Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation: An Approach /Avoidance Reformulation


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Abstract

The main purpose of this article is to advance an alternative perspective on the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and in particular to examine critically the assertion that these processes are antagonistic such that the will to learn for its own sake is inhibited by the presence of extrinsic, tangible rewards and incentives such as school grades. The presumption of an antagonistic relationship largely depends on the theoretical perspective adopted. An alternative interpretation based on need achievement theory leads to distinctly different conclusions. Exploring this new perspective allows one to identify both the conditions under which intrinsic motives may coexist with extrinsic motives as well as to consider some of the means by which intrinsic motives and caring about learning can be stimulated in their own right in school settings.

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