The present paper identifies and discusses contemporary problems in the self-regulation, expectancy-value, and goal-setting conceptualizations of task-specific motivation. Three issues are examined in detail: (1) the construct validity of performance measures as a criterion of motivation on cognitive tasks; (2) the influence of objective task characteristics on both the measurement of motivation and the motivation process itself; and (3) the measurement, meaning, and function of the perceived effort-performance relation and probabilistic measures of performance expectations. Within each issue, theoretical advances in information processing and decision making are integrated with previous empirical findings pertaining to performance motivation. Examination of these issues suggests that further emphasis be placed on form analyses of three cognitive mechanisms and on validating a conceptual framework concerning the influence of situational and individual-difference factors on specific cognitive components. A heuristic model, extending previous conceptualizations on the basis of new knowledge in the cognitive domain, is presented as a guide for further integrative research on task-specific motivation.