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Intrinsic Motivation

Definition

Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do something “just to be doing it.” That is, the experience of the behavior is reward enough, independent of any separable consequences that may follow. Intrinsic motivation often leads to or promotes flow, in which individuals become completely absorbed in some challenging activity, such as rock climbing or piano playing. Intrinsic motivation is typically contrasted with extrinsic motivation, in which behavior has no intrinsic appeal and occurs only because of the rewards and reinforcements it brings.

Background and History

It took a long time for the concept of intrinsic motivation to be accepted in psychology. This is because the concept does not fit well with the behaviorist and drive-theory models of human nature that dominated in the early to mid-20th century. ...

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