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His desire to play is strong enough to be considered intrinsic motivation because it is a natural feeling, and his desire to communicate with his therapist to get the train can be considered extrinsic motivation because the outside object is a reward (see incentive theory).
Communicating with the therapist is the first, slightly more challenging goal that stands in the way of achieving his larger goal of playing with the train.
Intrinsic motivation is a natural motivational tendency and is a critical element in cognitive, social, and physical development.
An example of intrinsic motivation is when an employee becomes an IT professional because he or she wants to learn about how computer users interact with computer networks.
Activated "seeking" behavior, such as locomotor activity, is influenced by dopaminergic drugs, and microdialysis experiments reveal that dopamine is released during the anticipation of a reward.
The "wanting behavior" associated with a rewarding stimulus can be increased by microinjections of dopamine and dopaminergic drugs in the dorsorostral nucleus accumbens and posterior ventral palladium.
The phenomenon of intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged within experimental studies of animal behavior.
Most psychological theories hold that motivation exists purely within the individual, but socio-cultural theories express motivation as an outcome of participation in actions and activities within the cultural context of social groups.Efforts to build this kind of motivation are also typically efforts at promoting student learning.Such efforts often focus on the subject rather than rewards or punishments.Opioid injections in this area produce pleasure, however outside of these hedonic hotspots they create an increased desire.Furthermore, depletion or inhibition of dopamine in neurons of the nucleus accumbens decreases appetitive but not consummatory behavior.