Difference Between Intrinsic And Extrinsic Motivation

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What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation refers to engaging in a behavior or activity because of external rewards or consequences, rather than deriving inherent satisfaction or enjoyment from the activity itself. In other words, individuals who are extrinsically motivated are driven by external factors such as rewards, recognition, praise, grades, or avoidance of punishment.

This can refer to when an employee learns a new skill to get a raise or go above and beyond doing their tasks to earn praise. In educational settings, grades and evaluations can serve as extrinsic motivators. The desire to outperform others or win a competition can be a powerful extrinsic motivator.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation refers to the engagement in a behavior or activity for the inherent satisfaction, pleasure, or interest it provides, rather than relying on external rewards or punishments. In other words, intrinsically motivated individuals find personal enjoyment or fulfillment in the process of the activity itself, and they are driven by internal factors rather than external incentives.

The desire to improve skills, achieve mastery, and overcome challenges can be a strong source of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is often associated with a natural curiosity or desire to explore and understand the world.

Examples of intrinsically motivated activities might include pursuing a hobby, engaging in creative endeavors, or learning something new out of genuine interest.

Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation: Key Difference

FeatureIntrinsic MotivationExtrinsic Motivation
OriginInternal, comes from within the individualExternal, arises from outside factors
DrivePersonal satisfaction, interest, or enjoymentExternal rewards or punishments
Source of SatisfactionThe activity itself is rewardingRewards come from outside the activity
AutonomySelf-directed, driven by personal goalsDirected by external influence or authority
PersistenceOften leads to sustained, long-term effortMay result in shorter-term effort, especially if rewards are absent
CreativityCan enhance creativity and innovationMay stifle creativity if driven solely by rewards
SustainabilityMore likely to be sustained over timeMay diminish if external rewards are removed
AdaptabilityMore adaptable to changes and setbacksMay be less adaptable, as it relies on external factors
Well-being impactPositively impacts mental well-beingMay not necessarily improve mental well-being
Internal SatisfactionPersonal growth and fulfillment are keySatisfaction often tied to external validation or rewards