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PSYB30 Chapter 7: motives and Goals: what do we want in life?
Motivation: are wants, desires, aims and intensions; people act upon these wants, producing behaviour. The root word
refers to movement, and it’s what energizes and directs human behaviour, what we want is what we need.
Motives and goals are one class of characteristic adaptation.
The Psychoanalytic View
Freud’s theory of motivation consists of 1) determinism, 2) drive, 3) conflict and 4) the unconscious.
Forces determine all human behaviour and experience; these forces exist within us and are important for drives for
sexuality and aggression.
Forces that determine all our behaviour and experience come in conflict with one another and cause anxiety.
We do not know what those forces are, they are unconscious to us.
Sexuality and aggression are the ultimate human motivations.
There are two sets of instincts or drives: 1) sexuality and all other life instincts (Eros) and 2) aggression and all other
death instincts (thanatos)
Lives are driven at an unconscious level.
Negative experiences lives on the unconscious level and play itself in conscious experience through symptoms, anxiety
The topographical model of human functioning consists of the conscious region, which we are aware of, the
preconscious region which we can readily retrieve in ordinary memory, and the unconscious region which can’t be
readily retrieved and is actively repressed, it is associated with conflict, and is expressed in disguised or symbolic form.
Repression and Repressors
Nonconscious cognitive operations have implicit information processing.
Unconscious thinking is superior in reaching correct solutions to complex problems; suggest that we can attain good
insight when we put conscious thought aside and go with our gut intuitions.
Freud’s understanding of unconscious realm was they were unconscious because they threaten the person’s well
Repression is an inescapable fact of life; keeping something out of consciousness.
Repressors are persons who experience little anxiety and adopt a highly defensive approach to life.
Repressors recall fewer negative memories, and tended to also report fewer positive memories as well, so it may just
be a failure to retrieve emotional memories of various kinds.
Repressors report memories involving emotional experiences of other people.
Repression operates most powerfully in the domain of self-evaluation.
Hansen and Hansen said that emotionally tagged memories are left inaccessible; they simplify negative memories
keeping them from connecting in their minds to other autobiographical memories.
o Nonrepressors tend to describe negative memories in more complex terms.
Each category of emotional memory specified a corresponding dominant emotion and set of nondominant emotions;
repressors reported less nondominant emotions at a less intense level, so they would underscore a memory with a
dominant emotional reaction rather than a host to ward of negativity associated with it.
Extreme stress repressive coping styles can lead to resilience; the ability to overcome difficult obstacles in life and to
thrive amidst adversity.
Repressors felt relatively little conscious distress but high physiological arousal.
Bereaved individuals who expressed repressive coping styles showed better physical health and better psychological
adjustment 18 months later; Bonanno, said that repression might be the best strategy in traumatic events.
Difference in everyday information processing, autobiographical memory, and physical health all employ different
The Ego’s Defenses
Three independent structures: id, ego, and superego; the id is unconscious and are instinctual impulses for sex and
aggression, and are the energy for mental life. It operates under the pleasure principle, which is immediate gratification
of impulses, the driving force behind it is primary process thinking, which is irrational and motivated by sexual and
The ego mediates between demands of the id and constraints of logic of the real world. It operates under the reality
principle, and relies on rational thought. It is manifested as secondary process thinking which is conscious and geared
to solving problems; conflicts are dealt with unconsciously by the ego through defense mechanisms, to lessen anxiety.
The superego represents the norms and values of society; its goal is to repress the id’s instinctual demands.
There is the problem of realistic anxiety posed by the outside world, the id threatens the ego with neurotic anxiety and
the superego adds the problem of moral anxiety and feelings of guilt over moral transgressions.
Other psychoanalysts called ego psychologists said that the ego promotes health adaptation to life through learning,
memory, perception, and synthesis.
Cramer said that immature defense mechanisms are found predominately in early life, and mature mechanisms
develop somewhat later.
The most primitive is denial, which is to refuse or acknowledge the anxiety-provoking event.
Projection is attributed to attributing internal states and qualities onto external others.
And identification forms an enduring mental representation of significant others; it is the most mature.
Age appropriate dense mechanisms are effect in warding off anxiety and helping people cope; use of primitive defense
mechanisms is associated with higher levels of anxiety.
Adults that use mature defense mechanisms are associated with greater social adjustment and occupational
The Humanist View
Humanistic theories offer an optimistic and self-determining vision; they are motivated by higher purposes and strive to
actualize and perfect the self.
Carl Roger’s Theory
Client-Centered Therapy: emphasizes therapist’s warmth and acceptance of the client. The person must be understood
from the perspective of his or her phenomenal field (the person’s subjective apprehension of reality; the overall frame
The goal of the person is to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism; the urges, desires and wants
are under the umbrella of organismic enhancement.
The person who is able to fulfill their potential is described as the fully functioning person; this person operates
according to the organismic valuing process, so those experiences that are satisfied are maintained and those that do
not promote growth are avoided or minimized.
The fully functioning person experiences a great deal of unconditional positive regard; this regard leads to the
apprehension of conditions of worth, a self image with what other’s will provide the person with positive regard with.
Conflicts derive from conflicts between the self and conditions of worth; if we obtain the fully functioning status thought,
we no longer impose conditions of worth.
Abraham Maslow’s Psychology of Being
Also shared the view of humans striving for self-actualization, but in order to meet this we needed to satisfy needs
based on a need hierarchy.
At the base there is physiological needs, above them are safety needs, then belongingness and love needs, self-
esteem needs and finally self-actualization which motivate the person to fulfill his or her own potential.
Higher needs can’t be addressed until lower needs are satisfied.
Motivation was influenced by the understanding of the healthiest people, the most mature and actualized people; these
people were called ‘self-actualizers’ (SA)
An important characteristic of the SA is that the have many peak experiences, these are wonderful moments of
happiness, ecstasy, and transcendence; they have more of these than do the rest of humankind.