In 2 experiments, the authors examined the effect of choice on cognitive task performance and affective engagement. The enhanced cognitive engagement hypothesis (ECE) predicted that choice would increase cognitive engagement as measured by performance on a cognitive task such as solving a crossword puzzle or writing an essay. The enhanced affective engagement hypothesis (EAE) predicted that choice would have a positive effect on attitude and effort. Experiment 1 indicated that choice had no positive effect on cognitive engagement but had a positive effect on attitude and effort. Experiment 2 showed that self-paced readers who were given a choice of how long to study spent less time and performed more poorly on cognitive measures than researcher-paced readers who did not have a choice. Measures of attitude indicated positive affective engagement associated with choice of study time. Findings from Experiments 1 and 2 supported the EAE but did not support the ECE.
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