Autonomy and Motivation: A Dual-Self Perspective
This paper provides a simple autonomy-based model of human motivation in which a decision maker with divided selves must perform some task. The key presumption of the model is that the brain is not a unitary system which is equipped to achieve a single goal in a systematic manner; rather, it is more like an organization which is hampered by several constraints such as preference incongruence and incomplete exchange (or imperfect recall) of information. Due to these constraints, the model yields behavioral patterns that are consistent with various stylized facts of human motivation, mostly found in social psychology. The main findings of the paper are: (i) more autonomy induces more motivation; (ii) complex tasks are susceptible to motivation crowding out; (iii) small rewards are detrimental to motivation; (iv) intrinsically interesting tasks are susceptible to motivation crowding out.
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