Learning and Student Motivation

There is a rich literature of psychological studies on motivation and human learning, most of which–although the actual language may vary–contrast extrinsic motivation (performing for a grade) with intrinsic motivation (developing an internalized interest in the subject matter).  Many of the studies below chart experiments which tested the relationship between motivation orientation (extrinsic or intrinsic) and performance, and many of them offer practical suggestions for helping our students develop an intrinsic interest in–and hence an intrinsic motivation for-- studying our subject matter.


Ames, Russell and Carole Ames.  "Motivation and Effective Teaching." Educational Values and
Cognitive Instruction: Implications for Reform.  Idol, Lorna, and Beau Fly , Jones eds.  Hillsdale: L. Erlbaum and Associates, 1991.  247-271.

Brewer, Ernest W., John O., Dunn, and Patricia , Olszewski.  "Extrinsic Reward and Intrinsic Motivation:  the Vital Link Between Classroom Management and Student Performance."  Journal of Education for Teaching 14 (1988): 151-170.

Brown, Ann L.  "Motivation to Learn and Understand:  On Taking Charge of One's Own Learning." Cognition and Instruction 5 (1988): 311-321.

Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Inc. 1993.

Deci, Edward L. "Effects of Externally Mediated Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 18 (1970)

Deci, Edward L. and Joseph , Porac. "Cognitive Evaluation and Human Motivation." Cognitive Evaluation and Theory and the Study of Human Motivation.  Leeper, Mark R., and David Greene, eds. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1978.  155-158.

Fair, Emile M. III and Lynette , Silvestri. "Effects of Rewards, Competition and Outcome on Intrinsic Motivation." Journal of Instructional Psychology 19 (1992): 3-8.

Frederick, Peter J. "Motivating Students by Active Learning in the History Classroom." Perspectives 31 (1993): 15-19.

Lepper, Mark R. "Motivational Considerations in the Study of Instruction." Cognition and Instruction 5 (1997): 289-309.

Marsh, Herbert W.  "Experimental Manipulations of University Student Motivation and Effects on Examination Performance." British Journal of Educational Psychology 54 (1984): 206-213.

McMillan, James H. and Donelson R., Forsyth. "What Theories of Motivation Say About Why Learners Learn." College Teaching: From Theory to Practice. Menges, Robert J. and Marilla D. Svinicki eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc. 1991.  45.  39-52.

Motivating Students: How to Light Their Fire.  Norden, Jeanette.  Oct 24, 1994. Evanston, IL. Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University.

Perry, Raymond P., Verena H. Menec, and C. Ward Struthers.  "Student Motivation From a Teaching Perspective." Teaching on Solid Ground: Using Scholarship to Improve Practice. Menges,> Robert J., and Maryellen Weimer, eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996.  75-100.

Sakurai, Shigeo. "The Effects of Four Kinds of Extrinsic Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation." Psychologia 33 (1990): 220-229.

Weissinger, Ellen, Linda L., Caldwell, and Deborah L. Bandalos. "Relation Between Intrinsic Motivation and Boredom in Leisure Time." Leisure Sciences 14 (1992): 317-325.

Westrom, Marv and Abdullah Shaban. "Intrinsic Motivation in Microcomputer Games."  Journal of Research on Computing in Education 24 (1992): 433-445.

Bruner Library Main Page
Bibliographies Page