Over 40 years ago, Mark Lepper and his group of colleagues conducted research to determine how our minds are hard-wired to become intrinsically motivated. The study showed that rewards such as trophies and pay raises actually decrease the level of motivation in most people because it takes away the joy and curiosity we feel and replaces it with a constant search for approval. It is best to avoid reinforcements and allow the journey to be driven by natural elements such as curiosity and enjoyment.
- More than 40 years ago, innovative research led by Mark Lepper and his colleagues documented the important finding that intrinsically motivated behavior
- We thrive when we act out of sheer desire to engage in an activity for itself, whether that desire is born of a search for pleasure
- As the flood of research provoked by Lepper and Greene’s original examination of intrinsic motivation has shown, we are motivated by both internal and external rewards
“These results are similar to those observed for play: reinforcing it takes away the natural benefits, replacing spontaneous curiosity and joy with a search for gain or approval or standing.”