Extrinsic Motivation


Extrinsic motivation is the desire to do something because of the rewards and reinforcements it brings. In other words, one would probably not do the behavior if one didn't get something, later, for doing it. Extrinsic motivation is often contrasted with intrinsic motivation, in which behavior occurs because the experience of doing the behavior is reward enough, independently of any separable consequences that may follow.

Background and History

Extrinsic motivation is consistent with the tenets of operant behaviorism, which say that behavior occurs because it has been reinforced—that is, a person has received some tangible and separable reward, consequence, or compensation for doing that behavior in the past, and expects the same to occur in the present. Experimental research commencing in the 1970s showed that inducing extrinsic ...

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