Chapter 9: Emotion and Motivation
Motivation = the area of psychological science concerned with the factors that
energize, or stimulate, behavior. It focuses on what produces behavior – for
instance, what makes you get up in the morning and go to class.
Four essential qualities of motivational states:
1) Energizing – they activate or arouse behaviors.
2) Directive – they guide behaviors toward satisfying specific goals or specific
3) Perseverance – they help people persist in their behavior until goals are
achieved or needs are satisfied
4) Strength – motives differ in strength, depending on internal and external
Humanistic psychology: viewing people as striving toward personal fulfillment.
Yerkes-Dodson Law Principle: performance increases with arousal up to an
optimal point and then decreases with increasing arousal.
Sigmund Freud proposed that drives are satisfied according to the Pleasure
Principle, which drives people to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Self-determination theory: people are motivated to satisfy needs for competence,
relatedness to others and autonomy, which is a sense of personal control.
- Extrinsic rewards may reduce the intrinsic value because such rewards
undermine people’s feeling that they are choosing to do something for
Self-perception theory: people seldom are aware of their specific motives and
instead draw inferences about their motivations according to what seems to make
the most sense.
>> The process of transcending immediate temptations to achieve long-term goals.
Walter Mischel’s experiment:
- Gave children the choice of waiting to receive their preferred toy or food item
or having a less preferred toy or food item right away.
- Some children are better at delaying gratification than others.
- The ability predicts success.
- Strategies included ignoring the temptation, distracting oneself, and turning
hot cognitions into cold cognitions (this strategy involves mentally
transforming the desired object into something undesired) Need to belong theory: the need for interpersonal attachments is a fundamental
motive that has evolved for adaptive purposes.
Scientific Method: Schachter’s study on anxiety and affiliation
Hypothesis: Feeling anxious makes people want to be with others.
1) The participants, all female, were told they would be hooked up to
equipment that would administer electric current to their skin.
2) Some participants were told the shocks would be painless. Others were told
the shocks would be quite painful.
3) All participants were then asked if, while the experiment was being set up,
they wanted to wait alone or with others.
Results: The participants who were told the shocks would be painful (the high-
anxiety condition) were much more likely to want to wait with others.
Conclusion: Increased anxiety led to increased motivation to be with others, at least
Social comparison theory: we are motivated to have accurate information about
ourselves and others. We compare ourselves with those around us to test and
validate personal beliefs and emotional responses, especially when the situation is
ambiguous and we can compare ourselves with people relatively similar to us.
Sensory-specific satiety: animals will stop eating relatively quickly if they have just
one type of food to eat, but they will eat more if presented with a different type of
The hypothalamus influences eating. Damaging the middle, or ventromedial region
of the hypothalamus (VMH) causes rats to eat great quantities of food, a condition
called hyperphagia. Damaging the outer, or lateral, area of the hypothalamus (LH)
is associated with a condition called aphagia, in which diminishing eating behavior
leads to weight loss and eventual death.
The prefrontal cortex processes taste cues such as sweetness and saltiness. This
prefrontal region appears to process information about the potential reward value
of food. Brain imaging studies have found that the craving triggered by seeing good-
tasting food is associated with activity in the limbic system, which is the main brain
region involved in reward. Overweight people show more activity in reward regions
of the brain when they look at good-tasting foods than do normal-weight
individuals. Damage to the limbic system or the right frontal lobes sometimes
produces gourmand syndrome, in which people become obsessed with fine food
and food preparation. Glucostatic theory: the bloodstream is monitored for its glucose levels. Because
glucose is the primary fuel for metabolism and is especially crucial for neuronal
activity, it makes sense for animals to be sensitive to deficiencies in glucose.
Lipostatic theory: a set-point for body fat in which deviations from the set-point
initiate compensatory behaviors to return to homeostasis. E.g. When an animal loses
body fat, hunger signals motivate eating and a return to the set-point.
Leptin, a hormone involved in fat regulation, is released from fat cells as more fat is
stored. It travels to the hypothalamus, where it acts to inhibit eating behavior.
Leptin acts slowly so it takes a considerable time after eating before leptin levels
change in the body. Therefore, leptin may be more important for long-term fat
regulation than for short-term eating control. However, some recent evidence
indicates that leptin might also influence the reward properties of food and make it
less appetizing, so leptin might also have short-term effects. Animals lacking the
gene necessary to produce leptin become extremely obese and injecting leptin into
them leads to rapid weight loss.
Ghrelin, another hormone, also effecting eating. It originates in the stomach and
surges before meals. It then decreases after people eat and so may play an
important role in triggering eating. When people lose weight, an increase in ghrelin
motivates additional eating in a homeostatic fashion.
The sexual response cycle:
1) Excitement phase – when people contemplate sexual activity or begin
engaging in behaviors such as kissing and touching in a sensual manner.
Blood flows to the genitals and people report feelings of arousal
2) Plateau phase – pulse rate, breathing and blood pressure increase.
Inhibition is lifted and passion takes control.
3) Orgasm phase – involuntary muscle contractions throughout the body,
dramatic increase in breathing and heart rate, rhythmic contractions of the
vagina for women and ejaculation of semen for men.
4) Resolution phase – the male enters a refractory period, during which he is
temporarily unable to maintain an erection or have an orgasm. The female
does not have this refractory period and can experience multiple orgasms
with short resolution phases between each one.
Testosterone drives sexual activity.
Oxytocin is released during sexual arousal and orgasm; it is also associated with
trust; it is believed to promote feelings of love and attachment between partners; it
also seems to be involved in social behavior more generally. The hypothalamus is
the most important brain region for stimulating sexual behavior and so damage to
this region can interrupt sexual behavior. Dopamine receptors in the limbic system are involved in the physical experience of
Serotonin reduces sexual interest.
Nitric oxide production comes from sexual stimulation. It promotes blood flow to
the penis and clitoris and subsequently plays an important role in sexual arousal,
especially penile erections. When this system fails, men cannot maintain an erection.
Viewing erotica activates reward regions in the brain, such as various limbic
structures. This effect is greatest for men who have higher blood levels of
testosterone. When men and women viewed sexually arousing stimuli, such as film
clips of sexual activity or nude pictures of the opposite sex, men showed more
activation of the amygdala, which increases the arousal by the stimulus. Even
though both sexes prefer viewing erotic movies aimed at their own sex, men were
aroused by both types of movies. Women’s reac