Assignment: Psychological Properties of Motivation

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Assignment: Psychological Properties of Motivation

Assignment: Psychological Properties of Motivation

Can two individuals be both the same and different in what motivates them? Do people with different needs, traits, and concerns know they are motivated by different things? The themes of this section are population thinking, differences between motives and traits, awareness of what is motivating, and self-concept as a motivational system. Population thinking emphasizes the notion that every person is different. Chapter 8 (Drives, Needs, and Awareness) shows people differ in the intensity of their psychological needs. Individuals with stronger psychological needs or motives are pushed harder toward satisfaction. Chapter 9 (Personality and Self in Motivation) stresses population thinking by emphasizing differences in personality traits. Trait differences explain why people are attracted or repelled by different incentives.

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What is the motivational distinction between psychological motives and personality traits? One distinction is that motives like drives and psychological needs push behavior, whereas traits do not. Drives are created through incentive deprivation. For example, food deprivation creates a hunger drive, which pushes or motivates a person to seek, attain, and eat food. Psychological needs are persistent deficits that push an individual toward activi- ties or incentives that provide satisfaction. If left unsatisfied, needs produce psychological ill health. Thus, people are motivated from within to satisfy their needs and attain psycho- logical health. The need to belong or affiliate, for example, pushes people to join clubs, organizations, fraternities, and sororities in order to satisfy this need. Personality traits, however, determine whether incentives are valued positively or negatively. To illustrate, for the trait of extraversion, extraverts positively value and are pulled to attend large, noisy parties. Introverts, in contrast, negatively value those parties and decline to attend.

Are people aware that they are motivated by their psychological needs and personal- ity traits? Although needs and traits affect the motivation of behavior, people may not be aware of the source of that motivation. They seem to act automatically but with limited in- sight as to why. This lack of awareness may result from the fact that needs and traits are con- sidered stable and unchanging. Stable needs and traits cannot explain why the same person behaves differently at different times. However, people differ in needs and traits, and this can account for differences in their behavior.

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Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Assignment: Psychological Properties of Motivation

 

Does how you view yourself in the present and in the future motivate your behavior? A person’s view of him- or herself defines self-concept, which is an organized system of knowledge about the self. Envisioned future selves may serve as positive or negative in- centives. A positive future self motivates approach behavior toward that end while a nega- tive future self motivates avoidance behavior, which is designed to prevent a negative self from happening. Self-esteem, however, refers to the outcome of an evaluation about the self. Self-esteem depends on the outcome of evaluations that occur in critical domains. Positive evaluations in important domains boost self-esteem and negative evaluations lower self-esteem.

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Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.

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Drives, Needs, and Awareness

By annihilating desires you annihilate the mind. Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act.

—Claude Adrien Helvetius, 1715–1771

Body cannot determine mind to think, neither can mind determine body to motion or rest or any state different from these, if such there be.

—Benedict de Spinoza, 1677

■ The focus of this chapter is on motives—that is, the internal source of motivation. Keep that idea in mind as you consider the following questions, which introduce the contents of this chapter:

1. What are the differences among physiological needs, drives, and psychological needs?

2. What is the relationship between psychological needs and incentives?

3. Can needs be categorized and ranked for their potential to motivate behavior?

4. What are some of the major psychological needs that motivate behavior?

5. Is awareness of a need or incentive necessary before it can motivate behavior?

Drives and Needs as Internal Sources of Motivation How does one become a world renowned actor, a popular musician, a Nobel-prize winning scientist, or a gold medal-winning athlete? To reach this level of achievement, it is proba- bly necessary to be a genius, such as an acting, musical, scientific, or athletic genius. With this provision in place, one source of motivation for these achievements is the value placed on financial rewards, fame, winning, or the adoration received from others. The philoso- pher Schopenhauer (1851/1970), however, suggests that these incentives are not enough. The money may not be worth it and fame is too uncertain. In addition, the possibility that these incentives will be the result of one’s actions is vague, uncertain, and far in the future. Schopenhauer instead suggests that there are processes inside these individuals that will explain their motivation. He reasons that these individuals possess some inner force or drive that compels them toward their achievements. Schopenhauer likens this inner drive to an innate instinctual process that compels these individuals into action toward their goals as if they had no choice in the matter. This inner force is today labeled drive because it refers to

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Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.

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TABLE 8.1 Internal and External Motivation and Likelihood of Behavior

Strength of Internal Motive

Strength of External Incentive Weak Strong

Weak Behavior not likely Behavior likely

Strong Behavior likely Behavior very likely

Note: The combined effects of internal and external sources of motivation must be strong enough to exceed the threshold in order for behavior to occur. For example, eating depends on the palatability of food (external) and the degree of hunger (internal).

that internal push, urge, or force that moves a person into action. It could also refer to psy- chological needs such as a very high need for achievement, competence, or autonomy. What internal drives and psychological needs do humans possess that motivate their behavior?

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