Personality Psychology Chapter 11.docx

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29 Mar 2012

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Book notes chapter 11
Basic Concepts Motives:
- Motives are internal states that arouse and direct behavior towards specific objects or
Motives are often caused by a deficit (lack of something)
Ex: if you haven’t eaten for a while, you are motivated by hunger
- Motives are often based on needs, states of tension within a person
As a need is satisfied, the state of tension is reduced
- Internal state - arouses and directs behavior toward a specific object or goal (satisfy a
- Motives propel people to perceive, think, and act in specific ways that satisfy the need
- They differ from each other in type and amount
- Deficits: having a lack of something (need not fulfilled) drives you to achieve, or eat,
- Motives may be unconscious, in the sense that the person does not know explicitly what
he or she wants
- Motive psychologists stress that:
1. People differ from one another in the type and strength of their motives
2. These differences are measurable
3. These differences cause or are associated with important life outcomes, such as
business success or marital satisfaction
4. Differences between people in the relative amounts of various motives are stable over
5. Motives may provide one answer to the question ―why do people do what they do?‖
- Motive approach is like a halfway between the intrapsychic and the dispositional domain
What drives people?
Murray and needs
- He proposed a list of fundamental human needs. Each need is associated with
A specific desire or intention
A particular set of emotions
Specific action tendencies
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- He believed each person had a unique hierarchy of needs
- Various needs can be thought of as existing at different levels of strength
- Each need interacts with the various other needs within each person, and this interaction
is what makes the concept of motive dynamic
- Dynamic is used to refer to the mutual influence of forces within a person
- Press refers to need-relevant aspects of the environment
- Real environment = alpha press
- Perceived environment = beta press
Assessing Needs
- Thematic Apperception Technique (TAT): Ambiguous pictures presented to a participant
for interpretation
Consists of black and white images, which are ambiguous
Measure people’s underlying/unconscious motives
- For example: in the drawing of a person on the windowsill, the person may be going in
(to rob the house?) or going out (jumping to commit suicide?)
- In the administration, a person is shown each picture and told to be creative and make up
a short story, interpreting what is happening in each picture.
- Presumption that a person projects current needs into the interpretation of a picture
- Different responses to the picture are supposed to indicate different personalities
- The essential features are:
The subject is given an ambiguous stimulus, usually a picture
He or she is asked to describe and interpret what is going on
- Originally, this test did not have a scoring system, they preferred interpreting the various
levels of needs themselves
The Big Three Motives (Needs)
- Need for Achievement
- Need for Power
- Need for Intimacy
- These are all deficiency motives
Need for Achievement
- Need for achievement: the desire to do better, to be successful, and to feel competent
- Energized by the incentive of challenge and variety, accompanied by feelings of interest
and surprise, and it is associated with the subjective state of being curious and
- Obtain satisfaction from accomplishing a task
- People who have a high need for achievement:
Prefer activities that offer some, but not too much, challenge
People want a moderate challenge; not something too hard, because you may fail,
not something too easy because it won’t feel like an achievement
Enjoy tasks where they are personally responsible for the outcome
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