Concept of drive: Introduced originally by Freud and Woodforth in
early 1900s and replaced concept of instinct. Drive refers to an
energized state arising out of need that propels organisms toward a
goal that satisfies the need and reduces the drive.
Drive: Arises out of specific need.
Drive is channeled into general increase(arousal) in behaviour that
brings organism into contact with objects that may satisfy need
Drive induces responses that reduce need and drive(Drive Reduction
Theory of reinforcement)
Responses that lead to drive reduction are learned modes of conduct.
Early formulations: Freud in early 1900s used (defined) drive concept
(Trieb) as a moving force; as energy that arouses organism and
Drive(D) as psychic energy that accumulates in the personality
structure of the ID. Pressure builds and requires release.
Why this reduction in energy? Energy beyond a certain point is
unpleasant since organism governed by ―principle of constancy.‖
-Reduce excitation in nervous system this is pleasurable. Increase in
excitation is unpleasurable, if past a certain extent.( However
excitation can also be pleasurable)
3. Freud said moving force( drive) has four characteristics:
A. Pressure is strength of force and stronger the force the more
C. Object of moving force may be internal or external to individual.
Object may change in course of life but moving force remains the
same. Fixation of an object or restricted range of objects may occur.
D. Source of moving force is the need (bodily deficit from which too
much excitation- hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc., arises).
E. Freud’s model: Need--- Psychic D Energy---B—goal---Satisfaction
through need and drive reduction.
4. Two classes of moving forces: Life and death.
Life force: Psychic energy that powers it is Eros. Life force consists of
reproductive, sexual and life affirming functions. Libido is name of
sexual force. Before puberty libido is separated into different stages(
psycho-sexual) representing different zones of body. At puberty and
after, the separate stages are fused into one: Genital and libido shifts
to interactions that reproduce and affirm life. Yet, trauma may lead to
displacement of libido onto inappropriate objects and fixation at
earlier, immature stages of psychosexual development. Death force: Psychic energy that powers it, is called Thanatos. Here
the drive is to reduce energy to zero. Aggressive behaviour is an
indication of death force( being aggressive can lead to destructive
actions/ behaviours) and is a compromise between life and death
forces locked in perpetual conflict.
Forces throughout life do not change. What changes, is the expression
and objects of those forces.
A force may be reversed: that is the aim is altered from active(
inflicting pain-sadism) to passive(receiving pain-masochism)
A force may turn round: the object changes from others(sadism) to
A force may be repressed or resisted to the point that it is not
recognized, as in being contained in the unconscious.
The energy of force is gotten-rid of, rather it is expressed in
Since forces may undergo modifications of expression, there is not a
one-to-one correspondence between behaviours and the motives
underlying them. Yet, some displacements may be beneficial, such as
channeling forces into creative endeavours or altruistic patterns.
5. Criticisms of Freud’s Theory:
a. Theory is empirically weak; relies on clinical evidence and
b. Theory makes for a number of possible interpretations of same
c. Theory cannot predict behaviour- theory explains behaviour after
the fact and cannot predict behaviour
6. Drive revisited:
a. Drive is motivational construct associated with concept of
homeostasis: When there is imbalance, organism is motivated to take
action to correct imbalance. Drive is seen as tied to bodily needs.
Organic deficiency or excess motivates organism to bring body back
b. Drive concept also necessary because some needs exist without
activating drive, and some drives exist even though no need exists in
the sense that the absence of fulfillment is life threatening
c. Finally, all drives energize behaviour—the presence of a drive
causes the organism to do something, and behaviour that reduces
needs reduce the drive (organism becomes inactive) >Homeostasis.
7. Drive revived: i) Drive replaced instincts approaches to motivation.
ii) Drive, like instinct concept is biologically based.
iii) Drive, unlike instinct concept, had identifiable physiological basis.
E.g. Canon(1920s) said that hunger drive results from dry mouth.
However, researchers showed that removal of stomach and organism
still hungry, and let organism drink and have water removed and
organism still thirsty. Thus, the search for central determinants of
drive, such as the role of hypothalamus, and other brain structures, in
iv. Richter’s work showed that there is a correlation between drive
and activity. Working with sex hormones, he showed a predictable
relationship oestrus cycle(controlled by hormones) and increased
activity levels. This relationship held for hunger and thirst as well.
Operating from an evolutionary perspective, Richter hypothesized that
organisms that became active in a drive state would more likely
survive than those who remained inactive.
v. Warden’s work : Examin