What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

Motivation can be as diverse as people themselves.  Causes and effects of motivation are also multi-faceted.  What motivates you may be totally opposite to what motivates others.

When we finally achieve motivation, at times it’s short lived because it’s the wrong stimulus to produce lasing results.  Stimuli can come from deep inside the mind and soul, or be strictly the possibility of being rewarded.

Intrinsic motivation comes from inside a person rather than from an external source.  He or she is motivated by the sheer pleasure of a task or the sense of satisfaction of working on a task and its eventual completion.  It doesn’t matter if there is no monetary or other physical reward.

People who are intrinsically motivated work on a problem or job simply because it’s enjoyable.  They work to seek a solution, but also enjoy the trip in addition to the destination.  Their work is not done solely for its end payment or reward.

Some students are intrinsically motivated and enjoy the research and homework for the love of learning and not for the grade they’ll receive.  Such motivation usually results in excellent grades.

In everyday life, a good example is a person who works a crossword puzzle, a word jumble, or a jigsaw puzzle.  They enjoy the challenge of learning and achieving knowing that when the puzzle is complete there will be no reward other than self-satisfaction, which is enough.

There are cases where intrinsically motivated people do seek rewards in order to make a living or finish a class, but external rewards are not enough to keep them interested.  It takes a challenge for a person to pursue money or good grades because reward alone is not satisfying. It’s apparent that intrinsic motivation is very desirable, but few fall into this category.  Most students, teachers, and others need external rewards to keep them motivated.

Factors that promote intrinsic motivation are basically challenge, control, curiosity, fantasy, cooperation, competition, and recognition.  Challenge allows a person to work toward a meaningful goal.  Control allows one to direct what happens to them.  Curiosity stimulates the desire to learn about something.

Fantasy turns learning into a game by using mental images rather than things actually present.  Competition lets a person feel satisfaction by comparing their performance to others.  Cooperation and recognition bring satisfaction and appreciation from others to the motivator.

Extensive research has shown that intrinsic motivation is merely described as what people will do just for the love of doing it.  They’re not working on the task or job to receive any form of external inducement.

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