Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.1 The term motivation is defined and discussed with examples.

ryanrori January 5, 2021

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Motivation is the activation or energisation of goal-oriented behavior. Motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but, theoretically, it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well.

Intrinsic motivation comes from rewards inherent to a task or activity itself – the enjoyment of a puzzle or the love of playing. This form of motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s. Research has found that it is usually associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment by students. Intrinsic motivation has been explained by Fritz Heider’s attribution theory, Bandura’s work on self-efficacy, and Ryan and Deci’s cognitive evaluation theory. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

  • attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in),
  • believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck),
  • are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer. Money is the most obvious example, but coercion (the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or some other form of pressure or force) and threat of punishment are also common extrinsic motivations.

In sports, the crowd may cheer on the performer, which may motivate him or her to do well. Trophies are also extrinsic incentives. Competition is in general extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity.

Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to over justification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study demonstrating this effect, children who expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were assigned to an unexpected reward condition and to children who received no extrinsic reward.