Woogul Lee1, Johnmarshall Reeve2, Yiqun Xue3, Jinhu Xiong3
1Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, University of Iowa, Iowa city, IA, USA; 2Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA; 3Department of Radiology, University of Iowa, Iowa city, IA, USA
We examined the neural differences underlying intrinsic motivation from incentive motivation. Brain activations were scanned when participants decided whether they wanted to do activities while reading sentences describing intrinsic and incentive motivation. In intrinsic motivation, there were unique activations in the anterior precuneus associated with judgments of self-relevance. In contrast, in incentive motivation, the nucleus accumbens and the anterior cingulate gyrus were activated, related to the anticipation of rewards and the making of decisions on the basis of evaluation of rewards respectively. We conclude that the neural bases of intrinsic motivation can be distinguished from those of incentive motivation.