Intrinsic Motivation

Cite this article as: Praveen Shrestha, "Intrinsic Motivation," in Psychestudy, November 18, 2017,

Intrinsic motivation is one of the two types of motivation, which are

Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation are completely in contrast with each other in the manner they work. In short, intrinsic motivation refers to getting motivated from the inside or self-motivation. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation refers to the motivation caused because of exterior factors. In this article, we are going to discuss about Intrinsic Motivation.


The act of being motivated by internal factors to perform certain actions and behavior is called intrinsic motivation. In other words, intrinsic motivation means doing something just because you want to. There is neither pressure nor any sort of reward for your actions, but you still do them because you want to or you believe it’s the right thing to do.

Intrinsic motivation can also be termed as the stimulation that drives an individual to bring about change or perform certain behavior for his or her own internal satisfaction or pleasure.

The concept of intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged when conducting experimental studies of animal behavior. It was seen that animals engaged in playful activities even without any presence of reward. Intrinsic motivation has now been found to be a fundamental natural motivational tendency in cognitive, social and physical development of an organism. It is an important factor that helps a person to learn and improve themselves to be better.

The needs or causes that lead to intrinsic motivation are:

  • Autonomy: the need to have complete control over one’s own life.
  • Relatedness: the need to maintain companionship or connection with others.
  • Competence: the need to do be the best and/or succeed.

Example 1: Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective, never solved cases for money or fame. Curiosity always got the best of him and he solved them because he wanted to, he needed to for self-satisfaction of knowing.

Example 2: A student attending guitar classes because he wanted to. Whether he was inspired by some rock stars or he just enjoyed the idea of playing in front of a crowd, this sort of motivation is classified as intrinsic motivation.


  • Hobbies and passion are mostly the result of intrinsic motivation.
  • This form of motivation is long-lasting and self-sustaining.
  • In case of a student, intrinsic motivation focuses more on the subject rather than punishments or rewards. This helps the student to learn better.
  • Successful people in work places are often intrinsically motivated. Also, if an individual can be made to believe in an idea, he/she can be intrinsically motivated.


  • Fostering intrinsic motivation can be a lengthy process, requiring special treatment.
  • In a class or workplace, different individuals will/might require different approaches.
Cite this article as: Praveen Shrestha, "Intrinsic Motivation," in Psychestudy, November 18, 2017,