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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?

Hi Greg:
I think you are onto something here, in light  of the fact that many dichotomies are false, especially when contextualized within the sociocultural, historical-political complexity of human society. While John-Steiner and Hersh were specifically talking about recognition and motivation in this case, is also possible that the scientist/artist/athelete or other thinkers-performers experience a completely different and discipline-specific form of fulfillment when accomplishing that which has not be achieved before and /or witnessing such big "C" (vs. little "c" creative events). The sense of fulfillment, in these instances, is derived from a specialized subculture that knows the inherent worth of the accomplishment (such as Olympic or world-class athletes). I suspect that these individuals experience a type of catharsis that involves both cognitive and affective aspects as well as aesthetic-functional dimensions. But, I have 60 papers to grade for summer school, so it is time to get back to work. 

Dr. Cathrene Connery
Associate Professor of Education
Ithaca College 
Department of Education
194B Phillips Hall Annex
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, New York 14850

On Aug 3, 2014, at 12:25 PM, "Greg Thompson" <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:

> While reading David Kirshner's review of Hersh and John-Steiner's Loving
> and Hating Math book, I cam across the following characterization of
> Gregory Perelman's decision to refuse to accept the Fields Medal in light
> of the apparent fact that his work had been plagiarized by a Chinese
> scholar who had previously received the medal:
> "“Everybody understood that if the proof is correct then no other
> recognition is needed” (p. 72), which Hersh and John-Steiner interpret as
> “a beautiful example of intrinsic scientific motivation” (p. 73)."
> Although this makes perfect sense to me and my understanding of "intrinsic
> motivation" from an intuitive sense, I was nonetheless struck by the fact
> that in this case, it was an EXTERNAL recognition that is taken to be
> "intrinsic".
> On the one hand, in my intuitive sense of this psychological terme d'arte
> (as well as my emic everyday sense of it - psychological termes d'art are
> part of everyday language about things like parenting and teaching!), it
> seems that the Hersh and John-Steiner quote IS pointing to intrinsic
> motivation.
> But, on the other hand, it also seems that the motivation in this case is
> EXTRINSIC - the mathematician is seeking recognition of others (or perhaps
> even recognition by the "field of mathematics" - which some might to
> imagine to be a truth-conditional field that exists outside of any
> community of mathematicians). Isn't this type of motivation "outside" of
> the individual?
> Conversely, isn't it also the case that the desire for medals and awards
> (e.g. the Fields Medal) or even other rewards (even marshmallows!) could be
> thought of as INTRINSIC as well? Don't these desires have to be INSIDE the
> person in order for the person to be motivated by them?
> Seems like all motivation is both extrinsic and intrinsic, no?
> And I wonder if this may be connected to the quote that Mike mentioned from
> Luria that a person cannot control their behaviors any more than a shadow
> can carry stones?
> Both seem to point to an ideology (myth) of individualism that is prevalent
> among psychologists?
> For those interested, here is a description of intrinsic and extrinsic
> motivation:
> "Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal
> rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from
> within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding. This contrasts
> with extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a behavior in order
> to earn external rewards or avoid punishments."
> -greg
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson