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Sources of Motivation

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    Sources of Motivation 1 Sources of Motivation Motivation can be defined as a process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal oriented behaviors. Motivation is the force that drives us to act, whether in something as simple as getting a drink when we are thirsty to studying hard to gain more knowledge (Cherry, 2010). Motivation may come from a number of different places; two important forms of motivation are extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The way individuals behave also has a close relationship with motivation. The type of motivation may also be visible through ones behavior.

    Extrinsic Motivation Extrinsic motivation most often comes from an outside source in the environment rather that from within an individual. People who are extrinsically motivated usually expect some type of reward or incentive such as money, trophies, or praise for performing an activity. Extrinsic motivation may also be negative. Punishment for example is something that may motivate an individual not to do a certain action (Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, 2005). Extrinsic motivation is behind many of activities ranging from education to the workplace.

    Parents offering money for good grades is an example of extrinsic motivation. The money is what drives the student to produce the good grades, take that away and they may be less likely to achieve the grades. Intrinsic Motivation Intrinsic motivation theory and research has a 40-year history beginning with White who first challenged Skinner’s empirical reinforcement theory with the theory of competence as a crucial element in motivation (White, 1959) . Intrinsic motivation comes more from within an individual (Cherry, 2010). A task may be completed because they are pleased while doing it.

    Completing a crossword puzzle for example gives some people a pleasant feeling of accomplishment that they enjoy, there is no physical prize involved. “Intrinsic motivation is typically associated with greater commitment to the activity” (Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, 2005). Other examples of activities motivated intrinsically are playing an instrument, or solving puzzles. It is suggested that activities that are motivated extrinsically may become intrinsic over time. This process is referred to as internalization. Cleaning ones room for example may become intrinsily motivated.

    A reward or punishment may be given for cleaning/not cleaning ones room as a child. As we grow we may enjoy having that clean space and continue doing it even after the reward or punishment no longer applies. Motivation and Behavior A big question among psychologists today is whether “…motivation is a primary or secondary influence on behavior. That is are the changes in behavior better explained by principles of environmental/ecological influences, perception, memory, cognitive development, emotion, or personality or are concepts unique to motivation more pertinent”(Huitt, 2001).

    To understand what influences individual behavior, we must start with a basic understanding of human motivation. Why do people behave as they do? The answer usually starts with motivation. Motivation increases the amount of effort and energy that an individual will put forth in activities or behaviors. With little or no motivation, it is likely that little or energy or effort will be put towards the activity. All branches of psychology recognize that motivation plays a role in ones behavior. With no sense of motivation it would be highly unlikely we would accomplish anything.

    We are motivated to work, go to school, and take part in other daily activities. Conclusion Motivation is a key factor on all our decisions and behavior. Most motivation comes from either an outside source or from within. Motivation can be obtained from a variety of places and no two people will be alike, what motivates one, may be meaningless to another. Our behavior is greatly influenced by our motivation as well. With no motivation the world would be full of couch potatoes with no reason to get up and accomplish anything! References Cherry, K. (2010). What is Motivation.

    Retrieved June 22, 2010 from http://psychology. about. com/od/mindex/g/motivation-definition. htm Huitt, W. (2001). Motivation to Learn: An Overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved June 22, 2010 from http://www. edpsycinteractive. org/topivs. motivations. motivate. html Motivation. (2005). In Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com/entry/wileycs/motivation White, R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 297-333.

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