Many psychologists posit that intrinsic motivation generated by personal interest and spontaneous satisfactions is qualitatively different from extrinsic motivation generated by external rewards. However, the contemporary neural understanding of human motivation has been developed almost exclusively based on the neural mechanisms of extrinsic motivation. In neuroscience studies on extrinsic motivation, striatum activity has been consistently observed as the core neural system related to human motivation. Recently, a few studies have started examining the neural system behind intrinsic motivation. Though these studies have found that striatum activity is crucial for the generation of intrinsic motivation, the unique neural basis of intrinsic motivation has not yet been fully identified. I suggest that insular cortex activity, known to be related to intrinsic enjoyment and satisfaction, is a unique neural component of intrinsic motivation. In this chapter, I addressed the theoretical background to and empirical evidence for this postulation.
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2012S1A5B5A01025076).
Lee, W. (2016), "Insular Cortex Activity as the Neural Base of Intrinsic Motivation", Recent Developments in Neuroscience Research on Human Motivation (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 127-148. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0749-742320160000019016
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