15 Examples of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

The motivation It is the impulse that moves people to develop different tasks or activities. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are two complementary and different types of motivation.

  • Intrinsic motivation. It starts from the inside of the person, is voluntary and does not require an external incentive. This type of motivation seeks self-realization and personal development. The execution of the task alone is the reward. For example: a hobby, community help.
  • Extrinsic motivation. It comes from the outside, and arises when a reward, award or approval is offered for the performance of a task or activity. For example: work for pay, study for a degree.

Motivations appear in all areas in which the person develops a task or activity. They can be at work, school, losing weight, playing tennis. It is the source of energy that allows you to persevere in a certain task, achieve the proposed objectives, create habits, try new things.

Both types of motivation can be presented in a positive or negative way; the objective is to understand them as a whole and try to satisfy them.

motivation - personal growth

Theory of self-determination

The types of motivation were specified by the theory of self-determination developed by psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan.

His objective was to understand what type of motivation guided people in different areas: educational, work, recreation, sports.

They discovered that social and environmental factors help or hinder intrinsic motivations, and that man has three basic psychological needs, which are the basis of self-motivation:

  • Competence. Master tasks, develop different skills.
  • Relationship. Interact with our peers and the environment.
  • Autonomy. To be causal agents of our own life.

The theory of self-determination gave way to subtheories that developed specific aspects that emerged from the study of motivation.

Characteristics of a person with intrinsic motivation

  • Enjoy the process more than the end result.
  • It does not disappear after having reached the objective and has the particularity of being more cooperative and less competitive.
  • Accept failure as part of the process of reaching your goal.

Characteristics of a person with extrinsic motivation

  • Pursue the accomplishment of the goal to gain the approval of another person.
  • It can be a bridge to intrinsic motivation.
  • External rewards can provoke an interest in participating in something in which the individual had no initial interest.


Examples of an intrinsically motivated person

  1. Practice a hobby.
  2. Learn without looking for a grade for that activity.
  3. Help a person to cross the street.
  4. Attend a dining room to serve dinner or lunch.
  5. Donate clothes for homeless people.
  6. Improve knowledge about something.
  7. Go to work because we enjoy our work.

Examples of a person with extrinsic motivation

  1. Work for money.
  2. Bonus rewards for extra work hours.
  3. Study for a grade.
  4. Reach a specific goal at work to receive gifts or rewards.
  5. Change jobs for the motivation of tangible benefits and not for the task itself.
  6. Pass an exam to receive a gift from our parents.
  7. Seeking someone’s recognition for our work.