Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: What's the Difference? (2022)

Why do we do the things we do? What drives our behavior? Psychologists have proposed different ways of thinking about motivation, including looking at whether motivation arises from outside (extrinsic) or inside (intrinsic) an individual.

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Researchers have found that each type has a different effect on a person's behavior and pursuit of goals. To better understand the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on human behavior, it will help to learn how each type works.

1:17

Is It Extrinsic or Intrinsic Motivation?

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation is when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity because we want to earn a reward or avoid punishment. You will engage in behavior not because you enjoy it or because you find it satisfying, but because you expect to get something in return or avoid something unpleasant.

Understanding Extrinsic Motivation

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is when you engage in abehavior because you find it rewarding. You are performing an activity for its own sake rather than from the desire for some external reward. The behavior itself is its own reward.

Understanding Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic Motivation

  • Participating in a sport to win awards

  • Cleaning your room to avoid being reprimanded by your parents

  • Competing in a contest to win a scholarship

  • Studying because you want to get a good grade

    (Video) Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

  • Participating in a sport because you find the activity enjoyable

  • Cleaning your room because you like tidying up

  • Solving a word puzzle because you find the challenge fun and exciting

  • Studying a subject you find fascinating

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Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: What's the Difference? (1)

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Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: Which Is Best?

Extrinsic motivation arises from outside of the individual while intrinsic motivation comes from within. Research has shown that each type has a different effect on human behavior.

Studies have demonstrated that offering excessive external rewards for an already internally rewarding behavior can reduce intrinsic motivation—a phenomenon known as the overjustification effect.

For example, in a 2008 study, children who were rewarded for playing with a toy they had already expressed interest in playing with became less interested in the item after being externally rewarded.

This is not to suggest that extrinsic motivation is a bad thing—it can be beneficial in some situations. For example, extrinsic motivation can be particularly helpful when a person needs to complete a task that they find unpleasant.

Additionally, external rewards can:

  • Be a source of feedback to let people know when their performance has achieved a standard that is deserving of reinforcement
  • Induce interest and participation in an activity an individual was not initially interested in
  • Motivate people to acquire new skills or knowledge (once these early skills have been learned, people might become more intrinsically motivated to pursue an activity)

Extrinsic motivators should be avoided in situations where:

  • An individual already finds the activity intrinsically rewarding
  • Offering a reward might make a "play" activity seem more like "work"

When to Use External Rewards

(Video) What’s the difference between Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation?

  • Motivate a person to learn something new

  • Make a person more interested in an activity that they are not interested in

  • Provide feedback to people to let them know their performance is worthy of recognition

When Not to Use External Rewards

  • A person is already interested in the topic, task, or activity

  • Offering a reward would make the activity feel like "work" instead of "play"

‘Doing What You Love’: The Battle of Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation

When to Use Extrinsic Motivation

Most people assume that intrinsic motivation is best, but it is not always possible in every situation. Sometimes a person simply has no internal desire to engage in an activity. Offering excessive rewards can be problematic as well.

However, when they are used appropriately, extrinsic motivators can be a useful tool. For example, extrinsic motivation can get people to complete a work task or school assignment that they are not interested in.

Researchers have arrived at three primary conclusions regarding extrinsic rewards and their influence on intrinsic motivation:

  1. Intrinsic motivation will decrease when external rewards are given for completing a particular task or only doing minimal work. If parents heap lavish praise on their child every time they complete a simple task, the child will become less intrinsically motivated to perform that task in the future.
  2. Praise can increase internal motivation. Researchers have found that offering positive praise and feedback when people do something better than others can improve intrinsic motivation.
  3. Unexpected external rewards do not decrease intrinsic motivation. If you get a good grade on a test because you enjoy learning about a subject and the teacher decides to reward you with a gift card to your favorite pizza place, your underlying motivation for learning about the subject will not be affected. However, rewarding in this situation needs to be done with caution because people will sometimes come to expect rewards.

How Do Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation Influence Learning?

Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation play a significant role in learning. Experts have argued that education's traditional emphasis on external rewards (such as grades, report cards, and gold stars) undermines any existing intrinsic motivation that students might have.

Others have suggested that extrinsic motivators help students feel more competent in the classroom, which in turn enhances their intrinsic motivation.

"A person's interest often survives when a reward is used neither to bribe nor to control but to signal a job well done, as in a "most improved player" award. If a reward boosts your feeling of competence after doing good work, your enjoyment of the task may increase.

Rewards, rightly administered, can motivate high performance and creativity. And extrinsic rewards (such as scholarships, admissions, and jobs that often follow good grades) are here to stay."

—David G. Meyers, Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules

A Word From Verywell

Both extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation drive human behavior. There are several key differences between motivation that comes from external rewards and the kind that is driven by an individual's genuine interest, including the influence of each type on a person's behavior and the situations in which each type will be most effective.

Understanding how each type of motivation works and when it is likely to be useful can help people perform tasks (even when they do not want to) and improve their learning.

(Video) Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation Explained

The Psychology of Motivation

8 Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Tranquillo J, Stecker M. Using intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in continuing professional education. Surg Neurol Int. 2016;7(Suppl 7):S197-9. doi:10.4103/2152-7806.179231

  2. Lee W, Reeve J, Xue Y, Xiong J. Neural differences between intrinsic reasons for doing versus extrinsic reasons for doing: an fMRI study. Neurosci Res. 2012;73(1):68-72. doi:10.1016/j.neures.2012.02.010

  3. Di domenico SI, Ryan RM. The Emerging Neuroscience of Intrinsic Motivation: A New Frontier in Self-Determination Research. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017;11:145. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00145

  4. Warneken F, Tomasello M. Extrinsic rewards undermine altruistic tendencies in 20-month-olds. Dev Psychol. 2008;44(6):1785-8. doi:10.1037/a0013860

  5. Levy A, Deleon IG, Martinez CK, et al. A quantitative review of overjustification effects in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. J Appl Behav Anal. 2017;50(2):206-221. doi:10.1002/jaba.359

  6. Henderlong J, Lepper MR. The effects of praise on children's intrinsic motivation: a review and synthesis. Psychol Bull. 2002;128(5):774-95.

  7. Czaicki NL, Dow WH, Njau PF, Mccoy SI. Do incentives undermine intrinsic motivation? Increases in intrinsic motivation within an incentive-based intervention for people living with HIV in Tanzania. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(6):e0196616. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0196616

  8. Oudeyer PY, Kaplan F. What is Intrinsic Motivation? A Typology of Computational Approaches. Front Neurorobot. 2007;1:6. doi:10.3389/neuro.12.006.2007

Additional Reading

(Video) How to motivate employees in the workplace - Extrinsic motivation vs intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: What's the Difference? (2)

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Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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(Video) Types of Motivation: Intrinsic and Extrinsic

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FAQs

What is the difference between intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation? ›

Intrinsic motivation involves doing something because it's personally rewarding to you. Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation essay? ›

The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is that intrinsic motivation leads to performing an activity for its enjoyment, while extrinsic motivation leads to doing it for a separable outcome or an outside incentive other than enjoyment of the task.

Is extrinsic motivation enough? ›

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are not the same though and we do see differences in their effect on employees: extrinsic motivation tends to be more important for commitment and employee retention, while intrinsic motivation tends to be more important for inspiration and employee engagement.

What is the difference of extrinsic and intrinsic? ›

Key Takeaways. Intrinsic motivation describes the undertaking of an activity for its inherent satisfaction while extrinsic motivation describes behavior driven by external rewards or punishments, abstract or concrete.

What is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation quizlet? ›

What is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? Extrinsic motivation refers to engaging in activities to reduce needs or obtain external rewards. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in activities because those activities are personally rewarding and they fulfill our beliefs or expectations.

What is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation examples? ›

Example of Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

For example, reading about something because it's fun to learn is an example of intrinsic motivation. Reading about something to receive praise from an instructor is an example of extrinsic motivation.

What are the three differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations? ›

Intrinsic motivation comes from within, while extrinsic motivation arises from external factors. When you are intrinsically motivated, you engage in an activity because you enjoy it and get personal satisfaction from doing it. When you are extrinsically motivated, you do something in order to gain an external reward.

Do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation relate differently to employee outcomes? ›

In the course of three studies (two cross-sectional and one cross-lagged) across different industries, we found that intrinsic motivation was associated with positive outcomes and that extrinsic motivation was negatively related or unrelated to positive outcomes.

Which of the following is a difference between extrinsic rewards and intrinsic rewards? ›

Intrinsic rewards fulfills employee's intrinsic factors and are given by making the job content more favourable. Extrinsic rewards fulfills employee's extrinsic factors and are provided by making job context more favourable.

Is it better to be motivated intrinsically or extrinsically? ›

True motivation must come from within—it must be intrinsic. Prizes or awards (extrinsic) may bribe someone into performing a certain action but compliance is not motivation. If you want your group to be successful, intrinsic motivation must be infused into every aspect of group-centered prevention.

Why intrinsic motivators typically work better? ›

Is Intrinsic Motivation Effective? Research shows that for more complex tasks, intrinsic motivation helps to drive higher performance. When the job itself is enjoyable and interesting, employees work harder and with greater focus and commitment without the need for extrinsic motivators.

Why are intrinsic rewards better than extrinsic rewards? ›

Intrinsic motivation is based on internal incentives such as pleasure and interest, while extrinsic motivation is external incentives to engage in a particular activity motivation that arises from the expectation of punishment or reward, such as performing an unloved job for a fee.

Why is intrinsic motivation more effective than extrinsic? ›

Intrinsic motivation derives from enjoying a task and owning it. Unlike extrinsic motivation, an individual does not feel external pressure to encourage excellent performance in a task. He, inwardly, performs without external promises or coercion.

Why is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation important? ›

Research has found that conditions extrinsic to the task, such as reward, evaluation, being watched, and restricted choice, all have detrimental effects on creativity. Intrinsic motivation is important for task persistence, for seeing a project through, and for ensuring exploration of solutions.

What is intrinsic motivation example? ›

In other words, with intrinsic motivation, the incentive for engaging in a behavior or completing a task is performing the task itself. For example, when someone decides to eat ice cream, typically their motivation is to enjoy the pleasure of eating the ice cream. They are not doing it for some external reward.

Can extrinsic motivation work against intrinsic motivation quizlet? ›

Extrinsic reward to engage in intrinsically interesting activity typically undermines future intrinsic motivation.

What is true intrinsic motivation? ›

Intrinsic motivation comes from within, while extrinsic motivation arises from outside. When you're intrinsically motivated, you engage in an activity solely because you enjoy it and get personal satisfaction from it. When you're extrinsically motivated, you do something in order to gain an external reward.

What is the relationship between the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards of work quizlet? ›

Extrinsic rewards are not visible to others in a company, whereas intrinsic rewards are visible to everyone working in a company.

What is the difference between intrinsic value and extrinsic value? ›

The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsic value is value that is not intrinsic. Many philosophers take intrinsic value to be crucial to a variety of moral judgments.

What is a good example of extrinsic motivation? ›

Being paid to do a job is an example of extrinsic motivation. You may enjoy spending your day doing something other than work, but you're motivated to go to work because you need a paycheck to pay your bills. In this example, you're extrinsically motivated by the ability to afford your daily expenses.

How do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation work together? ›

Intrinsic motivation focuses on internal rewards and drivers like the joy of learning while extrinsic motivation is comprised of external drivers like an incentive or reward. However, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be used together to achieve an optimal balance of motivating factors.

What are the two types of motivation differentiate it? ›

Motivation comes from two places:
  • Intrinsic motivation: This is when motivation comes from "internal" factors to meet personal needs. We do things we do because we enjoy them, not because we have to. ...
  • ​Extrinsic motivation: This is when motivation comes from "external" factors that are given or controlled by others.
23 Apr 2014

What are the advantages and disadvantages of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? ›

The former is an intrinsic motivational driver while the latter is extrinsic motivation.
...
Advantages and disadvantages of extrinsic motivation.
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Helps the motivator to understand the individual and get better feedbackNegates the sense of achievement, joy, and pride that comes from within
3 more rows

What is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in education? ›

An example of intrinsic motivation is a student learning new vocabulary words because they love to read. Extrinsic motivation, however, is learning because of external factors. Students may be motivated to learn to pass a test, to gain a reward, or to avoid a punishment.

Which has the greater impact on work motivation intrinsic or extrinsic factors? ›

Recent studies have shown that intrinsic motivation has a more positive effect on work engagement than extrinsic motivation [41].

How extrinsic and intrinsic rewards improve employees performance? ›

Intrinsic rewards makes the employee feel better in the organization, while Extrinsic rewards focus on the performance and activities of the employee in order to attain a certain outcome. The principal difficulty is to find a balance between employees' performance (extrinsic) and happiness (intrinsic).

How does extrinsic motivation affect performance? ›

Extrinsically motivated athletes tend to focus on the competitive or performance outcome. An over-emphasis on extrinsic motivation may lead athletes to feel like their behavior is controlled by the extrinsic rewards.

How do you change intrinsic to extrinsic motivation? ›

Forget the rewards

While recognition can reinforce and increase internal motivation, it is best to limit outside motivations as much as possible. “The best way to increase intrinsic motivation is to decrease the extrinsic reward,” according to Christin Tolman, LCPC.

Why are extrinsic rewards important? ›

An extrinsic reward not only emphasizes an employee's achievement, but it can also make them feel appreciated, thereby encouraging them to continue with their good work.

How do you reward intrinsic motivation? ›

You can establish, promote and foster intrinsic rewards through a multitude of ways:
  1. Give employees more autonomy. ...
  2. Empower your employees to be self-fulfilled and purpose-driven. ...
  3. Promote social interaction. ...
  4. Provide opportunities for advancement. ...
  5. Investing in employees' learning, development and well-being.
16 Apr 2019

Which motivation is most effective? ›

In summary
  • Intrinsic motivation is generally more effective than extrinsic motivation. ...
  • "Carrot" (reward) can be an effective form of motivation for repetitive tasks, and certain teams. ...
  • "Stick" (punishment) is far less effective at motivating teams than "carrot" and intrinsic motivation.
14 Oct 2019

Is intrinsic or extrinsic motivation more beneficial for encouraging learning? ›

Inspiring students' intrinsic motivation to learn is a more effective strategy to get and keep students interested. And it's more than that. Students actually learn better when motivated this way.

Why is intrinsic motivation better for students? ›

Intriguing research shows that when students have intrinsic motives for learning — when they engage not for external reward but because they find the activity itself interesting and gratifying — they become more likely to attach meaning to their work, explore new topics, and persist in the face of learning challenges.

Which type of rewards are more important intrinsic or extrinsic? ›

An extrinsically motivated person will work on a task that they do not particularly care for simply because of the anticipated satisfaction that will come from the extrinsic reward. Frederick Herzberg found intrinsic rewards to be much stronger than financial rewards in increasing employee motivation.

Can extrinsic motivation has result good productivity? ›

Extrinsic motivation also offers a number of benefits for the workplace. Productivity: Extrinsic motivators are excellent for increasing productivity in the short-term. This can be super useful if you're working towards a deadline and need a boost of motivation to get the work done.

How does intrinsic motivation affect job satisfaction? ›

Recent McKinsey data shows that employees who are intrinsically motivated are 32% more committed to their job, have 46% higher job satisfaction, and perform 16% better than other employees.

What are intrinsic benefits? ›

Intrinsic rewards refer to those incentives that have been given to the employees of an organization. An intrinsic reward is an internal reward that employees achieve from completing their tasks or projects successfully. These rewards are mostly psychological and are based on the effort and abilities of a person.

How can intrinsic rewards motivate employees? ›

Intrinsic rewards elicit a positive emotional reaction and work to motivate employees to continue to improve as well as make lasting behavioral changes when needed (Ryan and Deci, 2020). For example, when someone completes a task successfully, they will often experience a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

How do managers use intrinsic motivation? ›

Managers can use this intrinsic motivation of searching for a challenge to motivate employees to succeed. By working with employees to create goals and develop a career path, managers satisfy that need for a challenge while rewarding the employee with access to greater corporate opportunity.

Why are intrinsic motivators more important? ›

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

Studies reveal that intrinsic motivation is a generally stronger predictor of job performance over the long run than extrinsic motivation. One reason is that when we are internally driven to do something, we do it simply for the enjoyment of the activity.

What factors affect intrinsic motivation? ›

6 Factors That Promote Intrinsic Motivation
  • Autonomy. In order to optimize your level of autonomy over the activity, identify opportunities to do it in a way that suits you best. ...
  • Competence. ...
  • Relatedness. ...
  • Alignment with personal values. ...
  • Removal of factors impeding intrinsic motivation. ...
  • Timing of extrinsic rewards.
10 May 2021

What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic factors? ›

While intrinsic factors act from within an individual, extrinsic factors wield their influence from the outside (i.e., they are environmental, cultural, or related to lifestyle). Extrinsic factors can have a sizeable impact on a person's health and can affect medical decision-making.

What are the 3 types of intrinsic motivation? ›

The Three Keys of Intrinsic Motivation
  • AUTONOMY – “the right or condition of self-government”
  • MASTERY – “comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular activity”
  • PURPOSE – “the reason for which something is done”
21 May 2017

What are the three differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations? ›

Intrinsic motivation comes from within, while extrinsic motivation arises from external factors. When you are intrinsically motivated, you engage in an activity because you enjoy it and get personal satisfaction from doing it. When you are extrinsically motivated, you do something in order to gain an external reward.

What is an example of an intrinsic motivation? ›

In other words, with intrinsic motivation, the incentive for engaging in a behavior or completing a task is performing the task itself. For example, when someone decides to eat ice cream, typically their motivation is to enjoy the pleasure of eating the ice cream. They are not doing it for some external reward.

What is an example of extrinsic motivation? ›

Being paid to do a job is an example of extrinsic motivation. You may enjoy spending your day doing something other than work, but you're motivated to go to work because you need a paycheck to pay your bills.

What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can both operate at the same time if so how? ›

The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is that intrinsic motivation comes from within and extrinsic motivation comes from outside. However, the two types of motivation can also differ in their level of effectiveness. Extrinsic motivation is beneficial in some cases.

What is the difference between intrinsic value and extrinsic value? ›

The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsic value is value that is not intrinsic. Many philosophers take intrinsic value to be crucial to a variety of moral judgments.

How do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation work together? ›

Intrinsic motivation focuses on internal rewards and drivers like the joy of learning while extrinsic motivation is comprised of external drivers like an incentive or reward. However, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be used together to achieve an optimal balance of motivating factors.

Which of the following is a difference between extrinsic rewards and intrinsic rewards? ›

Intrinsic rewards fulfills employee's intrinsic factors and are given by making the job content more favourable. Extrinsic rewards fulfills employee's extrinsic factors and are provided by making job context more favourable.

Why is intrinsic motivation important? ›

Intrinsic motivation is important for task persistence, for seeing a project through, and for ensuring exploration of solutions. Intrinsic motivation is also accompanied by positive affect. The love of the task is an important component of creative work.

Is intrinsic motivation real? ›

Summary: While some psychologists still argue that people perform better when they do something because they want to -- rather than for some kind of reward, such as money -- Steven Reiss suggests we shouldn't even make that distinction.

What are intrinsic benefits? ›

Intrinsic rewards refer to those incentives that have been given to the employees of an organization. An intrinsic reward is an internal reward that employees achieve from completing their tasks or projects successfully. These rewards are mostly psychological and are based on the effort and abilities of a person.

What are the 3 types of intrinsic motivation? ›

The Three Keys of Intrinsic Motivation
  • AUTONOMY – “the right or condition of self-government”
  • MASTERY – “comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular activity”
  • PURPOSE – “the reason for which something is done”
21 May 2017

Is extrinsic motivation negative? ›

Extrinsic motivation is the result of receiving external rewards for doing a particular task. These motivators can be positive or negative. Positive motivators, like receiving extra cash, are sometimes referred to as carrots, while negative motivators, like the threat of being fired, are called sticks.

What is the role of extrinsic motivation? ›

Extrinsic motivation is important because it can be an effective tool in behavior modification. The prospect of receiving external rewards or consequences can often prompt individuals to exhibit certain advantageous behaviors.

Why is intrinsic motivation more effective? ›

Intrinsically motivated learning is more effective

If the student's learning because it's fulfilling them and it's enjoyable, rather than because they're fixated on getting high grades or pleasing someone, then it actually improves the whole learning experience. Inevitably there's debate over the extent of the effect.

Why are intrinsic and extrinsic rewards important? ›

In conclusion, extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are used to motivate both employees and employer to improve the organizational performance. Most of the authors stated that intrinsic rewards are important than extrinsic rewards for higher job satisfaction which can affect the performance of an organization.

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