[Two experiments demonstrated that positive affect fosters intrinsic motivation, as reflected by choice of activity in a free-choice situation and by rated amount of enjoyment of a novel and challenging task, but also promotes responsible work behavior in a situation where the work needs to be done. Where there was work that needed to be done, people in the positive-affect condition reduced their time on the enjoyable task, successfully completed the work task, but also spent time on the more enjoyable task. These results indicate that positive affect does foster intrinsic motivation, and enjoyment and performance of enjoyable tasks, but not at the cost of responsible work behavior on an uninteresting task that needs to be done. Implications for the relationship between positive affect and such aspects of self-regulation as forward-looking thinking and self-control are discussed.
Isen, A. M., &Reeve, J. (2005). The influence of positive affect on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Facilitating enjoyment of play, responsible work behavior, and self-control. Motivation and emotion, 29(4), 295-323.