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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: February 2019

6 - Neuroscientific and Psychological Approaches to Incentives

from Part II - Rewards, Incentives, and Choice


While research on neuroscience posits that intrinsic and extrinsic incentives involve a single, common psychological process based on a reinforcement learning model (forming a “commonality view” on motivation), research in psychology has made a strong distinction between these two types of incentives (forming a “multifaceted view” on motivation), often even viewing them as competitive. Although they are not necessarily contradictory, I argue that these two meta-theoretical views have biased and prevented our comprehensive understanding of motivation and its relation to learning. I suggest ways that these different perspectives can inform each other, contributing to our broader understanding of human motivation and learning. These examples include the effects of reward on learning, the way people can transform one type of motivation to another, and a rewarding view for effort, challenge, and negative feedback. The arguments presented in this chapter underscore the vital importance of cross-disciplinary work on motivation and learning in future studies.

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