Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Topics: Motivation, Regulatory Focus Theory, Self-esteem Pages: 6 (1958 words) Published: October 10, 2013

As defined in the text book motivation is the forces that energize and direct our efforts toward a meaningful goal (Atwater, Duffy & Kirsh, 2005). This paper will look to define motivation and the two common types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Which of the two is a moreeffective way of motivation and gives ourselves a higher sense of self-esteem? This paper will also examine different situations where people are motivated, both intrinsically and extrinsically, and the moral and ethical reasoning behind their decisions. Finally from a study done by Joe Gelona there is a look that if one is consciously thinking about what motivates you to complete a task it will result in higher levels of self- motivation.

A Look at Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
Every goal strived for in life whether it is a short term or long term goal has reasoning behind it, and that reasoning would be motivation. Motivation is defined in the text book as the forces that energize and direct our efforts toward a meaningful goal (Atwater, Duffy & Kirsh, 2005). People are motivated in two different ways; they are motivated intrinsically or extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation, again define in the text book, is “active engagement with tasks that people find interesting and that, in turn, promote growth and are freely engaged in out of interest” (Atwater et al. 2005). While extrinsic motivation is “the desire to engage in an activity because it is a means to an end and not because an individual is following his or her inner interests” (Atwater et al. 2005). In other words intrinsic motivation is being driven by internal factors and extrinsic is driven by outside factors in your environment. Motivation comes in two forms, and when are we inclined to use each of them and how do they help improve self- esteem? Some situations that put motivational thinking to the test are things like academic achievement; a study done by Martin Covington examines both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors push students to succeed. Another scenario is a look at situations which take into effect the ethics and moral values of motivational reasoning, and finally does just the thought about whether we are motivated or not have enough influence to motivate us?

While people are motivated in two different ways it is hard to pinpoint just which of the two is better for overall well being. A big factor that comes into play is self- esteem, which is someone’s idea of their own personal worth ( Atwater et al. 2005). When thinking of personal worth it seems to make sense that achieving a goal through intrinsic motivation would be best suited to boost self- esteem. A perfect example would be for someone trying to lose weight in order to be in better health. The thought of achieving the goal of a lower weight and looking better all because it is something that a person has wanted to do would be an enormous boost in self esteem once that goal has been accomplished. That is a situation in which self- esteem is benefited from using intrinsic motivation to achieve a personal goal. Extrinsic motivation works a little bit differently towards a self esteem boost, a person in the same situation with the idea of weight loss might only be doing it because they see it socially acceptable to look skinny and healthy. Another way to put that would be to say that the person is looking for self verification, in the textbook Atwater et al. (2005) classify that as doing something that will elicit positive feedback from others to verify our own self perceptions. So that same situation using the extrinsic way of motivation that person would raise their self esteem by getting that positive feedback from others after they achieved their weight loss goal. That is just one scenario in which both types of motivation can be shown to improve self esteem, either internally motivated (intrinsic) or from environmental factors and self verification (extrinsic). Moving forward we will...

References: Covington, M. (2000). Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation in Schools: Reconciliation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 22-25.
Duffy, K., Atwater, E., & Kirsh, S. (2005). Psychology for Living: Adjustment, Growth, And Behavior Today. (Tenth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ((Duffy, Atwater & Kirsh, 2005)
Gelona, J. (2011). Does Thinking About Motivation Boost Motivation Levels? The Coaching Psychologist, 7, 42-48.
Gerrard, E., & McNaughton, D. (1998). Mapping Moral Motivation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 1, 45-59.
Moen, Ross. Doyle, Kenneth O. (1978). Measures of Academic Motivation: A Conceptual Review. Research in Higher Education, 8, 1-23.
Rettinger, D., Jordan, A., & Peschiera, F. (2004). Evaluating the Motivation of Other Students to Cheat: A Vignette Experiment. Research in Higher Education,45, 873-890.
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