Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation

In this guide you will discover:

  • How do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation differ?
  • What is an example of an extrinsic motivation?
  • How do you develop intrinsic motivation?
  • Which is an example of intrinsic motivation?
  • Is extrinsic motivation better than intrinsic?

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation is driven by many factors. The most significant are internal and external. In psychological vernacular, this would be referred to as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A person’s overall motivation to accomplish a certain goal or start a task may be impacted by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Understanding what some of these internal and external components can have a significant influence on developing a more positive and motivational attitude which can translate into success, or at least more success, in life.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Examples

Intrinsic (internal) motivation is basically driven by internal factors, such as an enjoyment of doing something, being motivated by a specific challenge, or achieving a certain goal that will bring them satisfaction. If the rewards come from inside, that would be intrinsic motivation.

Basic biological needs, like food and water, are intrinsic. They are things we need individually. If you eat and drink a healthy meal, it’s not going to affect anyone else and you are certainly not going to receive some accolades from outside your own being.

Extrinsic (external) motivation, on the other hand, refers to performing a specific task with the overarching goal of receiving some type of external reward or outcome. If a student works hard and studies to achieve an A in a class because his or her parents promised he could go away on a vacation with friends if he did, that external reward was the extrinsic motivator that pushed him to succeed.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Theory

There are numerous motivational theories that focus around intrinsic and as extrinsic factors. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, and even the Hawthorne Effect are all based around these internal and external components.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs focuses on a hierarchy, or order of basic needs that will drive a person to do certain tasks. The most basic needs are for food, water, and shelter. It moves all the way up to social acceptance and external rewards.

The Two-Factor Theory basically focuses on two issues: motivator factors and hygiene factors. Low wages, poor benefits, and bad relationships with bosses will impact hygiene factors and are external. Motivator factors can involve internal issues like feeling appreciated and having the chance to advance within the workplace.

The Hawthorne Effect found that workers would tend to work harder if they knew somebody was watching them. That external factor, perceived or real, impacted performance or, at the very least, effort.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards

As mentioned, intrinsic rewards come from within and extrinsic rewards are those that are presented to an individual from outside their person. An organization or individual who is offering the reward may not even be aware that they are doing it because that may be perceived only by the individual receiving.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

  • Earning a paycheck is an extrinsic motivator.
  • Receiving recognitions, such as an award, is an external motivator.
  • Being accepted into a certain social clique or circle because of something a person did is an external motivator.
  • Getting a date you wanted because you actually got up and asked her is an external motivator.

Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

Things that are self-gratifying such as:

  • Hobbies
  • Watching movies
  • Relaxing
  • Eating good food
  • Playing video games

Or they can also be more subtle such as:

  • Inner peace & happiness
  • Well-being & good health
  • Curiosity & adventure
  • Accomplishment & a job well done

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Muscles

Intrinsic muscles are those that are located deep within the body. Extrinsic muscles, on the other hand, are a group of muscles that exist superficially on the surface. The deeper muscles have a tendency to be stronger and perform more of the bulk tasks a body or part of the body performs.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Chemistry

When it comes to chemistry, an intrinsic property is one that is part of a system or the material that comprises that particular object. If a property is either not part of it, not inherent to it, or is not essential to its survival, it is considered an extrinsic property.

For example, density is considered an intrinsic property of an object whereas weight isn an extrinsic property that derives its value from external sources.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value

In the realm of ethics, it has often been believed that intrinsic value is the most important factor. This value would be, basically, how you view yourself, what is most important to you, or what kind of rights you attribute to yourself as being appropriate.

Extrinsic values, on the other hand, are those factors that place value on us, which may or may not influence our perception of self-worth, value, or intrinsic value.

Define Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is basically defined as something a person would gain, something they want, either for a basic necessity in life, personal satisfaction, or pleasure, that encourages them to get up and do something in order to achieve it.

Is Extrinsic Motivation Better Than Intrinsic?

It depends on what the desired outcome or goal is.

Some people may argue that extrinsic motivation is better than intrinsic, but is that really the case? If a person’s self-worth is defined by external factors, then when those conditions disappear or are altered, the person’s self-worth or desire to do certain tasks can change.

However, if a person focuses more on intrinsic motivation, they become rooted and more confident. It usually leads to more self-esteem and they become less impervious to change caused by external factors.

What Is Intrinsic and Extrinsic Compensation?

Compensation can mean a lot of different things. When it comes to employment, workers are compensated for their time with money, usually in the form of a paycheck, benefits, or a combination of the two. Outside the workplace, though, what could intrinsic and extrinsic compensation look like?

Intrinsic compensation could simply be a sense of satisfaction or pleasure. When a person is happy with the results of the effort they put in, that’s an internal, or intrinsic, reward.
If a person is heralded as being a hero because of something he or she did, that would be extrinsic compensation. Also, winning an award or earning accolades for a great report card can all be considered extrinsic compensation.

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