Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, willingness and goals. Motivation is derived from the word motive which is defined as a need that requires satisfaction. These needs could also be wants or desires that are acquired through influence of culture, society, lifestyle, etc. or generally innate.
Motivation is one’s direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior, a set of force that acts behind the motives. An individual’s motivation may be inspired by others or events (extrinsic motivation) or it may come from within the individual (intrinsic motivation).
Motivation has been considered as one of the most important reasons that inspires a person to move forward. Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors. Mastering motivation to allow sustained and deliberate practice is central to high levels of achievement e.g. in the worlds of elite sport, medicine or music.
Intrinsic motivation has been studied since the early 1970s. Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one’s capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge. It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for consideration. The phenomenon of intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged within experimental studies of animal behavior.
In these studies, it was evident that the organisms would engage in playful and curiosity-driven behaviors in the absence of reward. Intrinsic motivation is a natural motivational tendency and is a critical element in cognitive, social, and physical development. The two necessary elements for intrinsic motivation are self-determination and an increase in perceived competence. In short, the cause of the behavior must be internal, known as internal local of causality, and the individual who engages in the behavior must perceive that the task increases their competence.
Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they…
- Attribute their educational results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy or locus of control
- Believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs
- Are interested in mastering a topic, not just in achieving good grades
Intrinsic motivation and the 16 basic desires theory
Starting from studies involving more than 6,000 people, Professor Steven Reiss has proposed a theory that found 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior. Intrinsic motivation is the tendency to find challenges, to push to find out for more, explore, and learn as much as possible. It is about reaching the most possible potential as a human being. The 16 basic desires that motivate our actions and define our personalities are:
- Acceptance, the need for approval
- Curiosity, the need to learn
- Eating, the need for food
- Family, the need to raise children
- Honor, the need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s clan/ethnic group
- Idealism, the need for social justice
- Independence, the need for individuality
- Order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments
- Physical activity, the need for exercise
- Power, the need for influence of will
- Romance, the need for sex and for beauty
- Saving, the need to collect
- Social contact, the need for friends (peer relationships)
- Social status, the need for social standing/importance
- Tranquility, the need to be safe
- Vengeance, the need to strike back and to compete
Extrinsic motivation comes from influences outside of the individual. In extrinsic motivation, the harder question to answer is where do people get the motivation to carry out and continue to push with persistence. Usually extrinsic motivation is used to attain outcomes that a person wouldn’t get from intrinsic motivation.
Common extrinsic motivations are rewards (for example money or grades) for showing the desired behavior, and the threat of punishment following misbehavior. Competition is an extrinsic motivator because it encourages the performer to win and to beat others, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A cheering crowd and the desire to win a trophy are also extrinsic incentives.
The simplest distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is the type of reasons or goals that lead to an action. While intrinsic motivation refers to doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable, extrinsic motivation, refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome. Extrinsic motivation thus contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which is doing an activity simply for the enjoyment of the activity itself, instead of for its instrumental value.