Lecture: Motivation III
Reading Assignment 19: Sexual Motivation...
and Psychosocial Motives (pp. 334-343)
Click for Objectives for Reading Assignment 19

The nineteenth reading assignment will discuss two of three Universal Drives: sexual motivation and other psychosocial motivation. Eating, the third Universal drive, will not be discussed in this reading assignment.

Sexual Motivation
Some of the earliest advances in the scientific investigation of sexual behavior can be attributed to the work of Alfred Kinsey. His body of work, two books addressing sexual behavior in men and women, has been referred to as the Kinsey Reports. It was groundbreaking research that pushed the envelope so much so, that it resulted in a motion picture by the name of Kinsey starring actor Liam Neeson. The original Kinsey reports were heavily criticized, even by Dr. Kinsey himself, for possible biases that could have existed in the data.

Others have also made contributions to the study of sexology and sexual motivation. Two researchers, by the names of Masters and Johnson, completed the next logical step into the scientific investigation of sexual behavior. Instead of administering surveys (i.e., self-report measures) to learn about human sexual behavior, they decided to observe and record empirical data. They reported that they observed at least 10,000 acts of sexual intercourse in their research facility. Observing these acts resulted in the development of the Sexual Response Cycle. Their research revealed that the sexual experience in men and women, on the physiological level, are more similar than different and that men and women can follow the same cycle. The Sexual Response Cycle consists of four stages that an individual engaging in sexual intercourse is likely to experience: Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm, and Resolution. The period of Resolution, however, is, on average, much longer in males than it is females. Their research also provided the first reported evidence that women can experience more than one orgasm per episode of sexual intercourse; that is, without experiencing Resolution or having to experience the entire cycle again.

Both sets of researchers delved into the investigation of heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Their work helped shape current notion of Sexual Orientation. Hormones are not associated with a person’s choice of who to have sex with (what traits they find attractive), however, they do influence sexual growth, sexual behavior, and sexual motivation. hormonal effects on sexual behavior and Motivation occur in one of two forms: Activational Effects and Organizational Effects. Understanding the role of Organizational Effects is important because they help explain two possible syndromes that may occur during prenatal development: Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. The former being a case when a female is born with internal testes and does not develop a female reproductive system, while the latter being a case when the female secretes too much androgen and their genitalia become enlarged.

Psychosocial Motivation
Research on social motivation has identified Psychosocial Needs, which fall under two broad categories: Agency and Relatedness.

Agency can be seen in the pride that a child has in taking their first steps, and many other age appropriate accomplishments, is often used as evidence that Agency is present at birth or developed early in humans. As explained in the definition, Agency is actually a broad category that refers to a group of interrelated motives. Although found very early in humans, there is no guarantee that it will stay present in any human; experiences with failure or consequences of failed attempts may diminish this in a person. Need for Achievement (N-Ach) is the most researched Agency need. Need for Achievement refers to an individual's desire for significant accomplishment, mastering of skills, control, or high standards (Wikipedia/Need_for_achievement). The Need for achievement, of course, differs across individuals and having too much of it is not necessarily a good thing for an individual. The research surrounding Need for achievement suggests that two types of goals are responsible for a person’s motivation or lack thereof: Performance Goals and Mastery Goals. These two types of goals can explain differences in motivation because some people are motivated towards these goals with hopes to succeed, while others are motivated away from these goals so that they can avoid failure.

The second Psychosocial Need is the Need for Relatedness. To complicate this distinction even more, The Need for Relatedness refers to three related but distinct motives of its own: Attachment Motivation, Intimacy and Affiliation. These three Relatedness Needs all deal with another person or persons and the characteristics that define the relationship between them.. All three are independent of each other and may be present in different magnitudes in each of relationships that any one person may have.

A. Hock, R. R. (2002). Forty Studies that changed Psychology: Explorations into the History Of Psychological Research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

B. Schultz, D. (1986). Theories of Personality (3rd Ed.). Pacific Grove, CA.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co. Pp. 300-317.

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