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Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 NOTES - Motivation

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PSYC 2230
Frank Marchese

CHAPTER 1: CONCEPTUALIZING AND MEASURING MOTIVATION & THE ROLE OF EVOLUTION IN MOTIVATION Introduction • The concept of motivation would seem best understood not as an on-again, off-again mechanism but rather as a constant flow of behaviour that can be directed in many different ways • This suggests that we should be more interested in how motivation is directed first toward one behaviour, then toward another than to try to analyze it as present or absent Angie’s Problem • From a motivational point of view, we can ask what produces the kinds of anxiety experiences that people like Angie have • Some people may have a genetic predisposition to develop certain kinds of disorders • Whether or not such a predisposition does get expressed often depends upon the kinds of experiences one has had • Learned factors play an important role in the development of many motives • The way in which we interpret events around us will also influence our motives • Some motives seem best explained biologically, others appear to be primarily learned, while still others are best viewed as cognitive in nature The Concept of Motivation • Motivation is the concept we use when we describe the forces acting on or within an organism to initiate and direct behaviour • Intense behaviors are considered to be the result of higher levels of motivation • A highly motivated behaviour will often be persistent even though the intensity of the behaviour may be low The Measurement of Motivation • As scientists, we almost never measure motivation directly • We manipulate some stimulus condition and then measure some behaviour in the form of a response • If we take food away from a rat for 48 hours, it is a form of deprivation • The deprivation is our stimulus change (S) and how fast the rat runs in the maze in order to get food is the response (R) CHAPTER 1 page 1 • Motivation can be inferred from the change in behaviour that occurred • We might label the inferred motivation state as hunger • An intervening variable is a concept developed by a researcher that serves to link a stimulus and a response and helps to relate the two • The concept of motivation serves to link the stimulus change (deprivation) to the behaviour change (increased speed of running) and provides one possible explanation for the relationship between the stimulus and response • The intervening nature of motivational processes is one reason motivation is difficult to study • A second difficultly stems from the temporary nature of motivation • Performance variable: how psychologists typically describe the temporary nature of motivation • When enough motivation is present, behaviour is performed • Motivation as a performance variable is often contrasted with learning, where more permanent changes in behaviour occur (although learning obviously also influences performance) Characteristics of Motivation • theorists differ in their views of motivation • one commonly held characteristic of motivation is its activating properties 1) Activation o Activation is the most easily seen in the production of behaviour o If no overt behaviour is observed, then the motivational level of the organism may be insufficient to trigger behaviour o While the occurrence of overt behaviour is generally taken as evidence for motivation, its evidence does not necessarily mean that no motivation is present o E.g. a rabbit that freezes when a predator appears o Overt behaviour is absent but indexes such as heart rate and adrenaline output is still high o We have to be very cautious in assuming a lack of motivation when no overt responding is apparent, perhaps we are simply not measuring the response or responses being activated o Some suggest that the activation of behaviour should not be a major concern of motivational analyses because organisms are continuously active CHAPTER 1 page 2 o These researchers propose that motivational analyses should examine the conditions that lead the organism to change from one activity to another-in other words the directionality of behaviour o A second characteristic often mentioned in regard to the activating properties of motivation is persistence o Hungry animals persist in their attempts to get foo o This index is not free of problems o How persistent a behaviour is at least in part depends on what alternative behaviours are available o If the monkey has other choices but to press the lever for food, maybe we would see a different reaction o But if all the monkey can do is press the lever, maybe that’s why we see it persisting to press it o Energetic behaviour is more motivated than hesitant behaviour o Rat that runs faster may also be more motivated o Vigor of responding is another characteristic associated with the presence of motivation o But they do not always mean high motivation o Maybe the rat has been taught to obtain food by pushing down on the level with a certain amount of force 2) Direction o Directionality is an index of motivational state o The direction that a behaviour take sis usually obvious, e.g. going to the fridge when you are hungry o However when several choices are possible, it is not always so clear o E.g. there are two bottles each with different concentrations of sugar and water: which one would the rat prefer? o We find this out by running a preference test o In some situations, preference testing is the best way to determine which of several alternatives is most motivating because indexes such as persistence or vigor may not dictate differences CHAPTER 1 page 3 The Study of Motivation: Categories of Analysis 1) Nomothetic vs. Idiographic o Nomothetic approach involves the development of general universal laws  Research of this type studies groups of people or animals and determines how they are similar  E.g. identifying brain structures such as the hypothalamus that are involved in motivation is nomothetic because research has shown that the hypothalamus is involved in motivation not only in a single rat but also in rats in general and people as well o Idiographic approach proposes that we can understand behaviour b looking at how people differ from each other  By examining those properties that make each person unique  The idiographic approach is most clearly seen in the humanist and actualization theorists 2) Innate vs. Acquired o Early theorists such as McDougall saw motivation as primarily controlled by innate motives they termed instincts o Innate are automatic and acquired is learned 3) Internal vs. External o Needs are usually viewed as internal sources of motivation that activate and direct behaviour to items in the environment that alleviate some state of deprivation o In this context, needs are often couched in physiological terms (e.g. the need for food and water or avoidance of pain) o External sources of motivation are provided by goals (goal objects or social relationships) 4) Mechanistic vs. Cognitive o Some theorists argue that movies such as hunger, thirst, and sex are trigged automatically by changes in factors such as blood sugar level, fluid balance, and hormonal concentrations o Learned motives may also generate behaviour outside of awareness o The mechanistic approach assumes that changes in specific factors activate circuits that in turn motivate the organism to engage in behaviour o Neither conscious awareness nor intent on the art of the organism is assumed CHAPTER 1 page 4 o Researchers who embrace the mechanistic view are often interested in internal need states and innate patterns of behaviour o The cognitive approach assumes that the manner in which information is interpreted influences motive states  More often interested in externally motivates states  E.g. attributing failure of a task to its difficultly is likely to have a different influence on future motivation than attributing failure to lack of ability • At this time, no one approach is better than the other in explaining motivation in its entirety • Depending on the motive studies, the best explanation may be nomothetic or ideographic, innate or acquired, internal or external, mechanistic or cognitive, or some combination of these Levels of Analysis 1) Physiological Analysis o Physiological analyses of motivation have been conducted using both humans and animals, research with animals is the most prevalent o This level of analysis is concerned with the brain’s control of motivated states o Researchers are interested in the various brain structures involved in the triggering of motivation, the way in which motivationally important information is processed by groups of cells, and the neurotransmitters within the brain that are involved in the alteration of motivation states o Studies of the role of the nervous system often require electrical, chemical, or surgical manipulation of carefully mapped areas o Thin wires called electrodes (in a study by James Old & Peter Milner) were introduced into various parts of a rat’s brain o The rats with electrodes implanted in the septal region would press the lever many hundreds of times per hour in order to receive this weak electrical current o The electrical stimulation would have to be judged as a powerful reward o When the current was turned off, bar pressing quickly ceased o Direct manipulation of the brain by electrical stimulation has shown us that brain circuits exist that may be active when reward occurs o Circuits that appear to have a punishing effect on behaviour has also been noted o Researchers can also study motivation by chemical stimulating the brain after inserting a minute tube (called a canula) into a specific brain region, injecting a solution, and noting how motivation changes as a result CHAPTER 1 page 5 o Researchers sometimes create a lesion within the brain by removing some portion of it and observing whether or not motivation is altered o Feeding, drinking, sexual arousal, rear, and aggression can be altered by manipulation of specific brain areas o It is possible to record the brains natural electrical activity during various motivated states o The general activity of large groups of brain cells (called neurons) can be recorded by an EEG (electroencephalograph) while small groups of cells and even single neurons can be recorded through the use of depth electrodes o Position-emission tomography (PET SCANS) measures the metabolic activity of different brain regions o magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enables one to visualize areas of the brain o fMRI allows one to both visualize the brain and detect differences in metabolism o data gathered by all of these techniques should be consistent 2) Individual Analysis o The study of motivation at the level of the individual involves research aimed at understanding motivational changes that occur to a person as a result of internal or external conditions o Analysis at this level occurs about equally often in animal and human research o In animal research deprivation is often used to alter the motivational state of the organism (e.g. depriving a rate of food) o In research conducted with humans, researchers may attempt to include a motivational state through specific instructions o In some achievement studies, for example, researchers stimulated the need for achieving by telling the participants they had failed an important task o Most research of this type is done with groups o Bandura showed a group of children in which an adult attacked a Bobo dolls in many different ways o Results of the experiments showed that the live model’s behaviour was imitated more than the filed/cartoon version o The children not only modeled the observed aggressive behaviours but they also performed many aggressive behaviours of their own o The group that had observed the nonaggressive model showed little aggressive behaviour CHAPTER 1 page 6 o Some motivated behaviours are learned through observations o Therefore if our parents or peers behave aggressively, we will learn to behave this way as well 3) Social Analysis o Psychologists tell us that our behaviours are considerably influenced by both situational factors (such as whether were are in the classroom or at a party) and by the presence of others o Solomon Asch showed that approximately 80% of the participants he tested confirmed to a group decision at least once even through the decision was clearly wrong o Studies have confirmed that the level of conformity shown by people has not change much today o These participants expressed a strong desire to conform o Motivation may be analyzed at the level of groups o Groups can influence our motives 4) Philosophical Analysis o Theorists sometimes view motivation in a negative way, they see the presence of motivation as an aversive state that behaviour seeks to overcome o According to Freud, motivational states create a condition of tension that the person then wants to reduce o He thought that individuals have little control over the innate conditions that generate this tension and as a result, the ego must control behaviour to keep the tension low within the id o Unlike Freud, who regarded our behaviour as the result of strong inner forces of which we are largely unaware, theorists such as Rogers and Maslow have proposed that our behaviour is directed toward self-actualization o Motivation, from this point of view, is a positive state pushing the individual to become all that she or he can become o We regard the approaches of both Freud and the humanistic as examples of philosophical analysis because: CHAPTER 1 page 7 a) The descriptions of motivation and its effects depend upon the theorists’ philosophy (humans are basically evil vs. humans are basically good) b) The theories are couched in terms that make them difficult to test experimentally Analysis of Angie’s Problem • Why does Angie have anxiety? • At the physiological level, Angie may have a genetic predisposition to be anxious  This may be due to a sensitivity to arousing stimulation or perhaps an overactive sympathetic nervous system  It is also possible that she may have an imbalance of neurotransmitters that increase her potential to become anxious • At the individual level of analysis, we might investigate the possibility that some aspects of her anxiety are learned  Perhaps sometimes in school Angie was embarrassed by a teacher after making a presentation  We would attempt to discover what conditions motivate her feel to be anxious • At the social level, we might examine Angie’s family life more closely  Perhaps her mother always expected a lot from her children but was also very critical of their behaviour  Perhaps she had a brother or sister who was outstanding in everything they did • From a philosophical point of view such as Freud, Angie’s problem might be viewed as a result of pent-up sexual desire  If any type of sexuality is frowned upon in her family, then her normal sexual drives might become locked up in the id  In this analysis, the anxiety she feels in performance situations could be due to her conflict between desire and conformity to the rules of her family • The humanist psychologists might see Angie’s problem as the result of a lack of positive regard  If her parent’s led her to believe she was loved only when she behaved correctly (conditional positive regard), then her tendency toward grow and full functioning would become stunted CHAPTER 1 page 8  Angie would try to channel energy normally used for this growth into defenses to protect her self-image, but the anxiety might still appear in highly stressful situations such as when she must give a presentation to the class Major Constructs in Motivation 1) Energy • Many of the theories discussed in this book assume the existence of some source of energy that drives behaviour • Some theorists have proposed that just one source of energy exists for all behaviour, that the energy behind behaviour is general  Require the existence of some additional mechanism that can direct this energy in different ways at different times • Other researchers have proposed that the force behind particular behaviours is specific  The energy-activated behaviour can also serve a directing function because each behaviour has its own energy source  E.g. during hunger, food getting behaviour would be activated and directed, while water-directed behaviours would occur during thirst • Several theorists have proposed that an energy concept is unnecessary and that one can understand the motivation of behaviour without having to assume some energy existing behind behaviour 2) Physiological Mechanisms • One general approach has been to assume that some motivational mechanisms are genetically programmed or “wired in” to the organism • This biological approach has usually taken one of two forms: i. The instinct approach proposes that energy accumulates within the organism and leads to a motivated state, preprogrammed behaviours then occur to reduce the motivation  The triggering of these wired-in behaviours is usually attributed to specific stimuli in the environment that have the effect of releasing the behaviour  Evolutionary psychology has examined motivated behaviours of humans as adaptations to environmental conditions that existed many years ago  These adaptations then bias us to respond in particular ways to the conditions of our environment ii. The second biological approach proposes that circuits within the brain monitor the state of the body and activate behaviours when changes are detected CHAPTER 1 page 9  The activation of these circuits then leads to the motivation of responses, which may be either innate or learned  E.g. theory of hunger motivation proposed that specialized detectors measured changes in blood glucose and triggered hunger motivation when glucose levels dropped 3) Learning • Clark Hull developed a theory to outline the interrelationships of learning and motivation in generating behaviour • Spence stressed the role of incentives in controlling goal-directed behaviour • Classical and operant conditioning may be involved in the development of motive states • Some motives seem to be learned through observation, termed modeling 4) Social Interaction • Power of the group may motivate us to conform and the power of authority figures in motivating us to obey • Presence of others reduces the likelihood than an individual with provide help in an emergency situation 5) Cognitive Processes • The kinds of information we take in and the ways that information is processed have important influences on our behaviour • Theories such as Heider’s balance theory, Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, and Bem’s self-perception theory emphasis the role of active information processing (i.e. thinking) in the control of behaviour 6) The Activation of Motivation • Researchers have investigated the mechanism that monitor the state of the organism and that trigger motivation when the body is out of balance • Early theories emphasized the role of peripheral (local) receptors in the monitoring of physical states • Thus a dry mouth indicates we are thirsty for example CHAPTER 1 page 10 • As evidence against the local theories accumulated, emphasis shifted to central receptors in the brain that monitor conditions such as blood glucose, which might rigger motivational states • One current proposal looks at the interaction of peripheral cues (e.g. hormone) AND central receptor sites working together to regulate behaviour (in this case, eating) 7) Homeostasis • The most commonly accepted purpose regarding motivation is to maintain homeostasis (an optimal level for various states of the body) • When the body deviates too far from this level, motivational circuits are triggered by the receptors monitoring these states, and behaviours that will bring the body back to its optimal level are begun 8) Hedonism • The oldest explanation for the purpose of motivated behaviour is the idea of hedonism, which assumes that we are motivated by pleasure and pain • We learn to approach situations that are pleasurable and learn to avoid situations that are painful • Hedonistic explanations propose that pleasure and pain exist along a continuum and that what is pleasurable will change as conditions change • Hedonism may explain some motive states, it does not provide a satisfactory explanation for motivations that result in self-destruction or self-painful behaviours 9) Growth Motivation • Growth motivation stressed the idea that humans are motivated to reach their full potential-physically, psychologically, and emotionally • Rogers discusses this growth motivated in relation to the fully functioning individual, while Maslow uses the term self-actualization to describe the motivation to strive for personal fulfillment • effectance motivation/personal causation is one aspect of growth motivation is the need to control or have an effect on our environment called • All growth motivation theories suggest that humans are strongly motivated to test and improve their strategies CHAPTER 1 page 11 Philosophical and Physiological Roots of Motivational Theory • Modern psychology is the product of philosophical thought that can be traced back to Greek philosophers such as Aristotle • The study of motivation is a complex blend of philosophical and phy
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