depending on how much each of them
correspond to their personal reason to go to school. Procrastination
measurement scale (Solomon, Rothblum, 1984) on the other hand consisted
10 item scale and the students had to give information how much they agree
with each statement from 1 to 7 and each answer gave the researchers the
needed information of how often and to which extent each subject
procrastinates. The significance of this behavior was tested based on
student’s experiences e.g. feelings of guilt that he/she didn’t study enough
before a test or strong feelings of anxiety while executing the task.
The results from the experiment were all significant and confirmed previous
findings that intrinsic motivation correlates negatively with procrastinatory
behavior (t=-5.53, p<0.0001). An expected outcome was that identified
motivation has a reciprocal relation to “putting off” behavior, but the results
from the experiment showed quite the opposite effect (t=2,93, p<0.01)
which is caused by excluding the positive link between identified motivation
and intrinsic motivation and the negative one with amotivation. In case that
the effect of both (amotivation and intrinsic motivation) on identified
motivation is considered then is the expected negative result to be observed.
External regulation has positive correlation with procrastination (t=2,53,
<0.01) and amotivation has the strongest positive effect on procrastination
within the students (t=3.26, p<0.001).
In conclusion even when self-regulation is viewed as process relying on
autonomy it has the same effect on the procrastination behavior as previous
researches outside of this framework showed.
IV. Summary

“Putting off” behavior can incorporate some functional aspects and for that
reason could have positive effect for the individual in the long term, but
unfortunately it is the dysfunctional type of such behavior, namely,
procrastination most likely to be observed in the academic domain. Most
relevant for the academic life and for this paper is the volitional and
motivational psychological perspective on procrastination, because of the
crucial influence of each variable on the academic achievement. After taking
under consideration the relationship between procrastination perfectionism,
pessimism and confidence a conclusion can be drawn that procrastinatory
behavior is most likely to be observed when a human is feeling somehow

28
incompetent to achieve something and therefore has more pessimistic
expectations about his/her performance or in other words feels not
confident enough to actually successfully accomplish the given task and
naturally also anticipates that the people around him/her will have negative
feedback regarding the outcome that he/she achieves and for his/her
abilities in general as well.
When the structure of the self-regulation process on the other hand is
somehow compromised then it is most likely for the individual to engage in
procrastinatory behavior. Delaying certain task can be either as a
consequence of a self-regulation failure or as some kind of compensation for
some negative feelings experienced during the task which can come from
the process itself or from other extern influencers and therefor the individual
fails to regulate this behavior which results in worsening the situation.
Without further consideration which kind of self-regulation failure is to be
observed either underregulation or missregulation both of them correlate
very strongly with procrastinatory behavior. Self-regulation can be
strengthened with daily training which can help the individual to manage
his/her behavior better. Positive emotions in general promote self-control
which means that failure in this process is less likely to occur and also
procrastinatory behavior. Negative emotions on the other hand are leading
to less self-control and more “putting off”.
Many various studies proved that from all motivational forms exactly
intrinsic and identified motivation have the most significant positive impact
on battling procrastinatory behavior, which means that when the individual
recognizes the importance of the task itself or the activity provokes positive
feelings in him/her the chances of delaying the work are very small.
Stimulating such kind of motivation within students is crucial to their
academic achievement which can be accomplished when students are not
only getting an external praise, namely, grade. Grades are just numbers and
those numbers aren’t delivering the students the needed feedback for their
performance and therefor fail on some level to evoke further motivation
within the students to work and to accomplish. No matter if task
involvement or ego involvement is to be observed the right kind of
acknowledgement can boost student’s confidence, battle their pessimism
and unbelief in their own abilities, evoking positive emotions and resulting
into increase of self-control and motivation and into decrease of
procrastinatory behavior.
All this positive feedback, nurturing students' confidence that they are
capable enough to accomplish the impossible tasks is easy to be explained
from the perspective of self-determination theory. The self-determination

29
theory accepts that more autonomous, more coming from the individual
itself self-regulation types, namely intrinsic and identified motivation are
very effective into battling procrastination, which bring us back to the idea of
competence positive feelings etc., because when an individual really has
internalized the task then he/she really experiences positive feelings he/she
and when those feelings are existing in encouraging environment,they will
not fade away and pessimism or lack of confidence will be permanently
decreased which again results in decrease in the procrastinatory behavior.
Students that are pursuing their academic goals and experience identified or
intrinsic motivation are responding very positively when they are in
supportive environment and not in a demanding one and are less likely to
procrastinate even when the a given task is not very pleasant for them
personally (Sénecal et al., 1995). Given this statement it is logical to assume
that “putting off” behavior by college students is a result of negative
emotions in general that can also come from the content of certain courses.
Despite the fact that students have to be somehow motivated to study a
certain major, this not necessarily means that they have the right kind of
motivation, this is why it is very important for researchers to pay more
attention which kind of motivation is hidden behind every choice, which can
predict future behavior. When the students are not living in a supportive
atmosphere this can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, helplessness, low
self-esteem or even fear of failure, when they don’t feel confident enough
that they can manage. Creating a more positive environment for the
students, creating a save space where they can really internalize the tasks
and therefore experience intrinsic motivation will lead to decreasing the
level of procrastination within students.

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