Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do something “to feel good about yourself and your actions.” That is, the experience of the behavior is reward enough, independent of any separable consequences that may follow.
Intrinsic motivation often leads to or promotes flow, in which individuals become completely absorbed in learning a challenging activity, such as becoming educated, rock climbing, team sports, or piano playing.
Doing for others, helping, volunteering and challenging oneself promotes intrinsic motivation and rewards.
Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act without any obvious external rewards. We simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and actualize our potentials.
It is contrasted with extrinsic motivation, in which behavior has no intrinsic appeal and occurs only because of the rewards and reinforcements it brings.
Researchers have discovered that offering external rewards or reinforcements for an already internally rewarding activity can actually make the activity less intrinsically rewarding. This phenomenon is known as the overjustification effect.
Research also suggests that using verbal praise as a reward also warrants some caution. Children who are praised for their effort ("You worked really hard on that assignment!") rather than their abilities ("You are so smart!") tend to believe that success hinges on effort rather than innate talent.
Children who develop this type of mindset are also more likely to persist in the face of obstacles.
Repeatedly seeking extrinsic sources of self-worth by external rewards, peer approval, and social media cause harm. Continuously rewarding children's with an external reward, like iPad time, can disrupt the development of proper intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. It also places a high value on the external reward. Just like giving kids sweets every time they do something well or feel sad. Seeking validation from "likes" or "followers" can cause a destructive loop of negative attention seeking behavior.