Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation with          
                         Examples of Each Type of Motivation

       Motivation is an important concept in psychology.   It provides insight into why we may behave the way we do.  Motivation is an internal process that reflects the desire to achieve certain goals.  Motivation can be divided into two basic types:  intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

       What is intrinsic motivation?   Intrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something because it is enjoyable.  If we are intrinsically motivated, we would
not be worried about external rewards such as praise or awards.  If we are intrinsically motivated, the enjoyment we experience would be sufficient for us to want to perform the activity in the future.

Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

Writing short stories because you really enjoy writing them, reading a nonfiction book because you are curious about the topic, and playing chess because you enjoy effortful thinking are some intrinsic motivation examples.

Extrinsic Motivation

What is extrinsic motivation?   Extrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something because of external rewards such as awards, money, and praise.  People who are extrinsically motivated may not enjoy certain activities.  They may only wish to engage in certain activities because they wish to receive some external reward.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

There are many possible extrinsic motivation examples.  The writer who only writes poems to be submitted to poetry contests would be one example of extrinsic motivation.   The person who dislikes sales but accepts a sales position because he or she desires to earn an above average salary is another example of extrinsic motivation.   A third example of extrinsic motivation is selecting a major in college based on salary and prestige, rather than personal interest in the major.

The Possible Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

       Teachers may be very interested in fostering intrinsic movitation.  If students are only interested in receiving grades or praise, and do not enjoy learning, then teaching may be very difficult.  Students may not wish to think or apply their knowledge.  They may only be concerned with what will be on the tests.  In contrast, students who are intrinsically motivated may enjoy challenging work, and may think in greater depth about ideas.  Teachers may be able to foster intrinsic motivation by having students work on projects that allow them to see how the information is relevant to their lives.
      Supervisors may also be interested in ways to increase intrinsic motivation.  The ideal employee may be one who is self-motivated and does not require constant supervision.   Intrinsically motivated employees may b
e less likely to be late.  They also may be more likely to excel at their jobs.  It is possible that supervisors may increase intrinsic motivation by allowing employees to have greater autonomy, making the workplace fun, or encouraging creativity(1)


1.  Below are two articles on this website concerning motivating employees:

Open Mike Events:  Motivating Employees with Music and Humor in the Workplace

Increasing Job Meaning and Employee Motivation with Greater Job Autonomy