Psychological Self-Help

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Extrinsic reinforcement has been discussed earlier in the chapter
and the details about arranging rewards to increase the frequency of
a desired behavior are given in chapter 11. As explained there, to be
effective motivators the extrinsic rewards and intrinsic satisfactions
have to be clearly "contingent" (closely following or associated with) or
caused by the target behavior. There is also a short section in chapter
It is noteworthy that "addictions" seem to be intrinsically satisfying
behaviors that have also acquired the additional capacity to reduce our
anxiety level or meet some other emotional needs. This combination of
intrinsic pleasure with pain reduction pushes the addictive behavior out
of control. See the discussion of addictions near the end of this
The controversy about rewards and intrinsic satisfaction
There are many activities that are intrinsically satisfying to some
people but not to other people. Consider how differently people feel
about studying for class, reading scientific information, playing
competitive games, watching sports, dancing, cleaning house, taking
risks, and so on. This diversity certainly suggests that our past
experiences can have a powerful influence on determining what is
intrinsically satisfying to an individual. In many activities, intrinsically
satisfying aspects combine with extrinsic pay offs, e.g. we intrinsically
enjoy conversing and, at the same time, we get attention, praise,
support and useful information. Or, if we are very lucky, we get great
satisfaction out of our work and we get paid. In these cases where
intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are mixed, one might suppose that
over a period of time the accompanying extrinsic reinforcements
gradually increase our intrinsic enjoyment of the activity... and
perhaps vice versa. That is, a high salary may, in time, make the work
seem more enjoyable. And highly satisfying work may help one feel
okay about a low salary or even proud of doing important work for
little pay. 
It would be ideal, perhaps, if we intrinsically enjoyed all the
activities we need to do, like study, work, clean out the garage,
accurately keep our check book balance, etc., etc. Of course, there are
some activities that have been made satisfying by our biology. Sexual
stimulation is enjoyable innately. Achievement and mastery give most
of us a good feeling. Loving and being loved are usually great joys.
Believing that a powerful God is closely attending to us and will protect
us might well be quite gratifying and reassuring. We don't have to set
up these particular behavior-reinforcement contingencies; they are
mostly pre-arranged by nature or our culture. 
It seems likely, since we aren't born with a need to clean house or
a resentment of that chore, that intrinsic satisfaction can be increased
or decreased by our learning experiences, thought processes, and
other reinforcers in the environment. Changing intrinsic satisfaction is
very unexplored territory, even though there has been a big 20-year
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