Writer’s Choice Essay

Skinner denies that internal free will exists (and with it the notion of self and self-determination and so on). Yet it is possible to see how Skinner’s views allow for feelings of being intrinsically motivated, if we allow that emotion itself is a primary motivator. The need for autonomy might be considered to generate a positive emotion when we feel in control, feel powerful, and the feeling of power is a motivator. The need for competence can be seen as a desire to feel proud, to be praised, to be given credit for something good we have done. The need for relatedness can be viewed as being reinforced by feeling part of a group and punished by feeling excluded. The abusive situations discussed by Skinner (old people, children, prisoners, etc) lack both counter control and the feeling of counter control. In one sense, intrinsic motivation focuses on the feeling of control and extrinsic on the actual control contingencies.

Can we reconcile or combine our understanding of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to improve society in general, and our work life in particular. More specifically, has Skinner’s emphasis on the environment provided a mistaken way to structure work around rewards (pay)? If we focus on BOTH extrinsic reward of a job and an understanding of intrinsic motives as well, how might we restructure our working lives? Consider the emotional component of the motivational properties of extrinsic rewards.

Bonus points if you can find ways to work the ideas of BF Skinner and Chris Rock together.

Reference Material:

Chris Rock – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vSMrnFQyhI

B.F Skinner – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXXF9JXLltk

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