Title page for ETD etd-11132003-193736

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lehman, Philip Kent
Author's Email Address plehman@vt.edu
URN etd-11132003-193736
Title The Timing and Magnitude of Monetary Reward: Testing Hypotheses from Expectancy vs. Reciprocity Theory
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Geller, E. Scott Committee Chair
Axsom, Daniel K. Committee Member
Winett, Richard A. Committee Member
  • Expectancy
  • Reward
  • Reciprocity
  • Reward Timing
Date of Defense 2003-09-26
Availability unrestricted
Social psychologists have noted that compliance strategies based on the social norm of reciprocity can be an effective tool for changing behavior (e.g., Cialdini, 2001). In contrast to expectancy-based behavior-change strategies, which offer a reward after a behavior is completed (post-behavior reward); reciprocity-based strategies present the reward first in the form of a gift (pre-behavior reward). Although there are no explicit contingencies attached to the gift, a sense of obligation to reciprocate may be a powerful motivator to comply with the request. It was hypothesized that pre-behavior rewards would be more effective than post-behavior rewards at low magnitudes of reward, and that both strategies would be effective at higher levels. This study examined effects of the timing and magnitude ($1 vs. $10) of a cash reward on compliance with a request to use a specially designed thank-you card recognizing prosocial and proenvironmental behavior. The hypotheses were not supported. The highest rate of compliance occurred in the post-behavior $10 condition, where 35.5% of participants complied, followed by post-behavior $1 (18.8%), pre-behavior $1 (12.9%) and pre-behavior $10 (8.8%). Pairwise comparisons revealed compliance in the $10 post-behavior condition was significantly higher than the rate of compliance in the $1 and $10 pre-behavior conditions, Chi-Square (1, n = 62) = 4.31, p < .05 and Chi-Square (1, n = 65) = 6.82, p < .01 respectively. The lack of evidence for the effectiveness of pre-behavior reward strategy is discussed and contrasted with previous findings.

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