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Intrinsic Motivation

  1. Edward L. Deci,
  2. Richard M. Ryan

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0467

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M. 2010. Intrinsic Motivation. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Rochester

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Little children love to play and to learn. They are active, curious, and eager to engage their environments, and when they do they learn. To some extent adults also love to play and to learn. When people are playing and learning in this eager and willing way, they are intrinsically motivated. Throughout life, when they are in their healthiest states, they are active and interested, and the intrinsically motivated behaviors that result help them acquire knowledge about themselves and their world.


  • extrinsic rewards;
  • undermining intrinsic motivation;
  • needs for autonomy and competence;
  • play