“Motivation” in social psych jargon:
the systematic influence of our desires, goals, and
feelings on our cognition and behavior. how we want
influence how we think. Two way, our cognition also
influence our motivation
IQ test, did poorly, most likely to disparage the test,
even disparage the whole idea about measuring the
intelligence. If you score high in the test, unlikely to
against the test. People are highly motivated to
protect their self-esteem- if receive something that
threat our self-esteem we try to neutralize that.
Student at top university have a long history of
achieving high in test---such people should do well
on any test they take? Result: disparage with those
who failed in the test.
(motivation is not: Tony Robbins)
THE MOTIVATION VS. COGNITION DEBATE Although there may be an intuitive motivational
explanation for many phenomena, there is often a
competing cognitive explanation that does not
involve any motivation.
Often a cognitive explanation is based on
expectancies. Would Mr. Spock reach the same
Q. HOW DOES MOTIVATION INFLUENCE
OUR BEHAVIOR mediated by our cognition
A. BY SYSTEMATICALLY INFLUENCING
Motivation Cognition Behavior 1. Motivated memory search
We often don’t realize that our search in memory is
not as objective or systematic as it could be (e.g.,
confirmation bias(have motivational factor),
2. Creating a (plausible) theory to support your
We often don’t realize that the theory we
concoct to support our conclusion could also
support the opposite conclusion.
Sanitioso, Kunda, & Fong (1990)
1.informed subjects that a given trait (randomly
varied: extraversion or introversion) is
associated with academic and professional
success. (In other words, experimenters instilled
motivation to possess that trait).
2.asked to list memories of past behaviors that
reflected their standing on the introversion-
Results: those who told introversion, remember
many introversion behavior they have done Kunda (1987)
Subjects were: one group who, in childhood, had
mothers who had worked (a job) vs. a second group
whose mothers had not worked. Subjects asked
which type of mother (working vs. nonworking)
would more likely lead to children who are happily
Results: whichever mother you have, you think it
is a better predictor for happily married child
They are equally plausible opposing theory
Motivated bias in our cognition: see what they want
The eternal balance: self-enhancement vs. “reality constraints”
We continue try to balance ourself
How do we accomplish the task of boosting ourselves
without being delusional?
Dunning and colleagues: 1. We take advantage of
ambiguity in the world.
Vastly people claim they are above average, how’s this possible?
hard to define but you can measure if someone is punctuality. We can measure morety, it is
concrete trait. Everyone said they are intelligence, we can measure intelligence. We only
say we are above average if we can justify it Dunning found that people rated themselves as
extraordinary on ambiguous traits (like “sensitive”
and “idealistic”), but more honestly on unambiguous
traits like “punctual.”
3. Playing fast and loose with inferential
People always think small sample is different
than large samples
Doosje et al. (1995):
1. ½ subjects given desirable info (their group is more
prosocial than a rival group) or ½ undesirable info
2. ½ told this info based on a small sample, ½ told info
based on a large sample.
Desirable info Undesirable info
Large sample accepted accepted
Small sample accepted rejected
People knew the rule but selectively apply it,
they accept it when provide desirable
information. Shifting standard. NEED FOR CLOSURE (desire to reach
Kruglanski and colleagues: reaching cognitive closure, just
simply finishing the task, can often be a goal in its own
Situational variables that increase need for closure:
1. time pressure
2. task tedium
3. no costs for making an error
Also: NFC can vary as a chronic, personality variable
(assessed using the NFC questionnaire). Vary at individual
When in a state of needing closure, our cognition is often
characterized by “freezing” early on, as soon as we settle
on some provisional answer.
Avoid closure-prolong reaching judgement, task self is very
Need for closure can be high or low.
Need for closure-dispositional inference, less likely to
make situational correction
Replicated classic Jones & Harris (1967) attitude
1. But 1/3 of the subjects told that after this task, they
would get to watch a collection of comedy clips(more
interesting, need to closure). 2. Another 1/3 told that after this task they would
have to listen to a lecture on statistics (avoid closure).
3. Final 3 told afterwards they will do task as
interesting as the current task.
Quick closure Neutral Avoid closure
No choice 2.31 7.08
Free choice 1.69 2.89 2.18
Quick closure: less effort, more exaggerated FAE
Avoid closure: more effort, less FAE.
Certain motivations can increase or decrease the
likelihood of stereotype activation.
Fein & Spencer (1997)
1.subjects took intelligence test
2.randomly given positive or negative feedback
3.in a seemingly unrelated study, asked to evaluate
a woman described as a candidate for a job,
based on her application and videotaped excerpts
of her interview.
4. woman portrayed as Jewish vs. non-Jewish by
giving her a Jewish name or a non-Jewish name
and having her wear a visible star of David or a cross in the video clip. I.e., same woman,
different ethnic markers
RESULTS: Sinclair and Kunda (1998):
1.Subjects (Whites) received feedback on a test
they had taken.
2.Feedback was: positive vs. negative
3.Evaluator was: Black vs. White
4.Other subjects only observed someone else
receive one of these types of feedback.
5.Then, as part of an apparently unrelated study,
subjects did a word-fragment completion task in
which several fragments could be competed with
words related to Black stereotype. (Example:
P_ _ R)
Rationale: You will be motivated to inhibit Black
stereotype when you receive praise from a Black
person (you are motivated to think highly of people
who praise you); you will be motivated to activate
stereotype when you receive criticism from Black
person (you are motivated to think negatively of
people who trash you). Results:
Positive no stereotype activation little stereotype activation
Feedback (even less than for White evaluator)
Negative LOTS OF stereotype activation little stereotype activation
Open the door for stereotype activation, with negative
feedback from black
Evaluator (watch from mirror)
Positive little stereotype activation little stereotype activation
Negative little stereotype activation little stereotype activation
Purpose of evaluator condition: evaluator is not involved, not motivate
engage. Provide evidence of motivation explanation.
Many ppl belong to more than one group. Black doctor, how do you
know which is coming to front. If some one cure by black doctor, more
activation of doctor than black. If he appraise you, he is a doctor, if he
blame you , he is black Sometimes st