Ryan and Deci: ‘Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions’

05/09/2011 17:33

Original article: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions

Very interesting about motivation of people…. Some quotes, from the article:

Intrinsically motivated behaviors, which are performed out of interest and satisfy the innate psychological needs for competence and autonomy are the prototype of self-determined behavior. Extrinsically motivated behaviors—those that are executed because they are instrumental to some separable consequence—can vary in the extent to which they represent self-determination. Internalization and integration are the processes through which extrinsically motivated behaviors become more self-determined.

To fully internalize a regulation, and thus to become autonomous with respect to it, people must inwardly grasp its meaning and worth. It is these meanings that become internalized and integrated in environments that provide supports for the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

Students will more likely adopt and internalize a goal if they understand it and have the relevant skills to succeed at it. Thus, we theorize that supports for competence (e.g., offering optimal challenges and effectance-relevant feedback) facilitate internalization

the most autonomous form of extrinsic motivation is integrated regulation. Integration occurs when identified regulations have been fully assimilated to the self. This occurs through self-examination and bringing new regulations into congruence with one’s other values and needs. The more one internalizes the reasons for an action and assimilates them to the self, the more one’s extrinsically motivated actions become self-determined. Integrated forms of motivation share many qualities with intrinsic motivation, being both autonomous and unconflicted.

A more autonomous, or self-determined, form of extrinsic motivation is regulation through identification. Here, the person has identified with the personal importance of a behavior and has thus accepted its regulation as his or her own.

the OIT taxonomy of types of motivation, arranged from left to right in terms of the extent to which the motivation for one’s behavior emanates from one’s self. At the far left is amotivation, which is the state of lacking an intention to act. When amotivated, a person’s behavior lacks intentionality and a sense of personal causation. Amotivation results from not valuing an activity (Ryan, 1995), not feeling competent to do it (Deci, 1975), or not believing it will yield a desired outcome (Seligman, 1975). Theorists who have treated motivation as a unitary concept (e.g., Bandura, 1986) have been concerned only with the distinction between what we call amotivation and motivation.

Thought of as a continuum, the concept of internalization describes how one’s motivation for behavior can
range from amotivation or unwillingness, to passive compliance, to active personal commitment. With increasing internalization (and its associated sense of personal commitment) come greater persistence, more positive selfperceptions, and better quality of engagement. Within SDT a second subtheory, referred to as Organismic Integration Theory (OIT), was introduced to detail the different forms of extrinsic moti- vation and the contextual factors that either promote or hinder internalization and integration of the regulation for these behaviors.

The phenomenon of intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged within experimental studies of animal behavior, where it was discovered that many organisms engage in exploratory, playful, and curiosity-driven behaviors even in the absence of reinforcement or reward (White, 1959).

intrinsic motivation, which refers to doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable, and extrinsic motivation, which refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome.

natural human propensity to learn and assimilate


article, psychology, R&D

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