Intrinsic Motivation Vs. Extinsic Motivation

I did a little reading on the outcomes of intrinsic and extrinsic movitation and the research definitely points toward intrinsic motivation being the better of the two.  This makes sense to me on many levels.  I immediately think of a person doing something they love, are they going to excel at it, more than likely because they dedicate the time to it and are likely to retain more that they need to know because they have a genuine desire and interest to learn it.  On the flip side of that, extrinsic motivation can, however also be a good motivator (i.e. for praise, financial gain, more respected position) but it seems only when compared to no motivator at all.

I think alot of students could benefit from being aware of some of this research as it would help them greatly when selecting a career path.  Often times they look at average or median wages for given careers and this can sometimes be the deciding factor.  It is the whole return on investment mentality,  how much will I gain (or earn) for the amount of money I put in.  The problem I see with this however is that people often excel at things they are passionite about (i.e intrisically motivated) so they are likely candidates to earn on the higher end of the pay scale as opoosed to someone who is strickly in it for the money (i.e.extrinsically motivated).   Anyway, the link to an article I read is below as is a section I cut regarding outcomes.

“The research literature is quite unanimous with regard to the benefits of intrinsic motivation to learning and development (Stipek, 1996). Engagement out of intrinsic motivation requires no external incentives and enhances motivation to engage again in the future. Studies also suggest that engagement out of intrinsic motivation is associated with enhanced comprehension, creativity, cognitive flexibility, achievement, and long-term well-being. By comparison, engagement out of extrinsic motivation may cease once the external motivator is removed. Moreover, extrinsic motivation is often associated with negative indicators of achievement and well-being. It is clear, however, that extrinsic motivation is preferable to having no motivation at all. Some perspectives also emphasize the possible motivational benefits of having both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for an activity (Lepper & Henderlong, 2000). Unfortunately, research findings point quite consistently to a gradual decline in students’ academic intrinsic motivation, and sometimes also extrinsic motivation, over years of schooling (Harter, 1981; Sansone & Morgan, 1992; Lepper et al., 2005). These trends have been attributed to the prevalence of extrinsic forces in schools such as tests and token economies, to the irrelevance of school tasks to students’ lives and, more generally, to the growing mismatch between characteristics of school environments and the needs of adolescence for autonomy, self-expression, and meaningful social interaction (Eccles et al., 1993; Lepper & Henderlong, 2000).”

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