Intrinsic Motivation - List of Factors

What is intrinsic motivation? Intrinsic motivational force relates to innate mental states that are designed to motivate people to do specific things. Intrinsic motivators are the ones that come from within a person’s mind. The goal of intrinsic motivation is for an individual to be motivated to do what is necessary for his own well being.

Intrinsic motivational processes do not rely on reward and punishment but on cognitive reinforcement learning. The processes of intrinsic motivation are designed to occur without a person having to make any particular effort. It is accomplished through processes of cognitive construction, information processing, and behavioral management.

One important aspect of intrinsic motivation is its relationship with cognitive development. Both cognitive development and intrinsic motivation depend on the interplay between two main elements: reinforcement and motivation.

Intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic motivation

One of the most common arguments that people use when trying to decide between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation is the difference between what they call the overjustification effect and under justification effect. According to these people, the overjustification effect is the tendency for a person to want something more than he actually feels he needs or wants. 

On the other hand, under justification effect is the tendency for a person to want something less than he thinks he needs or wants. People believe that the overjustification effect is more prominent in certain types of behavior such as over attachment to belongings, perfectionism, and the like. However, this argument is not entirely true because there are some cases where an overjustification effect may be present. 

Some researchers have found out that even a simple task can be made challenging by adding an extrinsic reward. This happens when a person is motivated by the promise of a cash reward, which he receives only if he performs the task perfectly. 

So, the debate really all lies on the meaning of intrinsic motivation. If you look at the basic definition of motivation, then, it clearly says that intrinsic motivation is the basis of any behavior that a person has in his personality. In the same way, extrinsic motivation is nothing but an attempt to obtain a reward from outside the person’s control. 

If you ask somebody to perform a difficult task because he will get a $100 gift card if he succeeds, then you are not talking about intrinsic motivation. This is considered as overjustification and it is considered as a form of self-gain. So, it is really up to you on which one to choose. To decide whether intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is right for your needs, you just need to analyze your own behavior.

Power of Intrinsic Motivation

With intrinsic motivation, you are driven by yourself, and as such, you are meeting some basic human needs such as autonomy and competence or sense of relatedness to others. In essence, it is basically doing the task for its own sake, without any need to gain anything in return.

You are pursuing the objective just because it is linked to something that you either value or has inherent meaning to you. These are the benefits of intrinsic motivation; in this case, you would be motivated to do the task not just because you have to or because someone else told you to.

As you can see, intrinsic motivators are far different from the extrinsic motivators we sometimes encounter. Extrinsic motivation essentially comes from outside the mind or from sources outside the person. 

It can come from authority figures, peers, or even a coach. With extrinsic motivation, we use particular tactics or techniques to achieve our goals in an external way. It may be done by means of a set of rules, a new set of circumstances, or even a new set of people. The power of intrinsic motivation is a direct result of how well it fits within the personality of the individual.

What are the Factors of Intrinsic Motivation

  • Curiosity

Curiosity is one of the key factors that lead to intrinsic motivation. When individuals are asked to complete a difficult task, if they are curious about the task and find that they are easily able to do the task then it increases their intrinsic motivation.

  • Challenge

Challenge is one of the Key Factors in intrinsic motivation theory because it allows for growth and learning. You must also understand that the challenge is not the thing they cannot handle, but rather the challenge is one of the skills they can learn.

  • Honor

One of the key factors in intrinsic motivation is Honor. As we know that intrinsic motivation is initiated through no external factor. Most of the time people have intrinsic motivation because they are doing the task solely for the sake of pride and honor for themselves

  • Passion

Passion in intrinsic motivation is the kind of motivation that inspires you to pursue your objectives solely because you wish for it. This type of motivation is inherent, and is one of the most powerful aspects of motivation

  • Sense of Accomplishment

When you have a list of what gives you a sense of accomplishment in your work, it helps to keep focused on what is really important. Focus on the good things you did and forget all about what is not so nice.

Intrinsic motivation Example

  • When students are intrinsically motivated because of emotional rewards, such as an interest in a particular subject or a love of learning.
  • Learning a new language simply because you really enjoy learning new things.
  • Participating in an event to enjoy the event rather than to win the price
  • Spending time with someone because you share an emotional connection with them
  • Working out because you love to push yourself
  • Going for a walk because nature and the sunlight makes you happy
  • Taking up more responsibilities because you love challenges
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