Incentives may simultaneously entice consumers and arouse reactance. It is proposed that consumers reaffirm their autonomy by choosing rewards that are congruent with the promoted consumption effort (choosing reward x over reward y, given effort x). Such congruity allows consumers to construe their behavior as intrinsically motivated rather than externally induced, because the effort is its own reward. Supporting this conceptualization, the results indicate that preferences for effort-congruent rewards are attenuated among consumers with lower psychological reactance, after a reactance-reduction manipulation, when rewards are independent of personal effort, and when rewards are a by-product rather than the intention of effort.
Journal of Consumer Researchvol.
31, (March 01, 2005):