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Behavior can be driven by many stimuli and one of them is motivation. Motivation is the phenomenon that induces people to behave in a particular way. There exist incentives, reinforces, and punishers that motivate behavior. It is also important to investigate the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation.

Incentives are stimuli that lead to the occurrence of particular behavior. It is essential to differentiate positive and negative incentives. Positive incentives make people better and lead to the improvement of their behavior; for example, the praise of a teacher will motivate a child to perform better at school, as well as promotion at work will motivate a worker to perform even better and pursue career ladder. On the contrary, negative incentives provoke avoidance of particular behavior; for instance, a student who was trying hard, but failed in a class, will be motivated to skip classes; a worker who is constantly getting penalties in spite of his efforts will not be motivated to perform well.

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Reinforces are occurrences that increase the probability of behavior taking place in the future. They can also be positive and negative. Positive reinforces occur when the possibility of a certain way of conduct increases; for instance, when a child is praised for the household chores done, he/she will have the motivation to further help at home. Another example is, when a worker is honored at work, he/she will continue to do his/her best to improve. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, takes place when the possibility of a certain demeanor increases after removing or avoiding something unpleasant. Among the negative reinforces are removing deadlines, taking away excessive homework, stopping one’s teasing or laughing at somebody. For example, classmates stopped teasing a child; consequently, the child became no longer shy, reserved, and reticent. He/she got motivated to become more communicative and friendly.

Punishers decrease or eliminate the probability of a way of conduct. In other words, punishers teach a person what not to do later in life. For instance, a child might be prohibited from playing computer games as a way of punishment for misbehavior. That would motivate him to behave well if he/she wants to play computer games or stay longer with his/her friends. The same can happen at work: an employee may be punished for failing to meet the deadlines. Consequently, he/she will later do his/her best to fulfill the task on time.

Intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation also play a crucial role in individual behavior. Intrinsic motivation comes from a person and is driven by his/her urge to knowledge, enjoyment, satisfaction, etc. A person simply engages him-/herself in an activity since it is personally-rewarding and exciting. For example, a person finds time to watch a film or read a book, because it is enjoyable, relaxing, and interesting. In this case, a person does not need any outside stimuli to perform such kind of activities. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, contains money, prizes, and other rewards that drive a person to perform certain kinds of tasks. For instance, a student may not like physics or chemistry, but he/she will study it in order to get a good mark or to avoid punishment.

Having analyzed the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation, it is important to investigate what happens when they overlap in particular situations. When taking into consideration work, it is essential to remark that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play a huge role in the successful fulfillment of all tasks. First, extrinsic motivation can increase interest of a person in a particular kind of activity that was not so engaging before. Second, extrinsic motivation usually provides a person with a feedback whether the activity that he/she does is valuable and beneficial to others. Thus, a person is confident that his work brings some benefits and advantage. Moreover, external motivation increases internal motivation. For example, a student may be praised at school and, thus, he/she gets even more interested in studying a particular subject.

It is important to conclude that although psychologists and other scholars have conducted much research on human psychology, still much unknown is left concerning human behavior. Nevertheless, it is evident that motivation is a driving force that makes human improve, strive for self-development, and learn.


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