Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic Motivation is doing something because of a promise of a reward (a 'carrot') or the threat of a punishment (a 'stick'). Kohn's book examines what happens when students or business people are manipulated via extrinsic motivators like pizza, money or gold stars.
Intrinsic Motivation is doing something from within yourself (intrinsic = 'originating or due to causes within a body').
Let's apply this to moral codes.
- Johnny doesn't kill Fred, because he doesn't want to go to Hell. Extrinsic motivator.
- Johnny doesn't kill Fred because he wants to go to Heaven. Extrinsic motivator.
- Johnny doesn't kill Fred because it is against the law. Extrinsic motivator.
- Johnny doesn't kill Fred because his heart tells him that isn't right. Intrinsic motivator.
Extrinsically motivated people are externally manipulated people.
I'm trying to raise my kids to be intrinsically motivated. It's harder because I can't demand instant obedience. I have to take a longer view, and go over again and again, "would you want to be treated that way? Is that OK to do?"
Here's a short quote from Mr. Kohn:
There are at least 70 studies showing that extrinsic motivators— including A's, sometimes praise, and other rewards—are not merely ineffective over the long haul but counterproductive with respect to the things that concern us most: desire to learn, commitment to good values, and so on. Another group of studies shows that when people are offered a reward for doing a task that involves some degree of problem solving or creativity—or for doing it well—they will tend to do lower quality work than those offered no reward.If this is true, our country is full of extrinsically motivated (religious) people who over the long haul have less commitment to good values.
Sounds about right to me.