Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are two different types of motivation and, between the two, a number of differences can be observed. Motivation is a feeling that directs a person towards a task. One works only as long as he has some motivation for doing the job. In simple terms, motivation can be defined as direct activation of a goal oriented behavior. Life becomes boring when there is no motivation left to achieve a goal. Psychologists classify motivation as both intrinsic as well as extrinsic. It is rewards that differentiate between an intrinsic motivation and an extrinsic motivation. Let us understand the differences between the two.
What is Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation can be understood as a feeling of joy, a sense of achievement or accomplishment that guides a person towards action. In such cases, motivation comes from within. For example, you collect coins as you get satisfaction in doing so. It can be safely said that every human behavior has an underlying cause, and this cause is nothing but motivation that comes either from within or outside. When you engage in an activity, if you get fun doing it or desire to improve your skills in it, you are intrinsically motivated. A kid, when he receives praise from his teacher when he gets good grades is motivated to do well to receive better grades as he felt good when praised in front of others. But soon, this motivation becomes intrinsic as he gets satisfaction and strives to get better grades for his own sense of achievement and accomplishment.
Intrinsic motivation certainly does not mean that a person will not look for external rewards. It only means that the sense of achievement or accomplishment is more important than external rewards and these physical records are not enough on their own to keep the person motivated. For another example, take a writer who enjoys creating a world of his own through novels and short stories. For such an individual, the motivation to write comes from within as the very activity gives him pleasure.
What is Extrinsic Motivation?
On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is a feeling that originates from outside of the self. For example, a person who is employed gets a salary and also other benefits, these operate as a motivation. But this is extrinsic motivation as it comes from the outside. If the salary is being removed, then the person is no longer motivated. Then he or she will no longer be interested in the job. In real world, trophies, medals, money, incentives, perks and bonuses are some rewards that are important motivators for people. These things motivate people to do better in whatever job they are entrusted with. Extrinsic motivation is said to be at work when a person expects to receive a reward for his hard work. This could be better grades or praise from the teacher at school, money or promotion in job, or just approval and praise from others. However, this is a very simple explanation as in real world, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are intricately related; so much so that, it is difficult to say with certainty which is more important for a person that engages in a particular behavior. For example, a person may have gardening as his hobby. He feels happy and relaxed when he undertakes gardening, which is his intrinsic motivation, but an array of beautiful flowers in his garden work as extrinsic motivation which motivate him to keep on gardening.
What is the Difference Between intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation?
- Intrinsic motivation is a feeling of happiness, relaxation, achievement or accomplishment, whereas extrinsic motivators are rewards that are tangible such as money, medals, trophies etc.
- However, praise or approval of others can also work as extrinsic motivation.
- Intrinsic motivation comes from within whereas extrinsic motivation comes from the outside.
- In real life, people need both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
- 600px-Ernest_Hemingway_Writing_at_Campsite_in_Kenya_-_NARA_-_192655 by Look Magazine, Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- “Medals” by Danielle Keller [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons