General Psychology: Motivation

Chapter 11
William G. Huitt
Last revised: May 2005
• A human being is inherently
– biological
– conditioned by the environment
– able to gather data about the world through the
senses and organize that data
– emotional
– intelligent (adapt to, modify, and select environments)
– able to create and use knowledge
– able to form concepts, think rationally
– able to use language
– social
Defining Motivation
• Internal state or condition
– activates behavior
– gives it direction
• Desire or want
– energizes
– directs goal-oriented behavior
Defining Motivation
• Influence of needs and desires
– intensity
– direction of behavior
• Process that
sustains behavior
to satisfy physiological or psychological needs or
Defining Motivation
• Why is the concept of motivation
– Achievement = Aptitude * Opportunity *
– Motivation explains activation, direction, and
persistence of effort
Defining Motivation
• Extrinsic motivation
– The desire to perform an act to meet
external demands or requirements
Classical conditioning—associated stimuli
Operant conditioning—consequences
Social learning—models and imitation
Social cognition—influence of others on
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
Defining Motivation
• Intrinsic motivation
– The desire to perform an act because it is
satisfying or pleasurable in and of itself
– Satisfies internal need or desire
Instinct Theories of Motivation
• The notion that human behavior is motivated
by certain innate patterns of action that are
activated in response to stimuli
• Not the same as genetic tendencies
• Most psychologists today reject instinct theory
– human behavior is too richly diverse
– often too unpredictable
Drive-reduction Theory
• A theory of motivation suggesting that a need
creates an unpleasant state of arousal or
tension called a drive, which impels the
organism to engage in behavior that will satisfy
the need and reduce the tension
• Popularized by Clark Hull
– Believed that all living organisms have certain
biological needs that must be met if they are to
Drive-reduction Theory
• Drive-reduction theory is derived largely from
the biological concept of homeostasis
• Homeostasis
– The tendency of the body to maintain a balanced
internal state with regard to oxygen level, body
temperature, blood sugar, water balance, and so
– Everything required for physical existence must be
maintained in a state of equilibrium, or balance
• When this state is disturbed, a drive is created
to restore the balance
• Cognitive dissonance derived from this theory
Drive-reduction Theory
• In the Navajo religion and culture, there is an
emphasis on how you relate to everything
around you. Everything has to be measured,
weighed, and harmonious. We call it nizhoni—
walking in beauty.
– American Indigenous Religions, Lori Cupp (Navajo)
Primary Drives
• A state of tension or arousal arising from a
biological need; one not based on learning
Primary Drives
• Internal and external hunger cues
– Hypothalamus
• Of central importance in regulating eating behavior and
thus affect the hunger drive
– Other internal hunger and satiety signals
• Some of the substances secreted by the gastrointestinal
tract during digestion act as satiety signals
• Changes in blood sugar level and the hormones that
regulate it also contribute to sensations of hunger
– External signals
• Sensory cues, such as the taste, smell, and appearance of
food, stimulate the appetite
Primary Drives
• Eating disorders
– Anorexia nervosa
• An eating disorder characterized by an overwhelming,
irrational fear of being fat, compulsive dieting to the point of
self-starvation, and excessive weight loss
– Bulimia nervosa
• An eating disorder characterized by repeated and
uncontrolled episodes of binge eating, usually followed by
purging, which is self-induced vomiting and/or the use of
large quantities of laxatives and diuretics
Arousal Theory
• A theory suggesting that the aim of motivation
is to maintain an optimal level of arousal
• Arousal
– A state of alertness and mental and physical
– When arousal is too low, animals and humans seek
to increase stimulation
– When arousal is too high, animals and humans
seek to decrease stimulation
Arousal Theory
• Yerkes-Dodson law
– Performance on tasks is best
when the arousal level is
appropriate to the difficulty of
the task
• higher arousal for simple
• moderate arousal for tasks
of moderate difficulty
• lower arousal for complex
– Performance suffers when
arousal level is either too
high or too low for the task
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
• Abraham Maslow
– Attempted to develop a theory of motivation that
would synthesize multiple theories
– Proposed two sets of needs
• Deficiency needs
• Growth needs
– Growth needs develop after deficiency needs are
– Lowest unmet need will receive attention
– Believed that these motivational processes were
central to the human personality
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Social Motives
• Motives acquired through experience and
interaction with others (McClelland, Murray)
– Need for achievement (n Ach)
• The need to accomplish something difficult and to perform
at a high standard of excellence
– Need for affiliation
• The need to have harmonious relationships with other
people and to be accepted by others
– Need for power
• Personal – want to direct others
• Institutional – want to organize efforts of others to meet the
needs of the institution
Need for Achievement
• Characteristics of achievers
– High n Ach
• pursue goals that are challenging, yet attainable
through hard work, ability, determination, and
• see their success as a result of their own talents,
abilities, persistence, and hard work
– Low n Ach
• not willing to take chances when it comes to
testing their own skills and abilities
• when fail, usually give up quickly
Need for Achievement
• Parents can foster n Ach
– give children responsibilities
– teach them to think and act independently
from the time they are very young
– stress excellence, persistence, and
– praise them sincerely for their
Expectancy Theory
• Motivation to engage in a given activity is
determined by:
– Expectancy – a person’s belief that more effort will
result in success
– Instrumentality – the person’s belief that there is a
connection between activity and goal
– Valence – the degree to which a person values the
results of success
• Motivation = Expectancy * Instrumentality *
Work Motivation
• The conditions and processes responsible for
the arousal, direction, magnitude, and
maintenance of effort one puts forth in one’s
• Two of the most effective ways to improve
– reinforcement
– goal setting
Work Motivation
• Examples of reinforcement in the workplace
Recognition awards
Posting of individual performance
Time off
Better offices
More impressive titles
Work Motivation
• Goal setting
– Have employees participate in the goal setting
– Make goals specific, attractive, difficult, and
– Provide feedback on performance
– Reward employees for attaining the goals

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