How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Ryan and Deci's Three Intrinsic Needs
In their Self-Determination Theory, Ryan and Deci (2000) identify three needs as being factors at the core of intrinsic motivation. If these are needs are suitably satisfied, this will help the person towards optimal function and growth.
We want to be good at the things we do and especially like to be the best at something. The harder and more respected the subject where we have competence, the more we value this. There is a wonderful 'buzz' when we achieve a challenge.
Negative feedback acts to reduce a person's sense of competence, while praise can boost it.
We want to be free to do whatever we choose so we feel a sense of harmony with our inner self and life purpose. To do this, we need at least resources to do the job and possibly empowered authority and support also. We dislike a heavy hand of control from others with factors such as deadlines, and may actively rebel against this.
Deci found that offering extrinsic rewards for actions that are intrinsically motivated undermines autonomy and decreases intrinsic motivation.
We are social animals and like to connect with others, to work with them, to care for them and have fruitful relationships with them.
Note how these needs are different to other needs and remember that the focus here is on intrinsic needs. Competence and autonomy seem related as having autonomy allows competence to be used. Relatedness is more of a social need.
Ryan, R.M. and Deci, E.L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54–67.