Motivation and emotion/Book/2014/Self-efficacy and motivation

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Self-efficacy and motivation:
How does self-efficacy enhance motivation?

Overview[edit | edit source]

The chapter aims to provide an answer to how self-efficacy enhances an individuals motivation. This chapter outlines the concepts of motivation identifying intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and how extrinsic motivation effects intrinsic motivation.

The motivational concepts will be integrated into self-determination theory and within self-determination, also provide linking research into self-efficacy theory.

Reeve (2009) said that when people expect that they can perform a task consider how much effort will they willingly devote to perform the provided task effectively? Think about this in relation to the above scenario and write down a list of your ideas.

Enhancing motivation[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]


A major cycling classic road race; stage fifteen of the Tour De France was drawing to a close Bauer stage 15 finish. The winner of the race won an automatic entry into next years race. Two riders broke away from the peleton with 100 kilometres to ride to the finish. The two riders had a 10 minute advantage on the peleton with 50 kilometres to ride, 5 minutes advantage with twenty-five kilometres to go and so forth - the peleton was slowly but surely chasing down the lone rider. By the time the two riders went under the 2 kilometres to go banner, the rider was at a 45 second advantage over the fast moving peleton. The teams of the sprinter were organising and positioning their sprinter for the long straight finish which started at the kilometre to go sign. With five hundred meters to go the rider only had a 15 second advantage over the peleton. The solo rider is one of the new up and coming young riders of the tour from New Zealand riding for Garmin sharp, who is trying to establish himself in the world of cycling. The rider is currently exhausted from being in the break for the last hundred kilometres. So what is going to motivate this rider to get to the finishing line first? The peleton is in sight and finishing fast at 70 km/h. Where and how will this rider get the motivation to finish the race off in style with a yet another win?

Intrinsic motivation[edit | edit source]

Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation when people engage in a task for their own satisfaction, rather than a reason that is separate (Ryan and Deci, 2000). A person might engage in a task because they see the task as fun, and feel satisfied either during or after participation. An intrinsically motivated basketball player, for example, will be motivated by learning new dribbling techniques with the ball (Vallerand, 2004). This example identifies that intrinsic motivational behavior is what engages the individual (basketball player) to the task (i.e., dribbling a ball). Therefore, intrinsic motivation exists between a person and the task being performed (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Intrinsic motivation is when a person participates in a task only for the task itself with no external reward and the person's cause for participation is only internal (Cameron and Pierce, 1994).

Intrinsic motivation over a life span[edit | edit source]

Intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged in experiments with animals. When the animals behaviour was observed, researchers observed playful, curiosity, and exploratory types of behaviour in the absence of rewards (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Through this type of behaviour it was believed that the animals being tested were showing intrinsic behaviour without instructions, but more so for positive experiences in exercising their own development (Ryan and Deci, 2000). In relation to human development, children naturally, when healthy, showed similar behaviours like the experimental animals. For instance, children demonstrate behaviour of being active (play), inquisitive and curious, which demonstrates that children are ready to explore their environment (Ryan and Deci, 2000).

Children[edit | edit source]

Bouffard (2003), researched how elementary school children perceive themselves to be competent at a given task. Research shows that children who were intrinsically motivated and regarded themselves as competent, where more likely to engage in the easier task provided[factual?]. This is due to children basing their competence on the development of their learning experiences, rather than their capabilities to learn what the particular task is about (Bouffard, 2003). When difficult tasks are provided for children to complete, children who regarded themselves as competent showed intrinsic motivated behaviour by being more persistent and eventually complete the task (Bouffard, 2003). Children who had a negative view of themselves were more likely to not engage in the difficult task provided, and in engaging in the easier task, will attempt the task with a more passive effort (Bouffard, 2003).

Adolescence[edit | edit source]

Later on during adolescence, people's need for self-determining behaviours and competence increases intrinsic motivation (Ferrer-Caja & Weiss, 2000). An example is when students in secondary school receive feedback from their teacher for participating in an activity and it is interpreted by the student as constructive (Ferrer-Caja & Weiss, 2000). Student's intrinsic motivation increases when external environment opportunities satisfy their need for competence (Ferrer-Caja & Weiss, 2000). Intrinsic motivation is impacted by individual differences and social factors. These factors were identified as participants initially used self-effort and self-improvement to complete physical tasks for enjoyment, fun, and a desire to learn. These participants who had the choice to participate in more difficult tasks, still showed persistence even after failures. After failed attempts the focus and reason to participate changed to more performance evaluation against other participants. As intrinsic motivation was maintained through competition - the attempt to out perform other participants decreased intrinsic motivation. Participants who maintained enjoyment and probability[explain?] to learn maintained intrinsic motivation more then participants who changed to engage in competition as a social factor (Ferrer-Caja & Weiss, 2000).

Adulthood[edit | edit source]

Intrinsic motivation for adults is identified through the interest of enjoyment of a particular task (Dacey, Baltzell, & Zaichkowsky,2008). In other words, adults are more intrinsically motivated by the specific task (Dacey, Baltzell, & Zaichkowsky,2008), rather than an explorative aspect in children or striving for competence to be be accepted in adolescences. Dacey, Baltzell, & Zaichkowsky's (2008) research on intrinsic motivation is more likely to be found in more active adults than less active adults[Rewrite to improve clarity]. Both younger and older adults showed a positive relationship to the task[explain?], when the task was enjoyable, therefore increasing intrinsic motivation. The results also found that adults who were highly intrinsically motivated were more self-determined to participate in the task (Darcy et al, 2008). According to Ryan and Deci (2000), this is the type of participation where intrinsic motivation was due to satisfaction as a reason, more so than an interest when participants decided to participate (Ryan and Deci, 2000).

Extrinsic[edit | edit source]

Extrinsic motivation is when people engage in tasks that are due to environmental circumstances and not for their own interests or enjoyment as is the case for intrinsic motivated people (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Intrinsic motivation is engaging in a task for non instrumental reason, where extrinsic is engaging purely for instrumental reasons (Ryan and Deci, 2000) Examples of extrinic motivators are in the form of rewards, praise, social recognition (Lin, 2007). These are rewards for doing a task that is outside the nature of self interest, satisfaction, or enjoyment (Vallerand, 2004). People who are extrinsically motivated can engage in a task automatically or not automatically (Ryan and Deci, 2000. Reeve (2009) explains the reasons why we automatically engage to extrinsic motivators. This is due to wanting to identify attractive consequences to choices against non attractive outcomes. Simply, if a person engages to receive a reward or gain an incentive, what will he or she get? or What's in it for me?"(Reeve, 2009, p.113). Identifying rewards or incentives to sum up whether to engage or not, is the example where people only engage to receive a desired outcome and not the interest or enjoyment factors for doing the task (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Extrinsic motivation has two concepts of self-determined behaviour (1) free- choice to engage or (2) comply to external factors to receive reward (Ryan and Deci, 2000). An example of free- choice would be a student decides to complete her weekly work at university, as the work will be examined at the end of the semester, not because the student finds the work interesting. An example of compliance is similarly, a student does the work not due to the belief that it will be examine-able, but more so to avoid a negative response from the tutor next tutorial. The concepts of free-choice and compliance derive the four types of extrinsic motivation (Vallerand, 2004).

Motivation[edit | edit source]

Motivation is defined as the choice that a person decides on in regards to what they will experience or goals that will be approached, and how much effort will be sufficient to satisfy themselves (Dickinson, 1995). People who are motivated for their own reasons (intrinsic) seem to be more motivated than people who are motivated for other reasons that are external to them (Extrinsic) (Dickinson, 1995). For example, people who see their results from a task as a reflection of their own effort, also focus on task performance rather than task results. These people are motivated due to being independent, responsible, and choices (Dickinson, 1995).

Differentiating motivation

Deic and Ryan (2008) initially thought motivation was not determined by the amount of motivation displayed, but more the specific type of motivation displayed by a person to predict an outcome of behaviour. Outcomes were related to psychological health, well-being, effective performance, problem solving, and learning (Deci and Ryan, 2008). When people are motivated, their motivation is aligned between autonomous and controlled types of motivation. Autonomous motivations consists of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation properties between their-self and that activity or task's value (Deci and Ryan, 2008). In other words people feel volition and self-endorsement of their behaviour. People who are autonomously motivated are predicted to be psychologically healthy and persist longer when completing a task (Deci and Ryan, 2008) Controlled motivation is the opposite to autonomous motivation. When one's behaviour is influenced by external regualtion - reward or punishment, introjected regulation (approval or shame), controlled by external pressure in order to think and behave in certain ways (Deci and Ryan, 2008)[grammar?]. Overall, autonomous and controlling motivations both energise behaviour in a particular direction (Deci and Ryan, 2008).

Extrinsic motivation versus intrinsic motivation

Researchers have been debating the impact of extrinsic motivation on intrinsic motivation or the two types of motivation separately. Wiersma (1992) conducted a meta-analysis study on the debate of extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation. One theory is that intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators were simple additional motivators on task performance. However other researchers claim that extrinsic motivators relate to performance by reducing intrinsic motivation. For example an individual's salary should not be used for participation in work-related decisions. The salary payments (extrinsic motivation) are not being used for employees to solve the conundrum and are not reducing self generating workplace practice (intrinsic motivation) (Wiersma (1992).

The preferred alternative was to pay employees equally, therefore, money is not tied to performance which emphasizes intrinsic motivation (Wiersma, 1992). Extrinsic rewards were said to have one positive and one negative effect on intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation could have a damaging effect on intrinsic motivation if the feedback from the reward was interpreted as controlling or improved intrinsic motivation if the feedback was interpreted as constructive (Wiersma, 1992). Other research showed that higher reward increased intrinsic motivation, only when the feedback was referring to ability which would reflect the person being competent, although greater rewards decrease intrinsic motivation on their own (Wiersma, 1992).

Deci, Koestner, & Ryan (1999) conducted another meta-analysis of the previous meta -analysis studies of Weirsma (1992), Rummel and Feinberg (1988), Tang and Hall (1995), and Cameron and Pierce (1994). After evaluating the empirical research from all four meta-analysis studies, the evaluation demonstrated that three papers were consistent with finding from Wiersma (1992). The opposing findings were in the meta-analysis of Cameron and Pierce (1994). Cameron and Pierce looked at reinforcement theory and extrinsic rewards in relation to effects on intrinsic motivation. They found two effects, one, that performance predictability decreases intrinsic motivation and the second, after reinforcement is withdrawn, people's motivation to participate in tasks decreases (Cameron and Pierce, 1994). Rewards are assumed positive effects on behaviour, and reinforcement is the probability of a behaviour occurring (Cameron and Pierce, 1994). Research found from a single-subject research design provided that information did not decrease intrinsic motivation, which was consistent with the behaviourist view - behaviour returns to standard baseline behaviour when reinforcement is removed (Cameron and Pierce, 1994). Praise showed an increase in intrinsic motivation immediately after the removal of the reinforcer, rate of responses increase but then intrinsic motivation decreases and motivation levels return back to baseline (Cameron and Pierce, 1994). Rewards do control people's behaviour, although rewards reduces people's own responsibilities for self-motivating behaviour (Deci et al, 1999).

Self-determination theory[edit | edit source]

The origin of motivation is a person's attitude that enforces that person into action (Ryan & Deci, 2000). When a student completes their homework, he or she does so out of pure self-interest, curiosity, or because the student wants the approval of the teacher or wants to learn new skills to gain the benefits of good grades. Self-determination theory (SDT) differentiates the the different types of motivation that motivates a person to act (Ryan, and Deci, 2000). Self-determination is the differentiation between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2000). SDT proposes that extrinsic motivation has different types of motivation that impacts intrinsic motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2000). This is evident when students for example, perform tasks with resentment, resistance, and disinterests, rather than, behaviour that represent willingness through self-acceptance (Ryan and Deci, 2000). The frame work of SDT identifies social and environmental factors (extrinsic motivators) that destabilizes self interest (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Self determination theory consists of three components of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Ryan, Patrick, Deci, & Williams, 2008). People that are low or high on self-determination are influenced by four types of extrinsic motivation such as external regulation, integrated regulation, introjected regulation, and identified regulation (Vallerand, 2004).

Types of extrinsic motivation in self-determination Description and example
External -regulation Behaviour that is regulated through positive external outcomes and avoiding constraints. Example; Rugby player goes to training, so the coach does not bench him for the weekends game.
Integrated-regulation Participating in a task from an extrinsic view, therefore it’s a matter of choice. For example: Rugby player decides to stay at home the night before the game the next day, instead of going to the pub with his mates.
Introjected-regulation A person starts to internalize reason for their action, although reflecting on reasons does not replace extrinsic motivators. Example; Rugby player goes to practice otherwise he would feel guilty for not attending.
Identified-regulation Is behaviour that is valued and important for the individual. Example; Rugby player goes to practice as he feels that his performance will be better in the next game.

Table 1.1 Extrinsic motivation in Self-Determination Theory. Retrieved from Vallerand, R. J. (2004). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport. Encyclopedia of applied psychology, 2, 427-435.

Figure 1.2 Components of self-determination theory
Figure 1.3 Kelly Slater is an example of self-determination


Autonomy is refered to as behaviour that is internally reflective and self-endorsed (Niemiec, & Ryan,2009). Students are satisfying their autonomy needs when they devote time into a particular task (Niemiec, & Ryan, 2009). When autonomous needs are satisfied and increases learning abilities, performance, and behaviour adjustment (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Positive autonomous behaviour shows a decrease in learn helplessness, therefore, increased the willingness for people to engage in a task predicting behaviour change (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Behaviour change was found to be evident, for example, a cyclist climbs steep hills in preparation for a hilly course, once racing on the hilly course, he demonstrates that he is stronger than the other cyclists. Satisfied autonomy needs are associated to a greater experience, behavioural persistence, psychological, physical and social well-being (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Autonomy regulation seems to be important for people who want to feel that life is good, and the related happy feeling (Deci & Ryan, 2008).


Competency is the behaviour when an individual feels that their behaviour towards a task is effective (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). Student feels competent when a challenging task is completed in their schoolwork(Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). People that strive for competence seek ongoing social interactions to express their capabilities (Deci and Ryan, 2002). For people to maintain their competency, they seek activities that are optimal so their skills are improved or maintained at least (Deci and Ryan, 2002). Competency is not the attaining of skills, but rather the satisfied feeling when people use their skills effectively (Deci and Ryan, 2002). When a person feels confident before entering participation in a task, intrinsic motivation also increases (Deci and Ryan, 2002). In contrast when the feeling of being competent is not felt, intrinsic motivation decreases (Deci and Ryan, 2002).


Relatedness is the need for a person to feel connected to others (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). Self-Determination research has identified the need for a person to have close friends. The greater autonomy between friends reflects the closeness of the relationship, suggesting autonomy is related to personal well-being (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). This example is only the case when friendships show mutual autonomy towards one another, therefore, one partner in the friendship can just do what ever he or she feels like to maintain the autonomy needs (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). This research finds that relatedness and autonomy together are important for optimal functioning (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009). |}

Social cognitive theory within self-efficacy theory[edit | edit source]

Self-efficacy theory research has had a large amount of influence on individual motivation, achievement, and self-regulation (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Looking at self-efficacy from an educational task perspective, students with low self-efficacy demonstrated doubt and a lack of motivation, where in contrast, students with high self-efficacy demonstrated behaviour such as hardworking, task ready, interest, and collective achievement (Schunk & Pajares, 2009).

Sources of self-efficacy

In social cognitive theory (SCT), self-efficacy influence internalized behaviours and the person's environment (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Self-efficacy is made up of four sources; Actual experience, vicarious experience, forms of social pressures, and physiological states. For example; a student has high self-efficacy about their learning towards set goals, learning efficiency, monitor what they learn, and re-evaluate their goals according to task performance on learning outcomes (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Research claims that self-efficacy is a combination of intrinsic motivation integrating with self-determination regulation on external motivation, suggesting that self-efficacy on task performance can increase due to past experiences, and through observing other people performing when feedback and comparisons with others is considered (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Task completions that are regarded as a success should increase self-efficacy, therefore, failed tasks should decrease self-efficacy (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Actual experience is determined when people reflect on their own self-efficacy as the most reliable source, as people are more critical on themselves than others are (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Feedback through vicarious observation is the preferred way for one to judge their own performance of a task, to determine their own self-efficacy (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Although some research suggests that vicarious behaviour can increase self-efficacy - if they can do it, then so can I, vicarious observation can also decrease self-efficacy, if others fail, what chance do I have to complete the task? (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Vicarious observation can damage intrinsic motivation of a person if the previous person attempting a tasks fails, social persuasion from other people can enhance intrinsic motivation, by separating internal thoughts of the next person attempting from the observed feedback from other peoples previous attempts on a task (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). A useful example to show how social persuasion effects intrinsic motivation would be when another person who is also observing says "I know you can do it" to the person who is avoiding the task due to low self-efficacy (Schunk & Pajares, p.37, 2009). This example leads into how physiological states can influence self-efficacy. Physiological states are taken into account after social pressure, past experience, or vicarious observation has been applied - it is the feeling of deciding if a person can complete the task successfully or they avoid the task as the feeling of failure is too great (i.e., feeling their capabilities will fail them) (Schunk & Pajares, 2009).

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Overall it is possible for people who are looking to use self-efficacy to enhance their own motivation. By answering the questions on how self-efficacy enhances motivation, the cyclist will either have a favorable outcome or will experience an unfavorable outcome. When people are intrinsically motivated they experience higher self-efficacy (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Repeat task completion is a successful predictor for higher self-efficacy, as they are more willing to repeat tasks of a similar nature (Ryan and Deci, 2000). People who engage in more tasks have chosen to participate voluntarily and made a choice based on their own internal thoughts, rather than complying to any type of external reward (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Remember the cyclists who broke away with 100 kilometres to go in stage 15, after all the training and years of experience in cycling (repeated engagement) Bauer's internally thoughts were he was fit enough to survive and win the stage (intrinsically motivated). When people show self-determined behaviour, people consider their own thoughts against external pressure to accept or avoid the engagement in a particular task (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Doubt rises when external pressures are too great for internalised self-perceptions of their ability (Ryan and Deci, 2000). More engagement through self-determined decisions enables people to maintain or even improve their ability to succeed, therefore, people experience satisfaction from a combination of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci and Ryan, 2008). People's continued success is established from reflecting on past experiences and vicarious observation. People with low self-efficacy could re-evaluate past experiences when participating on the next similar task (Schunk & Pajares, 2009). When feedback is provided, self-efficacy of an individual can increase through persistence effort and this in turn increases motivational behaviour (Schunk & Pajares, 2009).

Test your understanding[edit | edit source]

1 What is intrinsic motivation?

People engage for unsatisfying reasons.
People engage in a task for their own reason that is separate from other reasons.
People engage for other reasons, other than for their own reason.

2 What is the definition of extrinsic motivation?

People engage because of their own satisfaction.
People engage for a reward.
People engage in task for external reason rather than for their own reasons.

3 What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic motivation increases external rewards.
Extrinsic motivation reasons decrease intrinsic rewards.
Intrinsic motivation decreases external rewards.
Extrinsic increase intrinsic motivation

4 What are the four types of self-determine extrinsic motivation?

External regulation, integrated regulation, introjected regulation, and identified regulation.
Competence, external regulation, relatedness, and identified regulation
Autonomy, Competence, relatedness , and introjected regulation.

5 What is an example of integrated regulation?

Rugby player goes to training to improve his skills
Triathlete rests the night before his race tomorrow.
Rugby player goes to training as he will feel guilt when he sees his team mates
Triathlete rides his bike in the wind to improve his time trial ability,

6 What are the three factors of self-determination theory?

Physiological states, autonomy, and social persuasion.
Relatedness, competency, and identified regulation.
Vicarious experience, actual experience, and autonomy.
Autonomy, competency, and relatedness.

7 What is autonomy?

+ Behaviour that is reflective and self- endorsed.
Decreases people’s willingness to engage in a task.
Increases people’s willingness not to engage in a task.
Behaviour towards a task is effective.
Competency is the ability to perform.
Behaviour that is regarded as competent doesn’t reflect ability

8 What best describes relatedness?

Relatedness is the need to feel connected to others, for example close friends.
Relatedness doesn’t relate to personal well-being.
Relatedness isn’t needed for optimal functioning.

9 What increases self-efficacy on task performance?

past performance history
vicarious observation

See also[edit | edit source]

Different approaches to self-efficacy theory

Self-determination theory

What is motivation?

References[edit | edit source]

Bouffard, T. (2003). Changes in self-perceptions of competence and intrinsic motivation among elementary schoolchildren. British Journal Of Educational Psychology, 73(2), 171-186.

Dacey, M., Baltzell, A., & Zaichkowsky, L. (2008). Older adults' intrinsic and extrinsic motivation toward physical activity. American Journal Of Health Behavior, 32(6), 570-582.doi: 10.5993/AJHB.32.6.2

Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation.Psychological bulletin, 125(6), 627.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(3), 182-185. doi:10.1037/a0012801

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. University Rochester Press.

Dickinson, L. (1995). Autonomy and motivation a literature review. System, 23(2), 165-174.

Ferrer-Caja, E., & Weiss, M. R. (2000). Predictors of intrinsic motivation among adolescent students in physical education. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 71(3), 267-279. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2000.10608907

Lin, H. F. (2007). Effects of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on employee knowledge sharing intentions. Journal of information science, 33 (2), 135-149. doi:10.1177/0165551506068174

Niemiec, C. P., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and Research in Education, 7(2), 133-144.doi: 10.1177/1477878509104318

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1020

Ryan, R. M., Patrick, H., Deci, E. L., & Williams, G. C. (2008). Facilitating health behaviour change and its maintenance: Interventions based on self-determination theory. The European Health Psychologist, 10(1), 2-5.

Schunk, D. H., & Pajares, F. (2009). Self-efficacy theory. Handbook of motivation at school, 35-53.

Wiersma, U. J. (1992). The effects of extrinsic rewards in intrinsic motivation: A meta-analysis. Journal Of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 65(2), 101-114.

Vallerand, R. J. (2004). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport. Encyclopedia of applied psychology, 2, 427-435.

External links[edit | edit source]