Lecture: Motivation I
Reading Assignment 18:
Perspectives on Motivation (pp. 318-328)
Click for Objectives for Reading Assignment 18

The eighteenth reading assignment will discuss the concept of Motivation and some of the comprehensive theories of Motivation proposed by prominent perspectives in psychology. The perspectives discussed in this reading assignment include the following: the Behaviorist Perspective, the Evolutionary Perspective, and the Cognitive Perspective.
A common ingredient in several of the following theories of Motivation is the concept of a Drive. The theories discussed below often differ in their definition of the term Drives, the number of Drives, and what factors serve as Drives. However, it can be viewed as one of the common denominators of all scientific theories of Motivation.

The Behaviorist Perspective
Theories of motivation that stem from The Behaviorist Perspective are, for the most part, consistent with the teachings of B. F. Skinner, continually expressed the importance on making empirical observations. The Drive Reduction Theory or Drive Theory is no exception to that rule and is arguably one of the most empirically supported theories of M__otivation__. According to the Drive Reduction Theory, humans are motivated to maintain a state of Equilibrium with respect to set of innate drives; referred to as Primary Drives. If a person is not in a state of equilibrium, a tension is created in them that they are then motivated to satisfy their need to remove a tension. Behavior that we observe is likely behavior intended to return them back to a state of equilibrium. The Drive Reduction Theory, is not unique to humans and it has been proven extensively to be applicable to many non-human animals. In addition, both humans and non-human animals may also learn to be motivated by Secondary Drives, that are acquired through learning experiences from one’s environment. Perhaps one of the biggest stretches from the strict doctrine of B.F. Skinner is the Drive Reduction Theory inclusion of Incentives. However, the deviation was needed because without incentives, we could not explain why people sacrifice sleep, food, water, and other physiological needs in certain circumstance

Cognitive Perspective
Perhaps the most popular theory of Motivation was that proposed by Abraham Maslow. Perhaps as a result of its popularity and wide spread applications beyond Psychology; it has been referred to by many names. The name that we will use is the Hierarchy of Needs Theory. Maslow's theory is often times depicted as a pyramid distinguishing between five needs or stages. A list of the needs from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy is as follows: Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Love and Belongingness Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self-Actualization. The hierarchy list lower level needs that are concerned with survival and well-being, at the bottom and higher level needs that are concerned with self-worth, at the top. The Hierarchy of Needs holds that a person is motivated to satisfy all lower level needs before higher level needs can motivate one’s behavior. People are typically motivated to satisfy their needs in a increasing order, consistent with the hierarchy, unless life returns them to a lower level need. Abraham Maslow also believed that not all individuals are able to be motivated by Self-Actualization.
A second cognitive theory of motivation is the Goal Setting Theory. Since humans are rational beings, many theorists and psychologist believe that we can be motivated by much more than biological states. Humans are able to be motivated by specific end states or Goals. These end states may be determined by the individual or others may help us establish or identify them. The effectiveness of a Goal is thought to influence by three factors: proximity, difficulty, and specificity (Wikipedia).
Self-Determination Theory and Intrinsic Motivation (Coming Soon)
Implicit Motives (Coming Soon)
Thematic Apperception Task (TAT)
Evolutionary Perspective
Perhaps the least popular theory of Motivation. Those theories are considered evolutionary perspectives of motivation. The fore mentioned unpopularity is due to that fact that it is rooted in a modern adaptation and is an extension of the work of Charles Darwin and Natural Selection.
The logic of these theories revolves around types of Fitness. Classical Fitness, often referred to as Fitness, is a reoccurring principle in evolutionary theory (Wikipedia). The notion of Classical Fitness pertains to an organism’s ability to thrive according to the principles of Darwinism. Motivation, according to this perspective, is very calculated and operates under the general principle of Inclusive Fitness. The principle of Inclusive Fitness is used to explain the motivation behind social behaviors in humans and non-human animals alike. If taken literally, the theory implies that social behavior will only occur after a calculated and perceived benefit to the individual; however, this theory is not meant to imply that individuals consciously weigh the benefit of one’s actions. Nevertheless, this theory still rest on assumptions of self-preservation and a concern only for one’s own. Many people have a hard time accepting that they operate under such selfish motivating factors, which might also be resulted in its unpopularity.
Helping those outside of your immediate family thrive is one thing (which is explained by Inclusive Fitness; helping those outside of your immediate family when they are in danger is another (which is explained by Reciprocal Altruism). According to the evolutionary perspective, only under specific circumstances will an organism place its own Fitness at risk for the sake of others; when these acts exist, they are typically momentary or temporary sacrifices of Fitness and, although they may not seem to, still do benefit the individual more times than not.



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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