Definition: The desire to engage in activity to achieve an external consequence, such as a reward.

Quite Simply...

  • Doing an activity because of what you get for completing it.
  • Receiving a physical award for an accomplishment.
  • The desire to do something because of external reward.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation:

  • Studying for a test so that you can get an A on it and pass the class.
  • Practicing for a sport to win games and get a trophy.
  • Practicing driving so you can get your license.
  • Going to work on time everyday in hopes that you'll be employee of the month.
  • Getting straight A's so your parents will give you allowance.
  • Completing all your chores by the end of the week, because if you do your parents will let you use the car.
  • Going to school so you can graduate or move on to the next grade.
  • Doing the Dishes so your parents won't yell at you again for not doing your chores (Avoiding punishment).

Additional Resources


See Also...

Practice Questions

1. You admit that you like your job but that the main reason that you work is because you get paid every week. Your motivation is primarily _.

A. Deferred
B. Intrinsic
C. Extrinsic
D. Secondary
E. Primary

Answer: C.


  • In this research, children, 5 years old to 13 years old, were put into subgroups and asked several questions dealing with what motivates them (intrinsically or extrinsically). They came to a conclusion that children who are younger were more extrinsically motivated versus the older children who were intrinsically motivated. Furthermore, the people in charge of this experiment came to a conclusion that disliked behaviors were linked with the children intrinsically motivated and liked behaviors were linked with extrinsically motivated.

Chandler, C. L., & Connell, J. P. (2011). Children's intrinsic, extrinsic and internalized motivation: A developmental study of children's reasons for liked and disliked behaviours. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5(4), 357-365.