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What Is Extrinsic Motivation?
Extrinsic motivation is a type of drive that is fueled by benefits from outside sources. They can be material, like cash or grades, or immaterial, like acclaim or renown. Extrinsic motivation is solely focused on external rewards, in contrast to intrinsic motivation, which comes from within the person.
Extrinsically motivated individuals will keep at a task even if it isn’t particularly enjoyable in and of itself. For instance, someone might perform a task at work that they dislike to pay their bills.
Operant conditioning, in which a person or item is trained to perform a certain manner in exchange for a reward or punishment, involves extrinsic incentives.
Examples of Extrinsic Motivation
Consider why you choose to read this essay. Do you intend to study the content to succeed in your psychology class? If so, this is extrinsic incentive as receiving a good grade is an outside reward.
Some instances of extrinsic motivation include:
- Competing in a sporting event for a trophy or award
- Working hard in class to get a good grade
- Working diligently on a topic or activity in order to be praised and recognised
- Using a store loyalty card while shopping to get points, deals, and incentives
- Homework completion in exchange for a gift, such as a special treat or a toy
- Putting up with unpleasant responsibilities at work in order to maintain a consistent income
- Using a certain credit card to earn miles for flights
Impact of Extrinsic Motivation
This kind of drive can be very powerful. Just consider all the instances in your own life that you have taken actions to obtain some sort of benefit from the outside world.
Motivation from without is not a negative thing. This can be especially crucial when people have to finish a task that they find challenging or monotonous, like a tiresome project for work or a laborious school assignment.
How to Use Extrinsic Motivation
To find out if extrinsic rewards could aid in behaviour motivation, it’s vital to consider the details of the circumstance. These are some situations where extrinsic rewards might work best:
- Participants are not very interested in the activity
- Individuals lack the necessary starting skills
- A temporary incentive is required for a certain goal
- Employees are working on a lengthy project and want small rewards to motivate them
In these circumstances, rewards should be modest and directly related to a particular activity.
In the Workplace, Parenting, and Education
Extrinsic motivation can be useful in a variety of contexts. For instance, your boss might host a contest for the best advertisement design, with a prize for the winner. For completing all of their duties for the week, parents may reward their kids with special snacks or outings. The Dean’s List honours students who get high grades in education.
All of these circumstances involve an outside source that motivates constructive conduct.
Potential Pitfalls of Extrinsic Motivation
Although giving rewards might sometimes boost motivation, studies have also discovered that this is not always the case. In fact, giving out too many prizes can make people less motivated.
The overjustification effect refers to the propensity of extrinsic drive to undermine intrinsic motivation. This entails a decline in actions driven by internal motivation following the cessation of external reinforcement for the behaviour.
Why can rewarding a behaviour that is already intrinsically rewarding cause this sudden lack of interest? One explanation is the propensity of people to consider why they are doing something. Once they have received an external incentive for a conduct, they overvalue the role that the reward played in shaping their behaviour.
Extrinsic rewards can be a powerful tool for behaviour modification, but experts caution that they should only be used sparingly, especially with young people.
Extrinsic rewards can really be primarily beneficial and not harmful, according to a review of research on motivation for learning published in 2014 in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences.
A Word From WinAspire
Extrinsic motivation has its limitations yet can have a significant impact on human behaviour. In some circumstances, it may be useful to think about whether you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.
Do you anticipate working out because you and a friend are betting on who can shed the most weight? Extrinsic motivation has benefits and drawbacks. Whether or not external rewards are long-term useful depends on the individual and circumstance.