Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 144–153 | Cite as

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation and Learning in Schizophrenia

  • Lisa C. Kremen
  • Joanna M. Fiszdon
  • Matthew M. Kurtz
  • Steven M. Silverstein
  • Jimmy Choi
Psychosis (A Ahmed, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychosis


Conceptually, motivation can be separated into two types, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation involves goal-directed behaviors that meet internal psychological needs, while extrinsic motivation involves behaviors executed to obtain external reward or avoid punishment. Both these types of motivation are diminished in psychosis and are linked to amotivation and anhedonia, two of the negative symptoms seen in schizophrenia. In the last several years, the field of motivation research has advanced by (a) developing better instruments to quantify intrinsic motivation, (b) studying the role of effort in evaluating the importance of rewards, (c) examining the neurobiological and behavioral correlates of deficits in learning from feedback, and (d) honing neurophysiologic and behavioral interventions to directly target motivation impairments. In this review, we examine each of the above topics and comment on how our current understanding of motivation may inform the development and testing of new interventions to optimize psychiatric recovery.


Schizophrenia Motivation Intrinsic motivation Extrinsic motivation Reward processing Reinforcement learning 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Lisa C. Kremen, Dr. Joanna M. Fiszdon, Dr. Matthew M. Kurtz, Dr. Steven M. Silverstein, and Dr. Jimmy Choi declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Dr. Jimmy Choi gratefully acknowledges support from the Brain Behavior Research Foundation in the study of motivation in schizophrenia (grant no. CU-17748).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa C. Kremen
    • 1
  • Joanna M. Fiszdon
    • 2
  • Matthew M. Kurtz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Steven M. Silverstein
    • 4
  • Jimmy Choi
    • 5
  1. 1.Neuroscience and Behavior ProgramWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA
  2. 2.Psychology Service, VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineWest HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA
  4. 4.Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolRutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC)Piscataway TownshipUSA
  5. 5.The Institute of Living at Hartford HospitalHartfordUSA

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