PSYC 332 Chapter 6-10: The-Art-and-Science-of-Personality-Development-FINAL

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20 Apr 2018
- The question of motivation is the question of what moves behavior what sets behavior
into motion
- By the time we are in kindergarten, we intuitively sense that motivation is about what we
want and what we believe to be true in the world
o The child’s theory of mind asserts that agents have desires (wants) in their minds
and that they act upon them, guided by belief
- By second or third grade, moreover, we understand that we may need to formulate a plan
in order to get what we want
o Plans help us achieve our goals
o The full sequence of motivated agency eventually becomes clear:
We want something. We set forth the goal of getting what we want. We
develop a plan in order to get it. We execute the plan. We achieve the goal
- One general perspective argued that the prime motivations for human behavior are
essentially no different from the forces that drive and shape the lives of all other animals
o In order to survive and reproduce, human beings need food, water, shelter, and other
basic resources
When all is said, and done, human behavior is motivated by basic
physiological needs, which give rise to specific + socially contoured wants,
which human beings translate into conscious and unconscious life goals
- For Freud, the ultimate motives in human life were sex (Eros) and aggression (Thanatos)
o Like hunger, drives for sexual expression and the release of aggressive energy build
up over time, Freud argued
- Within the constraints set up by society and the superego, people act upon their
unconscious sexual and aggressive urges, often disguising and sublimating these drives
into more or less socially acceptable behaviors, and into symptoms
- Sex and aggression should never be ignored, Jung conceded, but the most important motive
for human behavior across the life course is to develop or actualize the self, what Jung
called individuation
o Each of us strives to become the authentic person we were uniquely designed to be
- The general idea running through humanistic psychology’s idea of thought is that human
beings strive to fulfill deep and ennobling motives for self-actualization, spiritual
completion, personal salvation, and the like
o We become who we are by discovering and making manifest our good inner
- Henry Murray developed a famous list of about 20 “psychogenic needs” that regularly
energize and direct human behavior
o These include the motivations for achievement, affiliation, dominance, nurturance,
order, play, and avoiding harmful situations
- David Buss proposed that there are as many fundamental motives as there are fundamental
problems that human beings have evolved to solve
o Therefore, we need and want to fulfill motives involved with mate attraction, mate
selection, procreation, child rearing, forming alliances in social groups, defending
ourselves against attack, finding food, obtaining shelter, and on and on
- As cognitively gifted eusocial organisms, we Homo sapiens distinguish ourselves from all
other species on Earth for our talents in group organization and planning
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- As motivated agents, we are extraordinarily adept in working together to develop the most
elaborate and sophisticated plans, programs, schemes, and strategies to achieve our goals
o It requires a tremendous amount of brain power and interpersonal cooperation to
achieve any of the following quintessentially human aims
- There are so many different goals that we brainy human agents, living together in complex
social groups, set our minds to achieve
o But we would never be able to achieve them if we did not believe in our innate
power to do so
- The evolution of the human PFC enables us to make more or less rational decisions and
engage in all manner of plotting, scheming, and planningoften in the company of others
whose respective human brains work in the same way
- The same evolved capacities enable us to reflect upon our strivings and evaluate how well
we are doing
- More than anything else, agents want to be agents
- Behind the many goals and motives that we human beings pursue may lie a fundamental
need to exert our agency in the first place
- As motivated agents, we want many things
o But we want agency first and foremost, even if we do not always consciously realize
such, because if we did not experience the power of agency in the first place, all of
our striving would be useless
- In the human case, motivated agents have no choice but to want to exert their agency
o Psychologically speaking, then, there is no more compelling desire in all of life than
the desire to be a motivated agent
The desire is so ingrained and so pervasive that we usually take it for
granteduntil somebody or something tries to take our agency away
- Self-Determination Theory and The Need For Autonomy
o When people identify intensely pleasurable activities in their lives, they often point
to moments when they are doing something that they really want to do
In these peak experiences, the joy or satisfaction in the moment seems to
well up from within
o Certain activities in life derive their reinforcing quality by tapping into the
wellspring of intrinsic motivation
o The rewarding power of the activity is intrinsic to (inherent in) the activity itself
People who engage in intrinsically motivated behavior do not need an
outside reason for doing the behavior
They do what they do because they like doing it, not because they
will receive an external reward down the road
o Psychological research shows that people who pursue intrinsically motivating goals
in their daily lives tend to enjoy especially high levels of happiness and well-being
In addition, studies in developmental psychology show that children and
adolescents will devote more effort to homework and other arduous tasks
when they feel intrinsically motivated
o Extrinsic motivation is aimed at obtaining rewards from the environment, or
avoiding punishments
o Many of our activities are motivated by the anticipated rewards of social approval,
prestige, money, material gain, and the like
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There is no shame in this, for as a eusocial species we have evolved to be
especially sensitive to social rewards and punishments
o We live in groups, groups regulate our behavior
There is no way to escape extrinsic social forces if we belong to the species
called Homo sapiens
o Moreover, the anticipation of external rewards can make us do some really good
thingsthings we would never do if left to our own intrinsic devices
o Even if we enjoy success with our extrinsic goals, even if we obtain the fame, the
money, and the approval we have been striving to obtain all our lives, we may still
feel unsatisfied
We may even feel that our very agency is compromised
o The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is the conceptual starting
point for self-determination theory
Developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan in the 1980s, self-
determination theory has become a dominant theoretical perspective in
personality and developmental psychology for making sense of how
motivated agency works
Intrinsically motivated behavior is self-determined in that the driving forces
for the behavior reside within the self rather than the external environment
When behavior is fully self-determined, the motivated agent pursues
a goal with “a full sense of choice, with the experience of doing what
one wants, and without the feeling of coercion or compulsion”
As motivated agents, we feel free to pursue the goals that we
find to be intrinsically valuable and rewarding
By contrast, we tend to experience behavior that is not intrinsically
motivated as either controlled or amotivated
Controlled behavior occurs when we strive to meet the demands of
an external force, or an internalized force that was once externa
Controlled behaviors may feel “intentional” in that we intend to do
them, but we still feel that we are doing them to satisfy an end that
is external to the behavior itself
In the case of controlled behavior, then, motivated agency has been
compromised somewhat.
In the more extreme case of amotivated behavior, motivated
agency breaks down completely in the face of overwhelming
external demands
Amotivated behaviors are unintentional and often
disorganized because the person cannot exert choice or will
o Deci and Ryan argue that self-determined behavior stems from three basic
psychological needs
First, the need for autonomy involves the agent’s desire to feel a sense of
independence from external pressures
It is indeed the very need to feel that one is a free and autonomous
agent, able to make decisions according to one’s will
When the need for autonomy is being satisfied, the agent feels that
personal goals line up with deep values and interests
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