A Closer Look At Intrinsic Motivation

by: Amy Twain

What is intrinsic motivation—it has been thoroughly studied by researchers in the sphere of education ever since the beginning of the 1970s and their results and conclusion have been that whenever students are motivated intrinsically to do better in school, they have a tendency to have higher grades, thus they perform better, and they also have the propensity to enjoy the lessons they’re learning. Intrinsic motivation is when a person is being motivated by the internal causes, as opposed to external causes. A man by the name of Bernard Weiner made and developed a theory known as “Attribution Theory” and he had seen such things as the locus of control (external and internal) and the orientation of goals.

On the whole, an external locus of control means that an individual considers control is already outside of their territory and has much to do with irrelevant factors rather than their own actions and belief systems while in internal locus of control is when an individual accepts and consider that they have control over what occurs to them. Still according to him, students are more likely to have intrinsic motivation in their lessons if they feel that their academic accomplishments has something more to do with their own hard work and efforts than to anything else. Examples and instances of intrinsic motivation will be doing something or anything just because you feel that it’s the proper and ethical thing to do; doing something because it gives you joy and happiness or doing something because you know that it would be for the benefit of other people.

It is also usual in regards to an enjoyable hobby or pastime. Also, students would experience being intrinsically motivated if they feel that they have to play a dominant role in achieving their own personal and individual objectives rather than feeling as if it has something to do with luck or just “go with the flow” mindset. Ultimately, when the students have that motivation which comes from the inside they would work harder in order to understand totally and master the subject or topic than just merely learning the material at hand so that they could pass the test, quiz or exam and then simply forgetting it soon after.

Bear in mind that this whole intrinsic motivation thing doesn’t hold some promises of rewards for students as opposed to extrinsic motivation which is obviously, all about the rewards. It is typically deemed that intrinsic motivation is far powerful or stronger than the extrinsic one, nevertheless, there are really times when the latter could become truly stronger since it dislocates intrinsic motivation. And this is called as the over justification effect. For instance, this takes place whenever you start to do something for natural reasons and then being offered money or other kinds of rewards for doing it which supersedes the reasons you begin doing it first and foremost.

In most cases whenever this takes place, the individual loses interest in his quest or pursuit once the reward is removed.

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