Intrinsic Motivation According to Current Studies of Neuroscience

Topic: Psychological Principles
Words: 2034 Pages: 7


An action is classified as intrinsically motivated when it is done for its own sake rather than for a specific outcome. A person is said to be internally driven when they act out of their own will rather than in reaction to foreign pressures, motivations, or rewards. Newborn infants have a strong desire to grasp, throw, chew, crush, or shout at any new characteristics they find, which is a clear sign of intrinsic drive (White, 2017). Even though their importance diminishes with age, adult activities such as doing crosswords, creating art, cleaning the home, or watching movies nevertheless intrinsically motivate them.

How Intrinsic Motivation is Created in the Brain

The “affective neuroethological” perspective of Panksepp and colleagues is similar to the notion of intrinsically motivated exploration. A general-purpose SEEKING system in mammals say these scientists, powers a wide range of scavenging and exploration behaviors. To keep animals engaged with their surroundings, the SEEKING system does more than just address homeostatic imbalances (Franchak, 2017). A “goal without a goal”—that’s how the SEEKING system is described—until its exploratory disposition leads to the invention and acquiring knowledge of beneficial patterns and relationships.

Although Skinner’s definition of “the operant” downplayed it, this fundamental behavior of creatures could not be completely disregarded under radical behaviorism. At the same time, Skinner recognized that organisms “operate” on their environs; he nonetheless saw these exploration endeavors as random actions that can only be influenced by external rewards. Intrinsic motivation was first studied in animal experimentation, so it is only appropriate that the neurobiology of internal motivation was first discovered in animal experiments. This system’s emotional neuroethological approach aligns with the organismic perspective that shaped SDT’s development. To see individual lines of research from so many different methodologies agree on a single point of view is impressive and revealing.

How Motives Develop in the Brain

Motives are internal encounters like wants, thoughts, and feelings that are the origins of all autonomous motivation. Ancestors of motivating moods include social and environmental settings and events (Reeve, 2018). Conduct, participation, psychophysiology, neurological activations, and self-report all reveal our motivations. Intrinsic motivation, which may be classed into wants, knowledge, and feelings, is typically seen as more immediate and stronger than extrinsic motivation, which can be categorized into external motivation.

Since we do not live in a void, our internal encounters are always influenced by the social environment of our surroundings, whether it is in the manner of repercussions, rewards, or other pressures. To succeed, we must satisfy our physical and psychological demands and do it in a way that is guided by our instincts. In order for an action to take place, the antecedent circumstances and the internal motivations must all be aligned. It is a positive feedback loop that occurs when favorable cognitive and motivational states are generated as a result of these activities. A person’s inborn urge to create a feeling of self-determination, competency, and belonging serves as a significant motivator of motivation. The dissonance between one’s chosen activity and one’s desire for psychological requirements like independence may significantly reduce the risk of postponement if the conflict is not resolved. Fulfilling one’s physiological requirements is essential to one’s health, but fulfilling one’s psychological needs is essential to one’s growth and development.

How Motives Influence Intrinsic Motivation

A person’s day-to-day activities and long-term objectives may be influenced by their motives. Motives may play a role in a person’s everyday life, as well as in their long-term goals and aspirations. Intentions open a world of possibilities since they may drive us to achieve a wide range of personal aspirations and objectives. Motivating factors are critical because they serve as the fulcrum for all a person’s actions, which in turn impact his or her daily feelings and long-term goals (SADRI, 2021). A lack of motivation may have both a beneficial and a negative impact on our conduct.

Similarly, the term “motive” refers to an inner force that propels or inspires a person to do action, but it may refer to a desired outcome that motivates a person to act. People who hold this view hold it to be true and think that everything we do is motivated by a desire for something else outside of ourselves (Fogg, 2019). The action itself serves as the reward in behaviors driven by intrinsic motivation. When you are driven simply by your own intrinsic desires, you are engaging in an activity because you love it and get personal fulfillment from it. Because intrinsic motivation comes from inside oneself, motives play a significant part in the process.

When it comes to intrinsic motivation, people’s wants and motives have always been at the forefront. Biological requirements such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire must be satisfied if we are to continue to live healthy lives. A person’s mental and emotional requirements must be met in order for their physical needs to be met. Confidence, autonomy, and a sense of belonging are among them. Intrinsic motivation is a kind of self-motivation that entails doing something for the sheer enjoyment of it, rather than for the sake of getting anything in return from others.

How the Emotional System Influences Intrinsic Motivation

Emotions have the power to direct our behavior, making us feel forced to act in a certain manner. When we’re feeling a certain way, most of the time, our behaviors reflect that feeling as well. Emotions are portrayed as the opposite of reason, and we are taught that while we are feeling anything, we are unable to make reasoned decisions. Emotions, on the other hand, are a specific kind of motivator that helps us pay attention and react to significant (often external) circumstances and convey our goals to others (Tronick, 2018). By focusing on emotion as a kind of external drive, the psychology of emotion has preserved this significance.

Stimulation is increased when sentiments are attached to persons, things, and events that we consider significant, and an approach or avoidance reaction is triggered as a result. Whenever we must be inspired to complete a task, we may use our emotions as arousal states to alert us to the importance of the situation (Harmon-Jones et al., 2017). To succeed, we need a degree of self-discipline that comes from the inside. We are propelled forward by our feelings. No constructive work is performed because we would be in continual misery. As a result, it is critical to have a firm grasp on how our feelings drive us so that we might steer them rather than be controlled.

The element of cognitive interpretation that pertains to motivation is the belief that a certain activity is very important to us. We rationally deduce that these goals are deserving of our attention and feelings (Bonk et al., 2017). We’re more inclined to feel excited when we’re motivated to do something. This means that we may link our feelings to them. Whatever feelings you have will almost certainly lead to action (Ching et al., 2020). You should be aware of them and simply enable your emotions to lead to your intrinsic motivation when it’s something that you believe is worthwhile.

Nonetheless, we may find ourselves motivated by unpleasant feelings. Before an important meeting or test, for example, we could feel nervous because we know the conclusion will have a significant impact on our lives (Botte et al., 2020). Because of the stress we felt, we may be more inclined to study harder. Because of the stress we have been through, we feel compelled to act, and we do so to increase our odds of success. To maximize our chances of experiencing happy emotions while minimizing the likelihood of experiencing negative ones, we are often driven to do behaviors.

How the Reward System Influences Intrinsic Motivation

We will first look at some preliminary studies and theoretical approaches to the link connecting rewarding and intrinsic motivation for learning. In the early 1970s, Deci and his coworkers performed laboratory research (Chams et al., 2019). Extrinsic incentives, according to these findings, may have a negative impact on intrinsic motivation (Oraif et al., 2018). Rewards should not be employed since they “deprive” people of their interest and enjoyment in activities, according to Deci’s findings.

Often, studies like these are taken as proof that incentives and intrinsic motivators may blowback, or as a renowned researcher put it, that favorable environmental motives related to the usage of prizes may have enduring harmful implications. According to the results of these studies, the current system of rewards and affirmations has serious drawbacks (Jamieson et al., 2018). This result was quickly accepted by the public and is often cited in psychology, education, and business management textbooks (Kam et al., 2018). Deci and his colleagues used a meta-analysis to show that the use of completion-contingent rewards and intrinsic motivation has a negative impact on the continuity of individual freedom and performance-contingent rewards have an adverse result on the internal motivation of interesting activities.

They showed that such rewards in schools can advance learning. Increasing self-determination and self-efficacy, according to the cognitive assessment theory, increases intrinsic motivation, whereas decreasing self-determination and perceived competence decreases intrinsic motivation, according to Deci. In Deci et al.’s view, reward reduces perceived autonomy, which in turn reduces intrinsic drive. Intrinsic motivation is reduced when a reward is given for tasks that are inherently rewarding.

How the Decision System Influences Intrinsic Motivation

Objectives are driven by human wants, and a decision-maker will only make a choice if they feel it will lead to the greatest achievement of their goals. Subgoals and alternative solutions to the objectives are identified when people are motivated (Mintrop, 2017). We all must make decisions in our daily lives (Carillo, 2018). Changes of all sizes, from the seemingly little to the sweeping, are always brought about by choice. Decision-makers in companies must be properly informed and motivated about the need for change to guarantee that knowledge is used effectively and quickly in practice.

Motivation and decision-making are mutually reinforcing. Making a choice is a process that impacts both the person making the decision as well as the people they interact with. When making a choice, motivation plays an important role (Aguinis, 2019). A motivating program is part of an organization’s internal resources and might be seen as a secret (Borges, 2017). Organizational and human resource expertise, as well as the company’s long-term goals, should guide its operations. The motivation of a manager’s employees may be influenced through appraisal, pay in a different manner, and so on.

How the Memory System Influences Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is strongly influenced by memory and learning. For decades, researchers concentrated on basic kinds of assimilation and accommodation. But the current study is starting to describe how memory drives intrinsic motivation (Ryan et al., 2020). We make judgments, seek out encounters, and recall what we process and retain because of our motivations (Schüler et al., 2019). Many people have difficulties remembering things they are not excited about, such as filling out tedious forms at work, while on the other hand, they have fun filling out adoption paperwork for a new puppy.

Motivated encoding has an influence on incentive intensity (reward or punishment), physiological response, and brain substrates involved during motivated encoding, according to our current understanding of the subject (Tsarenko, 2019). The Central nervous system and hippocampus are active during prompted learning when individuals are motivated by money (Murty et al., 2017). (Murty et al., 2017). Individuals’ answers on cash-based reward motivation may affect this. The brain is recruited during encoding if the reward causes an anxiousness response in the individual, leading them to “choke” under strain, perform badly under big rewards, and involve a different collection of brain mechanisms (Wandesforde et al., 2021). Punishment motivation has been demonstrated to improve basic memories (e.g., acquaintance) while weakening advanced recollections (e.g., memory), which are considered to rely on the MTL. It is essential to know that memory plays a major part in intrinsic motivation since people always must select between several possibilities. It is easy to get into a habit of making snap decisions when faced with so many choices. Even though memory is vulnerable to biases, it is essential to the establishment of preferences and the discrimination of alternatives.


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