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Three Sources of Motivation, Consumer Psychology Review


This article explores three sources of motivation in goal pursuit: obtaining external rewards, obtaining internal rewards, and maintaining a positive self-concept. First, when people pursue a goal to obtain an external reward (outcome focus), their motivation increases as a function of the extent to which they value the reward and their expectancy that achieving the reward is within reach. Second, when people pursue a goal to obtain internal rewards (process focus or intrinsic motivation), the degree to which an activity is closely associated or fused with the goal increases their motivation. Third, when people pursue a goal to maintain a positive self-concept (self-signaling), their motivation is mainly a function of the extent to which they can make internal attributions for their goal-related actions and their expectations that they will remember these actions. We review empirical evidence from psychology and consumer research in support of each of these sources of motivation and discuss the theoretical and practical implications of distinguishing between these sources.




Rima Toure-Tillery, Ayelet Fishbach

Date Published



Toure-Tillery, Rima, and Ayelet Fishbach. 2018. Three Sources of Motivation. Consumer Psychology Review.(1): 123-134.


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