Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology25(1), 54-67.

by Rachel Webb

When we look at why people do something, maybe something that even looks rigorous or unenjoyable, we are questioning their motivation. Motivation is to be moved by something and there are different levels of motivation as well as orientations of the motivation. Two types of motivation are intrinsic, which is doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable and extrinsic, which is doing something because it leads to a separable outcome. Extrinsic motivation can be put in terms of being propelled into action by something other than your internal need to do it.

One purpose of this study was to revisit the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation due to the fact that research supports the difference in quality of experience and quality of performance based on the motivation at play.

The authors also provide how each motivation can be operationally defined through experimentation. This has been done in two ways, one of which is that the individual was given a task with a reward following it. They were then given “free time” where they could chose to either continue the task with no reward or do something else. The amount of time the individual chose to continue the original task without the reward indicated how intrinsically motivated they were. Another example supported in this article was giving a self-reported test based on the individual’s interest and enjoyment of the activity in question.

Another purpose of this study was to identify the key elements of Self Determination Theory and how each motivation can strive to be effective for a particular individual. One of the key aspects of Self Determination Theory is that it distinguishes motivation and breaks down the different reasons or goals that are giving rise to action. Within this framework it is suggested that intrinsic motivation can be fostered or undermined by social and environmental factors (Ryan & Deci, 2000). This is important to note in the concept of a team environment, understanding how you as a coach or player are helping develop the more high-quality experience and performance of an athlete that comes with intrinsic motivation or undermining it.

When we look at extrinsic motivation, these researches recognize that each extrinsic motivation can vary in their relative autonomy. An example of autonomy would be that an individual could do something to avoid getting in trouble, motivated by the negative consequence, or they may do something because they know it is better for their future, feeling as if it is their choice and using personal endorsement as a motivator. Research further supports that motivation is a facet of basic psychological needs, that social contextual conditions that support one’s feelings of competence, autonomy, and relatedness are the basis for fostering not only intrinsic motivation but becoming more self-determined (autonomous) with respect to extrinsic motivation.