How to Measure Motivation: A Guide for the Experimental Social Psychologist

Maferima Touré-Tillery*, Ayelet Fishbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


This article examines cognitive, affective, and behavioral measures of motivation and reviews their use throughout the discipline of experimental social psychology. We distinguish between two dimensions of motivation (outcome-focused motivation and process-focused motivation). We discuss circumstances under which measures may help distinguish between different dimensions of motivation, as well as circumstances under which measures may capture different dimensions of motivation in similar ways. Furthermore, we examine situations in which various measures may capture fluctuations in non-motivational factors, such as learning or physiological depletion. This analysis seeks to advance research in experimental social psychology by highlighting the need for caution when selecting measures of motivation and when interpreting fluctuations captured by these measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-341
Number of pages14
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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