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Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are two types of motivation. These two types can be influenced by two other kinds of motivation, namely, positive and negative motivation.

In all types of motivation, a person’s desire, motive, and outcome are common denominators.

As their names imply, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation refer to the origin of the motivation. In intrinsic motivation, the motivation exists within a person while “extrinsic” refers to external or outside motivation. In a sense, both types apply the theory of incentive or reward to reason.

These two types of motivation are applicable to many industries and all kinds of people. Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation can allow reagent, interest focus, direction, sustained actions, and an expected outcome from a person.

Sometimes both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can exist independently or in combination with each other in any human activity. They can also overlap depending on the circumstances.

Intrinsic motivation is voluntary motivation. It is often caused by the following factors: interest, enjoyment and pleasure, personal accomplishment and satisfaction, pride, internal reward, developed skills and competency, core beliefs, internal needs, and other internal rewards. This type of motivation has elements of autonomy, personal goals and eagerness.

In many situations, intrinsic motivation is much more favored because it is voluntary, no need for force, and builds more momentum in the individual. Also, people with intrinsic motivation are more cooperative, less competitive with other people, and they sustain their interest in the subject for a long period of time.

Often, intrinsic motivation is formed when all of a person’s basic needs are met. Since intrinsic motivation is individual-based, there is a variety of choices.

In terms of rewards, intangible rewards come first while tangible rewards follow. In this situation, intangible rewards matter more than the tangible. Tangible rewards are seen as an additional incentive but not the main one.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is the opposite of intrinsic motivation. As mentioned earlier, it is motivation that exists outside of a person.

Many human situations are often caused by extrinsic motivation. These causes are usually in the form of external rewards, force, pressure, acknowledgment and praise, conformity, social support, sense of worth, and other forms which are not self-based.

Depending on the situation, external rewards can reinforce or undermine internal beliefs or rewards.

Extrinsic motivation can cause some people to be more competitive or more aggressive among other people for the same reward. In addition, some rewards are non-sustainable or decreases in value over the passage of time.

In some situations, external rewards are the same and applicable to a group of people.

Speaking of rewards, the tangible rewards hold a prominent role in extrinsic motivation. Over  time, intangible rewards can later be realized.


  1. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are two types of motivation. Both are usually used in tandem with two other types of motivation: positive and negative motivation.
  2. The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is the origin or place where the motivation comes from. In terms of purpose, they are the same in creating interest, maintaining focus, creating expected behavior, and an expected outcome.
  3. Another major point of difference between the two types of motivation is the cause of each type. In terms of intrinsic motivation, rewards or incentives are usually self-based or things that occur inside a person. There can be numerous reasons, but they are all personal. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation needs to have an external reward or motive to perform a particular behavior.
  4. Both intangible and tangible rewards occur in both types. However, the only thing different is the ranking. In intrinsic motivation, intangible rewards occur first while external motivation often gives an importance to tangible benefits. In due time, both types of rewards can be appreciated by the person.

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1 Comment

  1. very fantastic and clear but examples are missed

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