Motivation involves a constellation of beliefs, perceptions, values, interests, and actions that are all closely related. As a result, various approaches to motivation can focus on cognitive behaviors (such as monitoring and strategy use), non- cognitive aspects (such as perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes), or both. For example, Gottfried (1990) defines academic motivation as “enjoyment of school learning characterized by a mastery orientation; curiosity; persistence; task- endogens; and the learning of challenging, difficult, and novel tasks” (p. 25). On the other hand, Turner (1995) considers motivation to be synonymous with cognitive engagement, which he defines as “voluntary uses of high-level self- regulated learning strategies, such as paying attention, connection, planning, and monitoring” (p. 413). Motivation refers to “the reasons underlying behavior” (Guy et al. , 2010, p. 712). Paraphrasing Girdler, Brassard and Garrison (2004) broadly define motivation as “the attribute that moves us to do or not to do something” (p. 106).
Intrinsic motivation is motivation that is animated by personal enjoyment, interest, or pleasure. As Decide et al. (1999) observe, “intrinsic motivation energize and sustains activities through the spontaneous satisfactions inherent in effective volitional action. It is manifest in behaviors such as play, exploration, and challenge seeking that people often do for external rewards” (p. 658). Researchers often contrast intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation, which is motivation governed by reinforcement contingencies.
Traditionally, educators consider intrinsic motivation to be more desirable and to result in better earning outcomes than extrinsic motivation (Decide et al. , 1999). What motivate student Level of motivation according to whether the cause is perceived as something that is changeable and within the person’s control (Winner, 1 985, as cited in Cycles & Wiggled, 2002). For example, native ability is a relatively stable characteristic that is difficult to affect. On the other hand, effort is within a person’s control and entirely manipulate.
Both task characteristics and luck are outside one’s control and tend to be variable. Thus, poor performance on a task s more likely to contribute to reduced effort and motivation for those holding ability attributions than for those holding effort attributions because failing performance for the former group communicates a lack of ability that may be difficult to change, whereas failure for the latter group communicates that success is within reach if more effort is expended.
Empirical research suggests that those holding effort attributions tend to exhibit more positive learning behaviors, such as goal-setting that focuses on learning rather than reference (Miller & Emcee, 1997), use of strategies, and persistence at difficult or challenging tasks (Stripe, 1996). However, teachers should frame successful performances in terms of ability rather than effort because success communicates positive information about competency to students (Chunk, 1983).
This line of research suggests that students attempt to maximize their self- worth and will protect a sense of competence by making causal attributions that enhance their sense of competence and control. For example, empirical research suggests that the most common attributions among both college-level and younger students are ability and effort, and the most preferred attribution for failed performance is a lack of effort.
According to this theory, students may also engage in negative learning behaviors, such as procrastination, making excuses, avoiding challenging tasks, and not trying, in an attempt to avoid negative ability attributions for tasks they are not confident they can perform (Coving & Mollies, 1979, as cited in Cycles & Wiggled, 2002).