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The Effects of Competition on Improvisers’ Motivation, Stress, and Creative Performance



We explored how competition affects the quality of musical improvisation, as well as the intrinsic motivation and stress reported by improvisers. Amateur musicians improvised on a keyboard in one of two conditions: induced competition and no competition. Employing the consensual assessment technique, improvisations were assessed for creativity and technical goodness by 10 expert judges. Findings indicate that improvisations were judged as more creative under competitive than non-competitive conditions. Moreover, improvisers in the competition condition were more intrinsically motivated, as well as more stressed, than improvisers in the no competition condition. The creativity and technical goodness dimensions of improvisations were positively related to each other. The findings are discussed in light of the intense debate over the effects of extrinsic motivators on intrinsic motivation and creativity and offer mechanisms through which competition may affect creative performance as well as discuss the role of stress in affecting motivation and creativity.
The Effects of Competition on Improvisers’ Motivation,
Stress, and Creative Performance
Jacob Eisenberg
UCD School of Business, University Col lege Dublin
William Forde Thompson
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
We explored how competition affects the quality of musical improvisation, as well as the
intrinsic motivation and stress reported by improvisers. Amateur musicians improvised
on a keyboard in one of two conditions: induced competition and no competition.
Employing the consensual assessment technique, improvisations were assessed for crea-
tivity and technical goodness by 10 expert judges. Findings indicate that improvisations
were judged as more creative under competitive than non-competitive conditions. More-
over, improvisers in the competition condition were more intrinsically motivated, as well
as more stressed, than improvisers in the no competition condition. The creativity and
technical goodness dimensions of improvisations were positively related to each other.
The findings are discussed in light of the intense debate over the effects of extrinsic moti-
vators on intrinsic motivation and creativity and offer mechanisms through which com-
petition may affect creative performance as well as discuss the role of stress in affecting
motivation and creativity.
Ours is a competitive society. Competition is extolled
because it promotes full use of one’s abilities, ensures
that benefits and burdens are more fairly allocated,
dispels apathy and stagnation, leads to higher standards.
(Rich & DeVitis, 1992, p. 3).
In many Western indu strialized societies, competition
is promoted as a preferred strategy in various domains:
economy, the workplace, sports, educati on, an d fami ly
relations (Elleson, 1983; Rich & DeVitis, 1992).
Among the domains where competition has played a
dominant role are the performing arts and, more
specifically, music performance. Musical competitions
comprise a multimillion dollar industry, operating on
both global lines (e.g., the European Grand Prix for
Choral Singing or the Arthur Rubinstein International
Piano Competition) as well as on many local levels in
cities and villages across the world. Indeed, musical
competitions may be found across cultures, from the
International Tchaikovsky Competition that originated
in Russia to the All-Japan Band Association compe-
tition, which is considered the largest musical compe-
tition in the world with roughly 500,00 0 contestants
competing annually. Competitions are also common
in many popular music genres, as seen in the enor-
mous success of shows such as Eurovision and
American Idol.
In the past few decades, however, a number of educa-
tors have challenged the notion that competition always
leads to desirable outcomes. A considerable body of
knowledge has accumulated that questions the assump-
tions used by advocates of competition, and reveals
some of the drawbacks of over-competitive social sys-
tems (Elleson, 1983; Rich & DeVitis, 1992).
In spite of the theoretical and practical interest in the
issue, the effects of competition on music performance
have been so far insufficiently investigated through
experimental studies. In an attempt to fill this gap, we
conducted this study where an experimental situation
This article is based on work conducted by both authors at York
University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Correspondence should be sent to Dr. Jacob Eisenberg, UCD
School of Business, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4,
Ireland. E-mail:
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1040-0419 print=1532-6934 online
DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2011.571185
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was devised to examine the effects of a simulated
musical competition on music performers and the
music they produced. Specifically, effects of compe-
tition on intrinsic motivation and stress among impr o-
visers, and on the quality of their improvisations were
examined. The next sections provide some basic defini-
tions of core concepts, followed by a literature review
on competition and performance, which, in turn, is
followed by the methodology employed, results and
Competition is conceived as any situation perceived
as having outcomes of winning or losing. Those
involved in a competition (individuals or groups) aim
to do better (i.e., to win or, at least, not to lose) than
other participants, on some assessable dimension (e.g.,
Campbell & Furrer, 1995). The focus is on competitive
situations where the criterion for winning or doing bet-
ter is externally determined and generally agreed upon
(e.g., as it is the case when the winner of a performance
contest is the one who achieves the highest scores from
the judges).
Competitions can be classified into individual versus
group and into direct versus indirect (e.g., Goldman,
Stockbauer, & McAuliffe, 1977). In individual compe-
tition, individuals compete against other individuals.
In group competition, individuals compete as part of a
group, against individuals organized in another group.
In direct competition, people compete against each
other doing the same activity at the same time. In
indirect (or perceived) competition, people believe that
they compete against others on some compara ble and
measurable activity, but they are not in the physical
presence of other competitors (e.g., as is the case in a
piano completion wher e each competitor plays only in
the presence of the competition judges’ panel). The com-
petition simulated in this study was individual and
indirect with performers expecting to be evaluated and
to receive rewards.
The social psychology of competition has a long
history with the first experiment performed in 1898 by
Triplett, who observed social facilitation effects on
cyclists’ performance time and on children’s speed of
reeling fishing lines. Triplett (1898) coined the term
social facilitation to describe his finding that parti-
cipants who raced against others achieved better times
than participants who raced against a clock. Since then,
the effects of competition were examined in numerous
studies. Although many early findings suggested that
competition can enhance performance, psychologists
soon discove red that the picture was more complex.
Whereas competition tends to enhance performance
for relatively simple tasks, it may not be beneficial for
performance on more complex tasks (Elleson, 1983;
Johnson, Maruyama, Johnson, Nelson, & Skon, 1981;
Kohn, 1986).
Skilled music performance, as in most artistic domains,
involves both creativity and technical mastery. Som e of
the central elements in musical mastery involve demon-
stration of technical ability, which has been referred to
as technical goodness (Crozier, 1974). Although some
progress has been made with assessing technical mastery
in music (e.g., see summary in Thompson, 2009, cf.
Chapters 5 and 8), there has been less agreem ent on
what renders a music piece creative (Eisenberg &
Thompson, 2003; Ziv & Keydar, 2009). Amabile’s
(1983) working defin ition of creativity, which has been
often used in studies of creative products, was adopted
here. According to Amabile (1983, p. 33), ‘‘A product
or response will be judged as creative to the extent that
(a) it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, correct or
valuable response to the task at hand, and (b) the task is
heuristic rather than algorithmic.’
Algorithmic tasks are those for which the path to the
solution is clear and straightforward—tasks for which
an algorithm exists. By contrast, heuristic tasks are
those not having a clear and readily identifiable path
to a solution. Therefore, a task that tests knowledge
(e.g., a history quiz or a crossword), or that has a limited
range of correct solutions cannot serve to assess creativ-
ity (cf. Amabile, 1983; McGraw, 1978). In contrast,
because improvisation involves playing music with
no end result in mind, it is highly suitable as a creative
One of the earlier systematic studies on competition
and creativity was carried out by Abramson (1976),
who subjected his participants to three experimental
conditions: a noncompetitive condition, in which no
extra reward for performance was offered; an individual
competitive condition, in which participants were told
that the person who scored the highest on the tests in
each of the groups would receive a sum of money; and
a group competitive condition, in which participants
were divided into groups and told that a monetary
amount would be shared by members of the group
whose overall scores were the highest.
Abramson (1976) explored performance in two
dimensions of creativity: verbal and figural (visual–
artistic) and found that although performance was
generally higher in the individual competitive condition,
none of the treatments yielded significantly different
results. No significant differences in creative perform-
ance were found between the non-competitive and the
group competitive conditions.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Amabile (e.g., 1983,
1996) and her colleagues performed an extensive series
of studies that looked at the effects of two elements
frequently associated with competitions, evaluation and
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rewards, on dimensions of artistic products. Typical ly,
participants wer e exposed to conditions where they
either expected to be evaluated or did not, or to con-
ditions where they expected rewards or did not have
such expectations. The type of artistic tasks included
making collages from paper scraps, composing poems,
storytelling, and computer-generated art. In general,
evaluation led to decreased creativity but tended to
improve technical aspects of performance. Ama bile con-
cluded that evaluation undermines creativity displayed
on heuristic tasks, but enhances creativity on algorith-
mic tasks. Rewards seemed to have fairly similar effects:
in most situations expected rewards lead to lower crea-
tivity. Since most of the theoretical accounts for these
effects involved the role of intrinsic motivation, this
topic is reviewed next.
According to Lepper, Greene, and Nisbett (1973), per-
sons are intrinsically motivated if they perceive them-
selves as engaging in an activity primarily out of the
person’s interest in it. Persons are extrinsically moti-
vated when they perceive themselves engaging in the
activity to obtain some extrinsic goal. Deci and Ryan
(1985) a rgued that the needs for feeling competent and
self-determined (or autonomous) can be satisfied by
engagement in activities that are intrinsically motivat-
ing, giving one an opportunity to explore and develop
one’s skills and reaffirm one’s mastery over matters in
one’s environment. Intrinsically motivating activities
are characterized by experience of interest, enjoyment,
and flow, as well as by persistence to work toward
conquering the challenges presented by the motivating
activity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Ryan & Deci, 2000).
The intrinsi c motivation (IM) hypothesis states that
IM is conducive to creativity, but extrinsic motivation
is detrimental. According to Deci and Ryan (1985,
p. 34) ‘‘the antithesis of interest and flow is pressure
and tension. Insofar as people are pressuring themselves,
feeling anxious, and working with great urgency, we can
be sure that there is at least some extrinsic moti vation
The IM hypothesis is consistent with a large body of
research showing that extrinsic motivators can have
negative impact on later IM and qualitative aspects of
performance (Deci & Ryan, 1985; McGraw, 1978). Simi-
larly, in several studies, competition was found to under-
mine intrinsic interest. Deci et al. (1981) found that
direct individual competition led to subsequent lower
intrinsic interest in the task. Pressure to win was found
to further contribute to lower IM, compared to competi-
tive situations where such pressure was not present
(Reeve & Deci, 1996).
Although general agreement exists that higher intrin-
sic motivation encourages learning and, often, better
performance on problem solving (e.g., Amabile, Hill,
Hennessey, & Tighe, 1994; Guay & Vallerand, 1997;
Vallerand et al., 1993), a lively debate has been taking
place as to the effects that various extrinsic contingen-
cies, such as rewards, have on intrinsic motivation.
Backed by extensive empirical findings, Eisenberger
and his colleagues (Eisenberger & Aselage, 2008;
Eisenberger & Cameron, 1996; Eisenberger, Pierce, &
Cameron, 1999; Eisenberger, Rhoades, & Cameron,
1999) argued that, in general, when administered prop-
erly, rewards reinforce any type of behavior, including
intrinsic motivation and creativity. In a series of experi-
ments, Eisenberger and colleagues demonstrated that
under most conditions, rewards (as well as promised
rewards) do increase participants’ intrinsic motivation.
Following a meta-analysis of the effects of rewards on
intrinsic motivation, Eisenberger and Cameron (1996)
concluded that, for most types of rewards, intrinsic
motivation was higher under reward (vs. nonreward)
conditions. In some reward conditions, no differences
in effects existed and only in a small number of studies
did rewards prove detrimental to IM.
Although several studies looked at the effect of compe-
tition on creative performance in several artistic
domains, no studies to date have examined such effects
on musical performance. Anecdotal evidence suggests
that competition may benefit musicians and lead to
more creative products. Thus, Clydesdale (2006) reviews
the history of the Beatles and concludes that competitive
forces, both internal and external to the group, contrib-
ute to the group’s musical creativity.
Musical performance necessitates a set of motor and
cognitive skills that are somewhat different from those
required for performing well in other artistic domains
(Gabrielsson, 1999; Thompson, 2009). Moreover,
improvisation represents a specific sort of musical per-
formance, typified by a combination of both high tech-
nical skills, as well as originality (Pressing, 1988;
Sawyer, 1992). In fact, some claim that, more than other
art forms, musical improvisation resembles many oth er
spontaneous aspects of human performance in its
emphasis on interaction with others and can provide
researchers with insights into the dynamics behind com-
plex, though spontaneously flowing, activities ranging
from children’s play to adults’ conversations (Sawyer,
1999). Thus, we were motivated to expand the notice-
ably small sample of studies on social psychological
effects on improvisation and to examine how compe-
tition affects improvisational performance as well as
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effects on performance-related psychological processes
such as stress and motivation.
In addition to creativity, the technical goodness
dimension was assessed, as well. Based on studies in
psychology of music and art literature (e.g., Hedenius,
1980; Thompson, 2009), this dimension captures the
less spontaneous and original aspects of improvisation
and relates to expertise dimensions required for good
producing improvisations. The following questions were
addressed in this research:
1. Does competition increases or decreases improvi-
sations’ quality? Notwithstanding the contra-
dictory findings evident in the literature
reviewed, following Eisenberger’s (Eisenberger
& Aselage, 2008; Eisenberger & Cameron, 1996;
Eisenberger, Pierce, et al., 1999; Eisenberger,
Rhoades, et al., 1999) work, it was hypothesized
that competition would increase creativity as well
as technical goodness.
2. How does competition affects tw o relevant
psychological process variables, task motivation
and stress? It was hypothesized that compet ition
would increase stress and, following Eisenberger’s
(Eisenberger & Aselage, 2008; Eisenberger &
Cameron, 1996; Eisenberger, Pierce, et al., 1999;
Eisenberger, Rhoades, et al., 1999) studies, that
competition would also increase task motivation.
3. What is the relationship between two different
aspects of musical improvisation, technical good-
ness and creativity? The relationship between
these two dimensions may not be strong in cre-
ative areas that do not require high skills. How-
ever, given the high level of mastery that music
improvisation requires, it was suggested that
technical goodness and creativity would be posi-
tively correlated.
4. What role does task motivation play in improvis-
ation performance? Following substantial past
research it was hypothesized that task motivation
would relate positively to both creativity and
technical goodness.
As the main task of participants was to improvise, they
are also referred to as improvisers. Improvisers were 16
students and staff members from a major Canadian uni-
versity in Ontario, comprising 11 men and 5 women
whose ages ranged between 18 and 36 (M ¼ 23.7). All
improvisers had a minimum of 5 years experience in
playing the keyboard. Their improvisational experience
varied: Some never improvised; others have been impro-
vising for several years, and several took an improvis-
ation course in the undergraduate music program. All
improvisers were randomly assigned, in equal numbers,
to one of the two experimental conditions and were paid
CAN$7 for participating in the 40 min experiment. Pay-
ing participants for their time has been the norm for
psychological experiments of this kind that took place
at the university.
Stimuli. All improvisations were made by playing an
electronic keyboard and recording the music directly
into a Macintosh computer. The task, corresponding
to the framework of this study, was an open-ended
one, and did not demand a high level of expertise. The
procedure resulted in a series of comparable and assess-
able music pieces.
The experimental sessions were all conducted by the
first author, and all improvisers were tested individually.
The first stage was similar for both conditions: After
signing the consent form, participants were shown the
digital piano and asked to familiarize themselves with
the instrument for several minutes. Following that, in
the competition condition participants were told that
we were looking for the ‘‘best improvisers,’’ that all
the pieces would be judged later by musical experts, that
the three best improvisers would receive cash prizes and,
finally, participants wer e told that after the competition
is over there would be a posting of the top five perfor-
mers with student=employee numbers as identifiers,
arranged according to the students’ scores.
In the no competition condition, participants were
told that we were interested in finding out how people
went about improvising (e.g., what influences their play,
and what they try to convey through their improvis-
ation). It was made clear that the improvisers’ identity
was not important and would not be recorded. It was
also emphasized that nobody could hear them as they
Following that, the procedure and instructio ns wer e
similar for the two conditions: All participants were
asked to listen to the same 1-min-long excerpt of music
(Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, Dutoit, 1989, track 11:
‘‘March of the Black Knights’’) and to improvise for a
few minutes on the basis of their impression of the music
they heard.
When done improvising, all participants were asked
to answer a postexperimental questionnaire, which
included details regarding their experience in music
and improvisation, age, gender, how interested in the
experiment were they, how stressful was it, and their
interest to participate in a similar experiment in
the future. After completing the questionnaires, all
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participants were fully debriefed a nd asked not to dis-
cuss the experiment with their friends.
Product assessment. Since the recorded musical
improvisations varied in length, it was necessary to
standardize them to a similar length to avoid bias. A
standard procedure was followed in which all pieces
were trimmed to an equal length of 1 min and 15 sec-
onds, which was deemed to capture the full length of
most improvised pieces. Thus, all truncated improvisa-
tions ran from the original start point and ended after
1 min and 15 seconds. All improvisations were judged
for creativity and technical goodness according to the
Consensual Assessment Techniqu e (CAT) techn ique,
developed by Amabile (1983). Amabile’s CAT pro-
cedure requires that:
1. The judges should all have some experience with
the domain in question.
2. The judges should not be given specific criteria
for judging creativity, and they should not be
given the opportunity to confer while making
their assessments.
3. The judges should be asked to make assessments
on other dimensions in addition to creat ivity; rat-
ing the technical aspects of the products is a mini-
mal requirement. These separate ratings would
enable the experimenter to determine whether
creativity is related to, or independent from ,
these dimensions.
4. The judges should be instructed to rate the pro-
ducts relative to one another, rather than rating
them against some absolute standar d.
5. Each judge should view the products in a differ-
ent random order and also consider the various
dimensions of judgment in a different random
Judges. Four women and six men, whose ages ran-
ged from early 20s to late 30s and who included gradu-
ate students from the university music department,
music teachers, and=or musicians, served as judges. All
judges had substantial formal and informal musical
experience for several years and some familiarity with
improvised music.
Judging procedure. All judging sessions were car-
ried out individually. The judges received explanations
on the study and the judging procedures at the begin-
ning of each session. Each judge listened to all the pieces
twice: the first time without judging in order to get an
overall impression of the range of the pieces and then
a second time, one piece at a time, with each of the
two evaluated dimensions (creativity and technical
goodness) following each piece. Judges were blind to the
experimental conditions, and the order in which the pieces
were presented was fully randomized by a computer pro-
gram: in the first and second listening, and between the
10 judges. Rating was done using a nonscaled scroll bar
that appeared on the computer monitor and had two
anchors that yielded a 7-point scale, with 1 indicating
‘‘Not creative at all’ and 7 indicating ‘‘Very Creative’’.
Likert-type scales (with either 5 or 7 points) were used to
assess all the following variables. Intrinsic motivation
was assessed by asking improvisers to indicate their
degree of interest in the task, and stress was assessed
by asking improvisers to indicate how stressful the
experiment was for them. An additional item asked
participants to indicate their interest in participating in
a similar experiment in the future. Such behavior al
intentions are considered as a consequence of IM (e.g.,
Ryan & Deci, 2000) and, therefore, can be used to vali-
date the motivation measure used in this study.
Preliminary Analyses
Obtaining satisfactory interrater agreement is crucial in
the assessment method used, since a basic concept
behind the CAT is that raters are able to agree, to some
extent, on the qualities of the judged products. The
interrater reliability of judges’ ratings was estimated
using intraclass correlation coefficient for single score
(ICC2). ICC2 repres ents the degree of raters’ agreement
on a certain dimension or, in other words, the reliability
of the observed construct’s mean. The convention
regarding accep table ICC2 levels tends to parallel those
of Cronbach’s alpha, where levels of 0.60 and above are
acceptable, and levels above .070 are desirable (Bliese,
2000; Shrout & Fliess, 1979).
The average ICC2 for creativity was .71. The average
ICC2 for technical goodness was .88. Thus, both
measures reached acceptable interrater reliability, which
justified aggregation across judges. Subsequently, the
two variables consist of the averaged scores given by
the 10 judges to each improvisation.
A one-tail correlation analysis on the two perform-
ance dimensions revealed both variables correlated posi-
tively and significantly, r ¼ .52, p ¼ .02 (see Table 1). The
three process variables (task interest, stress, future par-
ticipation) generally correlated strongly and positively
with each other. As expected, task interest and intention
to participate in similar future tasks were strongly
positively and significantly correlated, r ¼ .52, p ¼ .02,
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supporting the validity of the task interest variable as an
indicator of intrinsic motivation. Interestingly, stress
and intrinsic motivation were positively correlated,
r ¼ .48, p ¼ .03. Intrinsic motivation had positive corre-
lation with creativity, r ¼ .41, p ¼ .06 and a strong posi-
tive correlation with technical goodness, r ¼ .59, p ¼ .008
(see Table 1 for full results).
Hypotheses Testing
To test the effects of competition on improvisations’
creativity and technical goodness, we used a one-way
analysis of variance tests (ANOVA) controlling for part-
icipants’ age. Of the two judged dimensions there
were marginally-significant effects for creativity, F(1,
15) ¼ 3.95, p ¼ .068. The effects size was medium-high
with a partial Eta
¼ .23 (see Cohen, 1968, for discussion
of effect sizes). Confirming our first hypothesis, parti-
cipants in the competition condition produced more cre-
ative improvisations (M ¼ 4.74) than participants in
the no competition condition (M ¼ 4.27). Although for
technical goodness the differences were not statistically
significant, participants in the competition condition
scored higher on that dimension.
ANOVA was also used to test the effects of compe-
tition on stress and task motivation. Competition had
marginally significant effects on both motivation and
on stress, F(1, 15) ¼ 4.13, p ¼ .06, partial Eta
¼ .24
and F(1, 15) ¼ 3.56, p ¼ .08, partial Eta
¼ .22, respect-
ively. As hypothesized, competition participants indi-
cated higher IM (M ¼ 6.65) than no compet ition
participants (M ¼ 5.85) as well as considerably higher
stress levels (M ¼ 3.11) than no competition participants
(M ¼ 1.76).
The last two hypotheses were tested using a
one-tailed correlation analysis. As hypothesized, creativ-
ity and technical goodness were strongly and positively
correlated, r ¼ .52, p ¼ .02. Finally, as expected, it was
found that intrinsic motivation correlated positively
and (marginally) significantly with creativity, r ¼ .41,
p ¼ .059 and more strongly so with technical goodness,
r ¼ .59, p ¼ .009.
The main aim of this study was to determine how com-
petition affects improvisers’ performance and to identify
psychological mechanisms related to such effects. One of
its original contributions is being the first to use an
experimental design to examine competition effects on
improvisation. Combined with the use of externally
rated products (rather than pa per and pencil measures)
to assess creative performance it allows for stronger
causality inferences and enhanced external validity.
Although the CAT has been widely used to assess vari-
ous creative products (see Hennessey, 1994), it was
rarely applied to musical performance; moreover, the
present study is the first to successfully use CAT with
improvised music.
Although past studies lead us to expect positive
effects of external motivators on effort, leading to higher
technical performance, an intense debate has been
raging over the effects of competition on intrinsic motiv-
ation and creativity. Our hypotheses regarding the pos i-
tive effects of competition were partially supported:
Although we found no effects of competition on techni-
cal goodness aspects of improvisations, competition
positively affected creativity.
Competition condition
participants produced more creative music than the no
competition participants. As expected, competition
participants reported both higher stress and higher
intrinsic (task) motivation, compared with participants
not exposed to competition. As hypothesized, it was
revealed that the technical dimensions of improvisations
were positively correlated with their creative dimensions.
Finally, confirmi ng the majority of past research, IM
correlated positively and significantly with creativity
and even more strongly so with technical goodness.
The findings that competition had positive effects on
creativity but no relation to technical goodness are at
odds with the pattern emerging from studies performed
by Amabile and colleagues (1994) that reported detri-
mental effects of evaluation and rewards on creativity.
It is interesting to note that many of these studies were
conducted with children or young adults and, in most
instances, performers were novices with little prior
experience with the tasks they performed. In the present
study, the task required a priori technical skills and all
participants had some experience with music in general
and with improvisation in particular.
To offer a conceptual explanation for these find-
ings, we suggest an integration of two complementary
perspectives: the novice–expert distinction and the
Following recent methodology discussions aimed at experimental
research designs with small N but relatively large effect sizes (e.g.,
Hoyle & Kenny, 1999), we interpret effects at the p < .10 level as
Correlations Between Improvisation Evaluations and
Process Variables
Dimension 1 2 3 4 5
1. Creativity .52
.03 .16
2. Technical goodness .59
.11 .27
3. Intrinsic motivation .48
4. Stress .27
5. Future participation
Note. N ¼ 16.
One-tailed correlations;
p < .10.
p < .05.
p < .01.
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synergetic effects of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators on
performance. It may be the case that for experienced
artists (or other creative performers), competition serves
as a facilitative, rather than inhibiting, mechanism, but
for novices who are new to the domain, the external
pressures of competition detrimentally affect creativity.
Support for this proposition may be drawn from West’s
(1993) study, in which he surveyed creative staff of
advertising agencies in the UK and North America.
West found that competitions and awards were seen as
positive motivators and, for most agencies, they were
positively associated with creative performance.
The expertise versus novice proposition is also
indirectly supported by Simonton (1977), who analyzed
the biographies of 10 eminent composers of classical
music and found that melodic originality was a positive
function of biographical stress. It may be that for rela-
tively experienced musicians, a combination of moder-
ate stress and intrinsic interest results in incremental
effects on creativity of improvisations.
It is also possible that the combination of extrinsic
pressures (competition and rewards) and intrinsic motiv-
ation may lead to higher creativity. James, Brodersen,
and Eisenberg’s (2004) model linking affect and creativ-
ity suggests similar effects. They argued that a combi-
nation of contrasting and moderately arousing
affective states, e.g., a sad mood with an instance of hap-
piness, might result in affective complexity that is con-
ducive for creative cognitive processes. In our study,
the low stress levels combined with positive excitement
may have resulted in such affective complexity. How-
ever, this explanation remains speculative since neither
main nor interaction effects for stre ss on performance
were detected in the present study.
In the social psychological literature (e.g., Vansteenkiste
& Deci, 2003), competitions are typically associated with
extrinsic motivation. We propose, however, that our
findings exemplify situations where competition func-
tions as an intrinsic motivator, as in the case of a person
who enjoys the mere act of competing. Indeed, our find-
ings are in line with a study by Vansteenkiste and Deci,
who found that in some competitive conditions, compe-
tition participants showed as much, or even more, task
enjoyment as no competition participants (e.g., when los-
ing a competition but receiving positive performance
These results are also in line with Eisenberger and
colleagues, who found that rewards increase IM as well
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comes (reward) and, hence, there is less reason to be
engaged in the task. On the other hand, promising a
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reward granter (e.g., supervisor or teacher), lacks con-
trol over the reward recipient and that the performer
can, if wishes so, decline the reward and not act as
requested, which results in greater autonomy percep-
tion and IM.
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... Consequently, stress left unattended can affect organs and systems such as the nervous, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems [4]. 2 of 11 Different professionals are exposed to varying intensities of stress [5][6][7]. The literature shows that stress is mostly induced in professions and activities related to a competitive environment [8,9]. Sports competitions are no exception since competition induces significant stress in all participants [10]. ...
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Stress plays a significant role in competitions and in the training of sports participants, and coaches are no exception. To better cope with stressful situations, close monitoring of coaches’ stress levels before, during, and after training and competitions is recommended. According to studies, the use of cortisol (C) and alpha-amylase (AA) as biomarkers for monitoring acute stress is recommended. Therefore, the aim of our study was to compare HR, salivary C and AA, and STAI scores before, during, and after handball matches and training sessions. The study examined one professional handball coach, aged 37, in stress markers (salivary cortisol (C) and alpha-amylase (AA) concentrations), heart rate (HR), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scores in five matches/training sessions in the First Qatar Handball League. Statistical analysis included the calculation of descriptive statistic parameters, Mann–Whitney U test for differences between match–training time points, and the effect size analysis (Cohen’s d) to calculate the magnitude of differences between match–training time points. Presented markers (C and AA) had statistically stronger reactions before, during, and after the matches than the corresponding time points of the training sessions, similar to HR data and STAI scores. Results indicate that, before and during the matches, the analyzed markers of stress increased, which might lead to the conclusion that coaches are more anxious than frightened before and during matches. Thus, stress-coping strategies for handball coaches should be more focused on stress anticipation and anxiety control.
... Research also has indicated that the extrinsic rewards given below along with the most needed intrinsic motivation may contribute to innovation [20], [21]: ...
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Purpose: Innovation is a critical phenomenon for an organization to be successful and need of the hour for an organization to stay ahead in the competition. Innovation is the result of ‘out of the box thinking’ in an organization and is essential in this competitive world for its survival. Appreciative Intelligence is the way forward to identify the opportunities and to focus on growth. The future foreseen through Appreciative Intelligence can be made successful with the Innovation factors. Although through Appreciative Intelligence the future is foreseen from the present, for economic success Innovation is needed. To beat the competition and to spur economic growth innovation is an essential phenomenon. Innovation is the result of multidimensional complex factors. These factors are both tangible and intangible. Thus it is essential to assess the synergy between the factors which have a significant influence on innovation and appreciative intelligence. Design/Methodology/Approach: Developing a theoretical concept based on a voluminous literature review and analysis of the result of interaction with the professionals across 12 countries. Findings/Result: Based on the developed theoretical conceptual model it is argued that both the factors which have a significant influence on innovation and the features of Appreciative Intelligence complement each other. Thus an organization that has both can envisage the opportunities or create the opportunities and realize the objectives by overcoming all the obstacles. Originality/Value: A new conceptual model titled ApI2Factors (Appreciative Intelligence-Innovation Factors) which is a secret to everlasting success for an organization Paper Type: Conceptual Research
... Specially, as AI continues to be adopted in enterprises, employees will feel the threat that their own jobs will be replaced (Brougham & Haar, 2018), which involves competition between employees and AI in the workplace. Previous studies also shown that competition has a positive impact on individuals' intrinsic motivation (Eisenberg & Thompson, 2011;Zhu et al., 2016). That is to say, AI has brought challenges to employees' existing dull jobs and threatened their job stability. ...
Drawing on the job demand-resource (JD-R) model, the current study constructs a dual-pathway approach which aims to reveal the mixed impact of AI awareness on service innovative behavior. Specifically, this paper argues that AI awareness will both increase employees' emotional exhaustion, inhibiting their service innovative behaviors (strain pathway) and stimulate employees' intrinsic motivation, promoting their service innovative behaviors (motivation pathway). Meanwhile, employees’ future orientation will buffer the strain pathway and strengthen the motivation pathway. Multisource data (n = 317) from China support the proposed theoretical framework. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
... Compared to students with low ability to act, students with high ability will grow up in competition and willing to take risks. These students are more likely to have flexibility, adaptability, and creativity in the future (Eisenberg and Thompson, 2011). Johnson and Johnson (2009) suggest that competition with clear, fair rules and procedures will help students improve their learning achievements. ...
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This study aims to investigate the effects of students’ learning motivation and learning performance in a digital game-based learning setting and the structure of competition. This study uses Social Cognitive Theory, which emphasizes the bidirectional effects between personal factors, environmental factors, and behavior. We use the emotional state as the personal factor, social support as the environmental factor, learning performance as behavior. We also use self-efficacy and learning motivation as the mediating factors in the model. Data samples were collected from approximately 600 students in junior high schools in Taiwan. The students learned via either application or conventional lectures in three groups. The Control Group (CG) learned the course through a conventional learning approach. The Experimental group 1 (EG1) learned by a digital game, while Experimental Group 2 (EG2) learned through the digital game in combination with a structure that involved competing and entrepreneurship with classmates. The result of this research shows that the emotional state negatively affects learning motivation and self-efficacy, that self-efficacy will positively affect learning motivation, social support will positively affect self-efficacy, and self-efficacy and learning motivation will both positively affect learning performance. In addition, this research certifies previous works that entrepreneurs prefer to be more aggressive in competitions, have a high demand for accomplishment motivation, and are more likely to facilitate competitive over non-competitive environments.
Co-creativity has recently received increasing attention. However, few empirical studies explore individuals’ creative performance in a group, and fewer have approached creative ideation in different task situations. This study recruited 156 participants to complete creativity tests on an online creativity task platform. Participants were randomly assigned to either cooperative or competitive task situations. Their performance was analyzed using two creativity tests: the Alternative Uses Test (AUT) and Chinese Radical Remote Associates Test (CRRAT). Participants completed tasks alone (i.e., in single player mode) and in a cooperative or competitive situation (i.e., in paired-player mode). The results revealed that participants in the competitive task situation showed higher levels of competitive anxiety. Moreover, their AUT and CRRAT performances in paired-player mode were better than those in single player mode. In the cooperative task situation, participants’ CRRAT performance was significantly better than in the competitive task situation. This study had two main findings. First, it strengthens the understanding of how group work enhances individual online creative performance. Second, it distinguishes the influences of cooperative or competitive task situations on different creative performance. This study revealed the differences in creative performance in distinct task situations.
Kiasu (fear of losing out, FoLO) is considered the single most defining adjective that captures Singapore identity, and it is well‐observed in other Asian cultures as well. Despite the widespread endorsement of kiasu in Singapore, there is limited empirical research on the theoretical conception of kiasu as a psychological construct. To empirically investigate kiasu, we validated the construct and measurement of the FoLO mindset in Study 1. In Study 2, we hypothesized and found a negative association between FoLO and Singaporeans’ self‐esteem, which was mediated by a higher tendency of conformity. In addition, we hypothesized and found that individuals’ need for cognitive closure (NFCC) moderated the negative link between conformity and self‐esteem such that high NFCC accelerated the negative impact of conformity on self‐esteem. Whereas FoLO is often described as a form of competitiveness, the moderated‐mediation model of FoLO and self‐esteem can be replicated with competitiveness but in an opposite direction. This demonstrated that FoLO and competitiveness are two distinct psychological constructs. Implications of FoLO in Singapore as well as in other Asian contexts are discussed.
A growing number of people today are participating in the gig economy, working as independent contractors on short-term projects. We study the effects of competition on gig workers’ effort and creativity on a Chinese novel-writing platform. Authors produce and sell their works chapter by chapter under a revenue-sharing or pay-by-the-word contract with the platform. Exploiting a regulation that induced a massive entry of novels in the romance genre but not other genres, we find that, on average, intensified competition led authors to produce content more quickly, whereas its effect on book novelty was weak. However, revenue-sharing books responded to competition substantially more than pay-by-the-word books, particularly regarding novelty. Moreover, the effect of competition on novelty is considerably stronger for books at earlier stages of the product life cycle. Finally, the platform increased the promotion of contracted books, which disproportionately favored pay-by-the-word books. We discuss the implications of these results for creative workers, platform firms, and policy makers in the gig economy. This paper was accepted by Anandhi Bharadwaj, information systems.
This article presents practice-based research exploring the interplay of real-time music creation and competitive gameplay. Musically creative video games, apps, and sound art are first surveyed to highlight their characteristic avoidance of competitive game elements. The relationship between play, games, and musical activity is then examined with reference to theoretical perspectives from ludomusicology and game studies, revealing a series of mechanical and aesthetic design tensions emerging between competitive gameplay and music creation. Two original music games are presented to explore this interplay across contrasting design approaches: EvoMusic engenders an abstract competitive dialogue between the player and system for authorial control, while Idea presents a more explicit ludic framework with goals, progression, danger, and victory. The games are evaluated in a comparative user study to capture the player experience of composing within competitive game settings. Participant responses revealed conflicting expectations for ludic and compositional experiences. Idea was the preferred game, yet its strong ludic elements distracted from or disincentivized music creation; EvoMusic offered more focused music creation yet also a weaker gameplay experience for lacking these same competitive elements. This relationship reflects the theoretical design tensions suggested by ludomusical scholarship. Further, a majority of participants characterized EvoMusic as being simultaneously competitive and creatively stimulating. The implication is that competitive games can support music creation for certain players, though it remains challenging to satisfy expectations for both within any one system. Design recommendations are drawn from these insights, and the potential for future research into creative music games is discussed.
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Resulting from the Industrial Revolution 4.0, English is evolving into a global language and is detected from multi-aspects consisting of technological, scientific, and business aspects, and completely, English language learning quality must be enhanced. Thus, this paper focuses on constructing a conceptual framework in which competition is presenting as a moderator on the influence on the English language learning quality of students in the context of higher education in Vietnam. To achieve this objective, the paper employs a qualitative approach through tools of the meta-analysis, systematic review, from 86 publications as research papers, theses/ dissertations, books, and other relevant publications in the focused subject from prominent and reliable databases, including Google Scholar, Research Gate, Scopus, Web of Science, EBSCO, Cengage and Springer, etc. and direct observation with 55 English language classes, 5 interviews are conducted by using a semi-structured questionnaire with 135 students and 55 lecturers and 5 educational/ English teaching experts. The paper hopes to contribute to English learning quality enhancement and extends its contribution to the educational quality in higher education.
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Conducted a field experiment with 3-5 yr old nursery school children to test the "overjustification" hypothesis suggested by self-perception theory (i.e., intrinsic interest in an activity may be decreased by inducing him to engage in that activity as an explicit means to some extrinsic goal). 51 Ss who showed intrinsic interest in a target activity during baseline observations were exposed to 1 of 3 conditions: in the expected-award condition, Ss agreed to engage in the target activity in order to obtain an extrinsic reward; in the unexpected-award condition, Ss had no knowledge of the reward until after they had finished with the activity; and in the no-award condition, Ss neither expected nor received the reward. Results support the prediction that Ss in the expected-award condition would show less subsequent intrinsic interest in the target activity than Ss in the other 2 conditions. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Specified the determinants of creative productivity in the form of 6 hypotheses. Using a multivariate, cross-sectional, time-series design with several controls, the lives and works of 10 classical composers were analyzed into consecutive 5-yr periods. Two independent measures of productivity were operationalized (works and themes), with each measure subdivided into major and minor compositions according to a citation criterion. It was consistently found across both productivity measures that quality of productivity was a probabilistic consequence of productive quantity and that total productivity, while affected by age and physical illness, was otherwise free of external influences (e.g., social reinforcement, biographical stress, war intensity, and internal disturbances). Due to the more selective nature of the thematic productivity measure, the criterion of total themes alone was affected by competition and a time-wise bias. The utility of the methodological design is discussed. (48 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
The ideas presented in this book have been incubating for over 25 years. I was in the first grade, I believe, when the ideas that eventually developed into this social psychology of creativity first began to germinate. The occasion was art class, a weekly Friday afternoon event during which we were given small reproductions of the great masterworks and asked to copy them on notepaper using the standard set of eight Crayola® crayons. I had left kindergarten the year before with encour­ agement from the teacher about developing my potential for artistic creativity. During these Friday afternoon exercises, however, I developed nothing but frus­ tration. Somehow, Da Vinci's "Adoration of the Magi" looked wrong after I'd fin­ ished with it. I wondered where that promised creativity had gone. I began to believe then that the restrictions placed on my artistic endeavors contributed to my loss of interest and spontaneity in art. When, as a social psy­ chologist, I began to study intrinsic motivation, it seemed to me that this moti­ vation to do something for its own sake was the ingredient that had been missing in those strictly regimented art classes. It seemed that intrinsic motivation, as defined by social psychologists, might be essential to creativity. My research pro­ gram since then has given considerable support to that notion. As a result, the social psychology of creativity presented in this book gives prominence to social variables that affect motivational orientation.
This article addresses the phenomenon of improvisational creativity, taking jazz performance as a prominent example within American culture. A series of interviews were conducted with professional jazz musicians. The interviews focused on creativity and jazz improvisation. Five salient characteristics of jazz improvisation, which distinguish it from compositional creativity, were identified in the interviews. Improvisation and composition are compared and discussed within the context of current creativity theory. Given that most creativity theory has focused on compositional forms of creativity, the analysis of improvisational performance could provide a new perspective on the creative process.