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The Psychology of Motivation

Nick McCurdy
November 13, 2014

The Psychology of Motivation

A lightning talk giving a very simple overview of how people are motivated.

Nick McCurdy

November 13, 2014

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  1. Types of Motivation Intrinsic Motivation: powered by personal reward •

    Not typically affected by external rewards. • Can be increased through praise. • Can be decreased by external rewards that are too specific. Extrinsic Motivation: powered by wanting to receive reward or avoid punishment
  2. The Candle Problem Your goal is to light the candle

    without dripping wax onto the table.
  3. The Candle Problem: Solution Common Solutions: • Melt the candle

    partially and try to adhere it to the wall. • Tack the candle directly to the wall. Actual Solution: Put the candle in the box and tack the box to the wall.
  4. The Candle Problem: Research Participants were paid different amounts of

    money as reward for solving the problem successfully. Results: • The task was easier when the tacks were not inside the box. • The more people were paid, the less they succeeded!
  5. The Candle Problem and Motivation Functional Fixedness: "[A] mental block

    against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem." - Karl Duncker The Overjustification Effect: An external incentive can decrease the intrinsic motivation to perform a task.