• Motivation – process that influences the direction, persistence, and vigour of goal directed behaviour

Perspectives on Motivation

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  • Instinct Theory and Modern Evolutionary Psychology
    • Instinct (fixed action pattern) – an inherited characteristic, common to all members of a species, that automatically produces a particular response when the organism is exposed to a particular stimulus
    • Theories faded due to circular reasoning (People are greedy.  Why?  Because greed is an instinct.  Why?  Because people are greedy.)
    • Modern evolutionary psychologists propose that many motives have evolutionary underpinnings
  • Homeostasis and Drive Theory
    • Homeostasis – a state of internal physiological equilibrium that the body strives to maintain
      • Requires a sensory mechanism for detecting changes in internal environment, a response system that can restore equilibrium, and a control centre that receives information from sensors
    • Drive theory – physiological disruptions to homeostasis produce drives, states of internal tension that motivate an organism that reduce this tension
      • Clark Hull proposes that reducing drives is the ultimate goal of motivated behaviour
      • Flaws in theory found in certain behaviours, such as when people  skip meals to diet (increases rather than decreases state of arousal)
  • Incentive and Expectancy Theories
    • Incentives – environmental stimuli that pull an organism toward a goal
    • Modern incentive theorists emphasize the pull of external stimuli and how stimuli with high incentive value can motivate behaviour, even in the absence of biological need
    • Expectancy x value theory – goal directed behaviour is jointly determined by two factors: the strength of the person’s expectation that particular behaviours will lead to a goal, and the value the individual places on the goal (incentive value)
      • Motivation = expectancy x incentive value
    • Extrinsic motivation – performing an activity to obtain an external reward or to avoid punishment
    • Intrinsic motivation – performing an activity for its own sake (enjoyment of the activity)
    • Overjustification hypothesis – giving people extreme rewards to perform activity that they intrinsically enjoy may overjustify that behaviour and reduce intrinsic motivation
  • Psychodynamic and Humanistic Theories
    • View motivation within a broader context of personality development and functioning, but take radically different approaches
    • Freud believed that most behaviour resulted from a never-ending battle between unconscious impulses struggling for release and psychological defenses used to keep them under control
    • Abraham Maslow believed that psychology’s perspectives ignored a key motive: our striving for personal growth
      • Deficiency needs – concerned with physical and social survival
      • Growth needs – motivate us to develop our potential
      • Proposed concept of need hierarchy, a progression of needs containing deficiency needs at the bottom and growth needs at the top
        • Physiological > safety > belongingness and love > esteem > cognitive > aesthetic > self-actualization (need to fulfill our potential, ultimate human motive)
        • Can only focus on needs of highest level if bottom levels are satisfied
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