Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Extrinsically Motivated Behavior

  • Steuart T. Watson
  • Darrell Davis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_1078



Extrinsically motivated behavior refers to behavior that is performed because of rewards that are external to a person.


Motivation speaks to the issue of why a behavior occurs, or the reasons why certain behaviors are performed in lieu of others. Extrinsic motivation ascribes these reasons to external forces or rewards. Thus, behavior that occurs because of the external rewards that are involved are said to be extrinsically motivated. Completing a task for money, recognition/praise, or to avoid punishment are common examples of extrinsically motivated behavior. In these cases, the behavior occurs because of the external rewards, not because of some unseen, unverifiable intrinsic value of the task [1]. Virtually everything that humans do is, in some way, related to the outcomes of their behavior. Even behaviors that seemingly have no immediate external consequence or reward may continue...

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    Cameron, J., & Pierce, W. D. (2002). Rewards and intrinsic motivation. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
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    Cameron, J., & Pierce, W. D. (1994). Reinforcement, reward, and intrinsic motivation: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 64, 363–423.Google Scholar
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    Deci, E. L. (1971). Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18, 105–115.Google Scholar
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    Weaver, A. D., & Watson, T. S. (2004). An idiographic investigation of the effects of ability- and effort-based praise on math performance and persistence. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5, 381–390.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steuart T. Watson
    • 1
  • Darrell Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Educational PsychologyMiami University (OH)OxfordUSA