Why do we act the way we do? What motivates our actions? Psychologists have proposed various ways of thinking about motivation, such as whether motivation comes from the outside (extrinsic) or inside (intrinsic) of an individual.
Researchers discovered that each type has a distinct impact on a person’s behaviour and goal pursuit. It will be beneficial to learn how each type of motivation works in order to better understand the impact of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on human behaviour.
What Is Extrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic motivation refers to the drive to engage in a behavior or activity because of external rewards or pressures, rather than because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable. These external rewards or pressures can include things like money, grades, recognition, or avoiding punishment. Extrinsically motivated behavior is typically less self-determined and autonomous than behavior driven by intrinsic factors such as personal interest or enjoyment.
Examples of extrinsic motivation include:
A student studying for a test to get a good grade,
An employee working hard to get a promotion or a raise,
A person going to the gym to lose weight to look good for a special event.
It’s important to note that extrinsic motivation can be positive, when rewards are used to increase the frequency of a behavior, it is called positive reinforcement. On the other hand, when punishments are used to decrease the frequency of a behavior, it is called negative reinforcement. However, when overused or not used in the right way, extrinsic motivation can have negative effects on a person’s intrinsic motivation and overall well-being.
What Is Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation refers to the drive to engage in a behavior or activity because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable, rather than because of an external reward or pressure. It is driven by internal factors such as personal interest, enjoyment, or a sense of satisfaction. Intrinsically motivated behavior is typically more self-determined and autonomous than behavior driven by extrinsic factors such as rewards or punishments. This type of motivation is considered to be more long-lasting and sustainable than extrinsic motivation.
Examples of intrinsic motivation include:
1. A person reading a book because they enjoy reading,
2. A person playing a sport because they enjoy the challenge and camaraderie,
3. A person taking up a hobby because it brings them a sense of fulfillment.
Intrinsic motivation is closely related to an individual’s personal interests, passions, and values, and it allows people to find meaning and purpose in what they do. It’s important to find activities that you find interesting and enjoyable, and make them a part of your daily life to increase your intrinsic motivation and improve your overall well-being.
taking part in sports in order to win awards
To avoid being chastised by your parents, clean your room.
Participating in a scholarship competition
Studying in order to get a good grade
Participating in a sport because you enjoy the activity
Cleaning your room because you enjoy cleaning
Solving a word puzzle because the challenge appeals to you
Studying a subject that interests you.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: Which Is Best?
It’s difficult to say whether extrinsic or intrinsic motivation is “best” as both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Extrinsic motivation can be effective in increasing the frequency of a behavior, such as getting a student to study for a test or an employee to work harder to get a promotion. However, over-reliance on extrinsic rewards can decrease intrinsic motivation and lead to a lack of autonomy and self-determination.
On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is closely tied to an individual’s personal interests and passions, and it can lead to greater creativity, persistence, and overall well-being. Intrinsically motivated individuals are more likely to set and achieve personal goals, and they are more likely to find meaning and purpose in what they do.
It’s important to note that both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can work together in a complementary way. For example, extrinsic rewards can be used to increase the frequency of a behavior, and then gradually phased out as intrinsic motivation develops. Additionally, providing autonomy and choice, positive feedback and recognition, and opportunities for mastery and learning, can increase intrinsic motivation.
Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and to use them in a way that supports, rather than undermines, an individual’s natural interest and enjoyment in an activity.
When to Use External Rewards
Encourage someone to learn something new.
Increase a person’s interest in a previously uninteresting activity
Give people feedback to let them know that their efforts are appreciated.
When Not to Use External Rewards
Someone is already interested in the subject, task, or activity.
Offering a reward would turn the activity into “work” rather than “play.”
When to Use Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation can be useful in certain situations, such as:
Establishing a new behavior: Extrinsic rewards can be used to increase the frequency of a new behavior, such as getting a student to study for a test or an employee to work harder to get a promotion.
Short-term goals: Extrinsic rewards can be effective in achieving short-term goals, such as completing a project or meeting a deadline.
Changing an undesirable behavior: Extrinsic punishment can be used to decrease the frequency of an undesirable behavior, such as getting a child to stop hitting other children.
Teaching new skills: Extrinsic rewards can be used to teach new skills, such as getting a dog to learn a new trick.
Performance enhancement: Extrinsic rewards can be used to increase performance in certain tasks, such as paying a salesperson commission for meeting their sales targets.
However, it’s important to use extrinsic motivation in a way that supports, rather than undermines, an individual’s intrinsic motivation. For example, it’s important to make sure that the rewards are appropriate, that they are given consistently, and that they are gradually phased out as intrinsic motivation develops.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the context, some individuals may respond well to extrinsic rewards, others may be demotivated by it, for example, some people may be motivated by money, others may be motivated by recognition, and others may be motivated by a sense of autonomy.
How Do Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation Influence Learning?
Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation can both influence learning in different ways.
Intrinsically motivated learners tend to be more engaged, persistent and self-directed in their learning. They are more likely to set and achieve personal learning goals, and they tend to find meaning and purpose in what they are learning. They also have a tendency to seek out new learning opportunities and to learn for the sheer pleasure of it.
Extrinsically motivated learners, on the other hand, may be more focused on achieving external rewards or avoiding punishment. They may be less engaged and less persistent in their learning, and they may be more focused on achieving a specific outcome rather than the learning process itself.
However, it’s important to note that extrinsic motivation can also have a positive impact on learning when used in the right way. For example, using rewards to increase the frequency of a new behavior, such as studying for a test, can be effective in the short-term. Additionally, providing appropriate feedback, recognition, and opportunities for mastery can increase intrinsic motivation.
It’s also worth noting that a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is often more effective for learning, than relying on one or the other. For example, a task or activity that is inherently interesting, but also challenging and provides the learner with a sense of autonomy and control, can lead to a high level of engagement, persistence and interest in the learning process.
Knowledge Glow Says
Human behaviour is driven by both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. There are several key differences between motivation based on external rewards and motivation based on an individual’s genuine interest, including the influence of each type on behaviour and the situations in which each type will be most effective.
Understanding how each type of motivation works and when it is likely to be useful can help people perform tasks (even when they don’t want to) and learn more effectively.