Motivation and emotion/Book/2010/Personality and motivation

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Personality and motivation

Overview[edit | edit source]

This chapter explains how personality theories relate to and affect motivation concepts. This introductory section explains the concepts of motivation and personality and key underlying questions.

Why do people behave the way they do? Why do some people choose to attend university? Why do some people play sport? Why do some people drink alcohol? According to motivational psychologists, people do such things because they are motivated to do so. There are many different reasons for such motivations and some of these will be discussed in this chapter.

But also consider, why do people vary in their motivations and behaviours? Why are people motivated towards different things? Whilst there are many possible answers to these questions, this chapter concentrates on the role of personality factors in understanding motivational and behavioural differences between people.

So what is motivation? Motivation definitions generally have two elements in common - that motivation provides a direction and energy to initiate and persist with behaviours in order to satisfy needs (Paulsen & Feldman, 1999, Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). To learn more, see What is motivation?

Now we know what motivation is, what is personality? Psychologists define personality as the characteristics and qualities that an individual displays, these characteristics influence the way people behave and is known as a psychological construct (Maltby, Day, Macaskill, 2007). Allport defined personality as ‘a dynamic organisation, inside the person, of psychophysical systems that create the persons’ characteristic patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings’ (Allport, 1961, p. 11). This definition means a process is continually changing in response to the environment and the experiences a person has. Personality is related to both the mind and the body and the characteristics are seen has being relatively stable over time and across different situations and indicate an individual’s general tendencies and predispositions (Major, Turner & Fletcher, 2006; Maltby et al.).

Personality is a widely studied area in psychology as it can influence so many aspects of an individual’s life. Due to this, over time many different personality theories have been developed and in this chapter we will cover the main theories relating to the trait perspective of personality and their relation to motivational concepts. There are other perspectives relating to personality but this chapter will mainly look at the trait perspective.

Every individual is different, their personalities differ and because of this people have different needs that need satisfying and therefore, behave in different ways. An example could be that you and your sibling grew up in the same environment with the same influences yet, you were motivated and felt the need to attend university but your sibling wanted to go straight into the workforce. A reason for this could be your different personality factors as the majority of your environment while growing up was very similar.

Focus questions
  • What is motivation?
  • What are the different theories of personality?
  • What are some of the motivational concepts research has shown to be affected by personality?

Motivational Concepts Relating to Personality[edit | edit source]

Self-determination Theory[edit | edit source]

Self-determination theory addresses the types of motivation that influence an individual towards goal related behaviour such as intrinsic, extrinsic and amotivation (Faye & Sharpe, 2008; Phillips, Abraham & Bond, 2003). This theory shows the multidimensional aspect of motivation on a continuum. It places influencing motivational aspects along this continuum ranging from amotivation, which is no motivation or a lack of motivation, to extrinsic motivation then intrinsic motivation (Faye & Sharpe; Phillips et al.). This theory identified four types of extrinsic motivation; external regulation (behaviour due to means external to the individual), introjection (behaviour influenced by both external environment and an internal reward or punishment), identification (behaviours influenced by individual's choice of what they see as important) and integration, as you move up the continuum from external regulation to integration an individual becomes less motivated by external rewards (Areepattamannil & Freeman, 2008; Faye & Sharpe). There are also three types of intrinsic motivation that have been identified; intrinsic motivation to know, intrinsic motivation toward accomplishment and intrinsic motivation toward stimulation (Faye & Sharpe).

Some related concepts to this theory surrounding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are:

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation[edit | edit source]

An example of an extrinsic motivator.

The main way people are motivated is by either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that comes from within a person (Hart, Stasson, Machony & Story, 2007). This type of motivation is due to enjoyment and the energy comes from the desire to master a task, explore something new and from something that sparks an individual’s interest (Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). While extrinsic motivation is when, an individual is motivated by the outcomes of completing a task (Prabhu, Sutton & Sauser, 2008, Tanaka, Mizuni, Fukuda, Tajima & Watanabe, 2009). An individual works towards a goal so they can attain something in the end such as a reward or compensation (Hart et al.; Young Sung & Nam Choi).

Leisure Motivation[edit | edit source]

Leisure motivation is the motivation to take part in leisure activities such as sports and exercise (Ying-Chao Lin, Shui-Lien Chen, Shih-Tse Wang, Ming-Sung Cheng, 2007). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators can influence the extent of participation in leisure motivation (Ying-Chao et al.).

Creative Motivation[edit | edit source]

Creative motivation is about how a person is motivated, either intrinsically or extrinsically to come up with novel, unique and original ideas (Prabhu et al.; 2008, Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). Personality is believed to be a strong influencing factor on creativity, with the type of motivation acting as a moderator or mediator between the two factors (Young Sung & Nam Choi). How individuals achieve the results of producing these ideas will depend on how they are motivated and the type of motivation will also allow for a strong or weak effect of personality on creativity (Prabhu et al.; Young Sung & Nam Choi).

Academic Motivation[edit | edit source]

Motivation towards academic achievement can be influenced by an individual's personality.

Academic motivation is how motivated an individual is towards academic achievement (Areepattamannil & Freeman, 2008). It is highly related to the self-determination theory as an individual’s motivational level towards achievement is influenced by whether they are motivated either intrinsically or extrinsically or not motivated at all (Areepattamannil & Freeman). If an individual is amotivated towards academic achievement then they will tend to drop out and not complete their studies and research has shown the more intrinsically motivated an individual is, the more likely they are to stay studying, have positive academic achievement, gain more enjoyment from their studies, have a greater learning and have higher self esteem (Areepattamannil & Freeman).

Another related concept is the motivation to learn, this is the want to participate in training and development tasks, to learn the content associated with training and to partake and enjoy the training experience (Major et al., 2006).

Goal Setting Theory[edit | edit source]

Goal-setting theory proposed by Locke and Latham suggests goals that are more difficult to attain and goals that are more specific, not an abstract such as I will do better, tend to motivate individuals more to achieve these goals, which in turn results in higher achievement (Erez & Judge, 2001; Locke & Latham, 2006). Reasons as to why there is increased motivation could be due to individuals being more committed and more competent at achieving the goal, also because when a high goal is set there is a large discrepancy between where an individual is currently at and where they would like to be, so this discrepancy causes the higher motivation to achieve the goal and finally reaching a higher set goal results in a greater feeling of success and this feeling can act as a motivator towards attainment of the goal (Locke & Latham). A related concept to the goal setting theory is goal orientations; these are the cognitive representations of goal setting that direct behaviour to specific goals (Steinmayr & Spinath, 2008). There are four main types of motivating goals that relate to goal orientations that can be associated with learning outcomes and therefore achievement, these are:

  • Learning goals: these show the desire to develop competence
  • Performance approach goals: motivation to show high competence
  • Performance avoidance goals: motivation to not show low competence
  • Work avoidance: showing as little motivation to work as possible

The more specific these goals the higher the motivation to learn and achieve and therefore, demonstrating a higher level of success (Steinmayr & Spinath).

Theory of Planned Behaviour[edit | edit source]

The theory of planned behaviour is a model of goal-specific cognitions; it predicts intention and believes intention is the most important influence on behaviour (Phillip et al., 2003). Motivational factors are predicted through the amount of intention an individual has, as this shows how hard an individual will work to reach their goals (Phillips et al.). Phillips et al. showed there are three things that may predict intentions these are:

  • Perceived behaviour control: this is a predictor of intentions because how likely an individual is of reaching their goal will determine the intention they have to pursue that goal. Perceived behaviour control affects goal achievement through an individual’s confidence level; if they are high in confidence then they are more likely to persist with reaching the goal.
  • Attitude: predicts intentions by an individual’s overall attitude towards the goal and the evaluation of the goal.
  • Subjective Norms: predicts intention by how much an individual believes others would like them to pursue the goal.

Motivational Strivings[edit | edit source]

Motivational intentions show a specific focus on an individual’s motivation towards their social needs (Barrick, Stewart & Piotrowski, 2002). There are three different motivational intentions each relating to a specific social need (Achievement, Affiliation and Intimacy and Power) as described by Reeve, 2009. Based on Barrick et al., the three motivational strivings are:

  • Communion Striving: the motivation to gain acceptance in personal relationships, such as friendship and intimate relationships and the motivation to effectively work with others in environments such as work and study.
  • Status Striving: this is the motivation towards gaining power and dominance within a hierarchy setting.
  • Accomplishment Striving: the motivation to achieve tasks.

Achievement Motivation[edit | edit source]

Personality can affect an individual's motivation towards achievement.

Achievement motivation is a social-psychological theory of motivation (Steinmayr & Spinath, 2008). This type of motivation falls under the category of social needs and is defined as the need to excel relative to a standard of excellence (Reeve, 2009). Situations that involve achievement can be divided into two main characteristics either approach or avoidance that in turn create feelings of hope for success or fear of failure (Steinmayr & Spinath). Cassidy and Lynn (1989), created a measure of achievement motivation and this is assessed through seven different dimensions; pursuit of excellence, work ethic, status aspiration, competitiveness, acquisitiveness, mastery and dominance. Hart et al., 2007, managed to reduce the number of dimensions assessing achievement motivation into a two-dimensional model where all the pervious dimensions fell into either extrinsic (status aspiration, competitiveness, acquisitiveness, dominance) or intrinsic (pursuit of excellence, work ethic, mastery) motivation.

Expectancy-Value Theory[edit | edit source]

The expectancy-value theory is related to achievement behaviour, there are two main concepts surrounding this theory, expectancies and values (Paulsen & Feldman, 1999; Steinmayr & Spinath, 2008). This theory states when an individual sees an academic task as having personal value to themselves and they expect they will succeed in completing the task then they will take on the task (Paulsen & Feldman). Expectancy is related to the probability of future success in a task and is believed to be influenced by an individual’s beliefs about their self-efficacy, internal control and ability to complete the task, while values relates to whether the task is of importance or value to the individual, it is influenced by both the task and personal characteristics such as personality and interest (Paulsen & Feldman; Steinmayr & Spinath).

Belief-Importance Theory[edit | edit source]

Belief importance theory is very similar to the expectancy value theory as there are two main components that imply the same thing; belief, the individual's belief they can reach a goal and importance, how important the goal is (Petrides, 2010). This theory relies heavily on the idea that personality traits have a strong influence on the beliefs in achieving goals and the importance of these goals to the individual, with the general motivation idea being the more an individual values and believes in themselves to achieve a goal the more time and effort they will put into reaching that goal (Petrides). According to Petrides this theory breaks down its four aspects of affect and motivation into quadrants and relates each aspect to a particular personality trait, the four aspects and their related personality traits are:

  • Hubris (excessive pride or presumption), related to trait emotional intelligence.
  • Motivation, related to conscientiousness.
  • Depression, related to neuroticism.
  • Apathy, related to introversion.

Self-Efficacy Theory[edit | edit source]

Self efficacy theory was proposed by Bandura, 1997, it refers to how much an individual believes they can complete and perform set tasks and goals (Ogilvie & Stewart, 2010, Prabhu et al., 2008). Being high in self efficacy means an individual believes they have the necessary skills to perform tasks to achieve their goals, whereas low self efficacy means an individual feels they cannot complete the tasks they need to (Paulsen & Feldman, 1999). Self efficacy has been shown to affect goal setting with individuals higher in self efficacy generally setting themselves higher goals to achieve (Phillips & Gully, 1997). An individual’s level of self efficacy can relate to the motivation they feel towards completing or beginning a task and the achievement of that task, this theory can help explain academic motivation (Ogilvie & Stewart).

Stop and Review Questions Box 1[edit | edit source]

Stop and Review

Answer these fill in the blank questions to test your understanding of the material covered so far.


  1. Motivation is a combination of ____________ and _____________ that initiates and persists behaviour.
  2. The characteristics and qualities an individual displays that can infulence their behaviour is know as ___________.
  3. The _____________ Theory defines three types of motivation; amotivation, extrinsic motvation and intrinsic motivation.
  4. __________ motivation is when an individual works towards a task for the rewards and outcomes they will receive when the task is complete.
  5. How an individual is motivated to come up with novel, unique and original ideas is know as _________ motivation.
  6. The goal setting theory states there are two main points to goal setting that will increase motivation and higher achievement, these are setting _________ and __________ goals.
  7. Achievement, power and affiliation and intimacy are all types of _______ needs.
  8. ___________ motivation is an individual's need to excel relative to a standard of excellence.
  9. If an individual believes they can achieve a goal and the goal is important to them according to the _______________ theory of motivation, they will generally take on that goal.
  10. How well an individual believes they can perform and complete a task is know as ___________.

Different Theories of Personality and How They Affect Motivational Concepts[edit | edit source]

Five Factor Model and Motivation[edit | edit source]

The most researched theory of personality is the five factor model, this model has been shown to be related to many motivational concepts such as the influencing factors of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, motivation to learn, creative motivation, goal directed motivation, performance motivation and motivation towards social needs. All of these will be explored in this section but first we will begin with learning and understanding what the five factor model of personality is.

The five factor model is a trait perspective used to describe personality, the idea that there is the possibly for five major factors that make up an individual’s personality is well supported by psychologists and research (Maltby et al., 2007). Costa and McCrae, 1992 described the five factors of personality as extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness to experience, and each of these factors contains six different facets that contribute to the major factor (Major et al., 2006). Each of these factors are believed to be expressed in every individual and each factor is part of its own continuum for example at one end is extraversion and at the other end is introversion but what makes every person’s personality different is where each person sits on this continuum (Major et al.).

Extraversion is how much an individual likes to interact with the environment, people high in extraversion are more likely to seek stimulation, they are energetic, outgoing, sociable, they like large groups, excitement, they are assertive, talkative, active, adventurous, enthusiastic and positive (Barrick et al., 2002; Hart et al., 2007; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Major et al., 2006; Ying-Chao Lin et al., 2007; Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). The six facets of extraversion are warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity level, excitement seeking and positive emotions.

Neuroticism relates to how emotionally stable and adjustable an individual is; someone high in neuroticism will generally experience negative affects and are emotional, sad/depressed, anxious, angry, fearful, insecure, and stressful, while at the opposite end of the continuum is emotional stability and people high in this are generally confident and relaxed (Barrick et al.; 2002, Hart et al., 2007; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Major et al., 2006; Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). The six facets of neuroticism are anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness and vulnerability.

Conscientiousness relates to whether an individual follows social norms and participates in goal-directed behaviour, individuals high in conscientiousness are generally purposeful, responsible, organised, reliable, persistent, ambitious, self-disciplined, determined, achievement orientated, hardworking and they generally set clear goals (Barrick et al., 2002; Hart et al., 2007; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Major et al., 2006; Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). The six facets of conscientiousness are competence, orderliness, dutifulness, achievement-striving, self-discipline, deliberation.

Agreeableness is related to how cooperative an individual is to others, individuals high in agreeableness are generally kind, cooperative, trusting, unselfish, considerate, good natured and tolerant. They like to help people and do not like conflict with others, while someone low in this trait is generally manipulative and self-centred (Barrick et al., 2002; Hart et al., 2007; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Major et al., 2006; Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). The six facets of agreeableness are trust, morality, altruism, cooperation, modesty and sympathy.

The final trait is openness to experience and is related to the acceptance of new ideas, thoughts and experiences; individuals high on this trait are generally imaginative, curious, non-traditional, sensitive, broad-minded, flexible and creative (Barrick et al., 2002; Hart et al., 2007; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Major et al., 2006; Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). The six facets of openness to experience are imagination, artistic interests, emotionality, adventurousness, intellect and liberalism. This model is one of the most widely used and accepted models as it has been shown to generalise across populations and methods of measurement (Hart et al.; Major et al.).

Table Displaying the Five Factors of Personality and Their Associated Facets
Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness to Experience
warmth anxiety competence trust imagination
gregariousness anger orderliness morality artistic interests
assertiveness depression achievement-striving altruism emotionality
activity level self-consciousness self-displine cooperation adventurousness
excitement seeking impulsiveness deliberation modesty intellect
positive emotions vulnerability dutifulness sympathy liberalism

So now we understand the five factor model of personality, how does this relate to motivation? There has been a lot of research into this area to see exactly what personality’s affect on motivation is, with much of the research concentrating on the influencing factors of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A study conducted by Hart et al, 2007 researched the relationship between the five factor model personality traits and achievement motivation; they wanted to find out if you were scored as high in certain traits are you more likely to be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated towards achievement. In this study they found individuals influenced by high intrinsic achievement motivation (IAM) were high in conscientiousness, openness to experience and extraversion and agreeableness was negatively associated with extrinsic achievement motivation (EAM). There was also a positive relationship found between EAM and extraversion and EAM and conscientiousness. Implications of these findings are related to work and school settings, by understanding an individual’s personality, you may be able to understand how they are motivated which in turn could allow them greater achievement in those settings.

"Focus Box: Belle de Jour"

Brooke Magnanti, the real identiy of Belle de Jour.

Belle de Jour is the name of a London call girl. She wrote the book The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl that was based on a web blog about her life. This is an interesting focus point where personality could be a factor to motivation. Most individuals would believe they would never become a call girl so why do some people take on this line of work? In the case of Belle her original motivating factors were extrinsic including the need for a job and money after university. Although why choose being a call girl when there are so many other options for jobs? This is where personality could play a role, Belle could be high in extraversion and sensation seeking leading her to participate in risk taking behaviours. Also she may be low in agreeableness and high in openness to experience where she does not care what others think and is open to many ideas and experiences. These are just some of the ways personality could have an affect on motivating Belle to become a call girl. Can you think of other situations where personality may influence the motivation of individuals in situations that are out of the ordinary?

To learn more about Belle see here Bell de Jour Information and to read her blog Blog.}}

Research has shown personality can have an affect on an individual's motivation to learn (Major et al., 2006). Major et al. showed extraversion, openness to experience and conscientiousness to positively predict motivation to learn. The facets of activity level and positive emotions within extroversion; intellect and liberalism within openness to experience and competence, dutifulness and achievement striving within conscientiousness were all shown to have significant effects on motivation to learn. Understanding these relationhips is very important as the implications can affect children's learning, they can help teachers to maximise children's learning so they can achieve to the best of their ability in their own individual way (Major et al.).

Research conducted by Phillips et al., 2003, looked at the relationship between personalities five factor traits, types of motivation using the self determination theory and goal directed intentions using the theory of planned behaviour. Their study showed both openness to experience and conscientiousness were both predictors of intention towards goal directed thoughts, which in turn could lead to higher and more goal setting which according to the goal setting theory means individuals should achieve greater outcomes. They also showed that conscientiousness helps to maintain intentional goal directed thoughts especially through autonomous intrinsic motivation. So overall individuals who are high in conscientiousness and openness to experience tend to perform better because they have stronger intentions relating to goal setting and achievement.

Studies have investigated the relationship between the five factor model of personality and performance motivation which is made up of three main theories; goal-setting theory, value-expectancy theory and self-efficacy theory (Judge & Ilies, 2002). Results showed that neuroticism is negatively related to all three types of motivation and conscientiousness is positively related to all three. The other traits obtained inconsistent results with only weak correlations. These results show that being high in conscientiousness and low in neuroticism means an individual is more likely to be performance motivated through goal setting, expecting they can achieve the goals and having the belief behind this expectancy.

The relationship between personality and the motivation towards social needs/ strivings has shown individuals higher in extraversion are more likely to be motivated by status or power strivings while individuals higher in conscientiousness are more likely to be motivated by accomplishment or achievement strivings (Barrick et al., 2002). The results also showed that status striving is more motivational than accomplishment striving in performance at work, while agreeableness was positively related to communion strivings showing that individuals high in this trait are more motivated to get along with people at work rather than perform better (Barrick et al.).

Relationships between personality and creative motivation have also been found with the main finding being the relationship between extrinsic motivation and creative performance, extrinsic motivation affects the openness to experience trait and motivates individuals high in this towards high creative performance (Young Sung & Nam Choi, 2009). Finally another motivational aspect influenced by the five factors of personality is leisure motivation, which shows that extraversion is positively related towards leisure motivation, with most members of fitness centres being both highly extroverted and leisure motivated (Ying-Chao Lin et al., 2007).

From this section of the chapter you should be able to see how influential personality can be on motivation in particular towards achievement and high performance. An individual's personality makeup has influencing factors towards how they are motivated either intrinsically or extrinsically, this has implications towards teaching and learning aspects helping allow individuals to achieve the best they can. By understanding someone's personality we help them perform better by equipping them with the tools they respond best to and working with them in ways they find best. The majority of research in this area has shown that individuals high in conscientiousness and openness to experience and individuals slightly more extraverted (some studies) will be more likely to perform better on tasks and achieve more due to higher goal setting, more self-efficacy, having a higher expectancy to achieve the goals they set and being more intrinsically motivated. These are the main ways personality can affect motivation.

If you would like to see what you would score on each of the five factors scales try this short version of the IPIP-NEO test

IPIP-NEO Short Version

Locus of Control and Motivation[edit | edit source]

Individuals with an external locus of control believe nothing is in their control and this has been shown to be related to learned helplessness.

Another personality perspective is an individual’s locus of control, this theory of personality believes that people fall somewhere between having a external locus of control and internal locus of control on a continuum (Phillips & Gully, 1997). Locus of control is a measure of how much an individual believes that outcomes such as rewards and reinforcements are under their control or not (Earn, 1982, Phillips & Gully). Individuals that have an internal locus of control believe that the outcomes they receive are due to their own behaviour and abilities and that outcomes are completely under their control, they show perceived control of the task and environment which is related to the individual having greater self-efficacy(Earn, Phillips & Gully). Individuals who have an internal locus of control are more directive, confident and alert when trying to control the external environment (Ng, Sorensen & Eby, 2006). Individuals that have an external locus of control believe that outcomes are not under their own control but are due to powerful others such as God or fate, luck and other people, having an external locus of control has been shown to be related to learned helplessness and compliance (Earn, Phillips & Gully).

A study conducted by Earn (1982) researched the relationship between locus of control and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. They gave participants money rewards as an extrinsic motivator to complete a task and after this task was complete they asked some participants to remain to do another study where they would either be paid the same amount, a larger amount or no money and they also gave them different information as to why they were asked to stay. Increasing the extrinsic reward of pay increased intrinsic motivation in participants with an internal locus of control but decreased intrinsic motivation in participants with an external locus of control. This was due to participants with an internal locus of control concentrating on the competency rewards of their efforts, they believed they were getting increase extrinsic motivation due to their own competencies and efforts while participants with an external locus of control concentrated on the controlling factors and believed they were not asked to stay due to their competency but just because the researchers needed participants.

Another study researching the relationship between locus of control, goal setting and self-efficacy to predict individual performance was conducted by Phillip and Gully, 1997. The results showed if an individual has an internal locus of control then they will be more motivated to set and achieve goals with performance goal orientation and learning goal orientation being related to an internal locus of control. An internal locus of control is associated with the feeling of being in control of what you are doing, having this feeling can provide more motivation towards goal setting and the expectancy to complete the task and goal, this idea links into the theory of goal setting and the value-expectancy theory. Also internal locus of control was shown to be related to higher self-efficacy and having higher self-efficacy leads an individual to set higher goals, being more motivated to achieve these goals and therefore a higher performance. While having an external locus of control leads an individual towards wanting to avoid failure rather than achieve success and also makes an individual feel that because they have no real control over the outcome what is the point in trying so they lack the motivation to try and succeed.

Personality and achievement motivation has been explored so now we move to another related concept of personality and job motivation. Research has shown an internal locus of control to predict higher job motivation and greater effort towards work tasks (Ng et al., 2006). An individual with an internal locus of control believes they have more control over the external environment which increases the expectancy of hemselves achieving their goals, which then increases the motivation to reach the goals (Ng et al.). An internal locus of control is related to stronger internal motivation through higher goal setting (goal setting theory) and a stronger need for achievement (Ng et al.). An important basis of job motivation is perceived job opportunities, which comes from perceiving greater control over the environment, showing job motivation to be related to an internal locus of control (Ng et al.). Job motivation is indicated through internal motivation towards tasks, expectancy, instrumentality, job involvement, self-development, self-efficacy and psychological empowerment (Ng et al.). Results from a study examining the relationship between these variables of job motivation and locus of control found an internal locus of control was positively related to job motivation through these variables (Ng et al.). So having a high motivation to job performance is due to an internal locus of control as individuals with this type of control are higher in these variables (Ng et al.).

According to the research relating locus of control to motivation, having an internal locus of control is most beneficial as individuals with an internal locus of control are more likely to achieve more and and have higher job motivation due to having more intrinsic motivation.

If you would like to see what type of locus of control you have take this test Locus of Control Test and to see the scoring of this test see here Scoring

Eysenck's Theory of Personality and Motivation[edit | edit source]

Hans Eysenck who came up with a biological theory of personality.

Eysenck’s theory is based on three biological traits; extroversion, neuroticism and psychoticism (Acton, 2003). Eysenck’s theory explains personality through the functioning of an individual’s brain. It is based on how much arousal a person experiences and this would in turn influence how much a person would interact with the world around them (Acton).

Eysenck’s theory of personality consists of describing three main personality traits that every individual is believed to have extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism (Hagemann & Naumann, 2009). An individual’s differences in behaviour and personality are thought of by Eysenck to be due to a person’s brain functioning (Hagemann & Naumann). He identified two brain systems, one controls the cortical arousal that reacts to incoming stimuli, this is known as the reticular-cortical system and the other controls the response that individuals have to incoming emotional stimuli known as the reticular limbic system (Gilliland & Matthews, 1999). Therefore Eysenck believed that people with low cortical arousal were extraverted people, as they did not have a lot of stimulation so are motivated by this low arousal level to go and search for more stimulation to gain the level of arousal that is needed (Hagemann & Naumann). Whereas introverts are seen to have already high stimulation and arousal and therefore do not need to go looking for extra stimulation as their optimal level of arousal has already been met therefore they do not have as much motivation towards sensation seeking as extroverts (Hagemann & Naumann). The differences in the cortical arousal are thought to result from the functioning of the ascending reticular activating system and this system will react to all types of stimulation not just specific groups of stimulation (Hagemann & Naumann). The reticular limbic system relates to the neuroticism trait, the more emotional stimuli there is, then the more arousal a person will experience, and if the arousal is very high they are likely to be neurotic rather than emotionally stable (Gilliland & Matthews). Although it may be difficult to determine if an individual is neurotic or not as the difference may only be viewed in emotional or stressful times (Gilliland & Matthews). Psychoticism is the final trait that was proposed by Eysenck, it is less researched and therefore not as well understood but it may be linked to dopamine (Gilliland & Matthews), it is very similar to the neuroticism trait but it lacks the fear and anxiety that is associated with neuroticism, this trait is associated with hostility, nonconformity and impulsivity and is generally associated with individuals who are seen as antisocial (Acton).

The main way Eysenck’s theory of personality related to motivation is through the extraversion trait, as Eysenck believed extraverts did not have enough baseline stimulation so they are more motivated to seek more to gain their optimal level of arousal, due to this extroverts are associated more with risk taking behaviour and have a sensation seeking nature (Farley & Farley, 1967, Hagemann & Naumann, 2009). Psychoicism has been shown to be related to addictive behaviours through the levels of dopamine, these people are motivated towards the addiction as the dopamine levels in their bodies act as rewards and reinforcers which motivates the individual to increase the behaviour causing the addiction (Eysenck, 1997).

Temperament, Character and Sensation Seeking Traits and Motivation[edit | edit source]

The personality trait sensation seeking can lead to risk taking behaviour like base jumping

A study by Tanaka et al., 2009 examined the idea that personality falls under specific temperament and character traits and these traits affect how an individual is motivated towards academic achievement. The specific temperament traits were novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence and persistence, while the specific character traits were self-directedness, co-operativness and self-transcendence. The results showed a relationship between intrinsic motivation and persistence through a relation of intention to achieve. All the character traits were positively related to intrinsic academic motivation and a having a mature balance of these traits is essential for developing intrinsic motivation.

Finally a common personality trait that seems to be related to motivation is sensation seeking. Sensation-seeking is an individual’s tendency to seek exciting situations; this trait has been closely linked to Eysenck’s theory and the idea of impulsivity (Acton, 2003). The motivational component works similar to Eysenck’s idea that individuals high in sensation seeking are looking for more stimuli to arouse themselves to their optimal level; they like to search for new experiences and are more prone to risk taking behaviour which could lead to things such as addictions (Reeve, 2009). Zuckerman produced a sensation seeking scale to measure an individual’s level of sensation seeking behaviour, there are four sub-scales which are; thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition, boredom susceptibility (Barnett, 2006). Thrill and adventure seeking refers to the motivation to participate in thrill-seeking, adventurous or risky activities, experience seeking refers to the motivation to participate in experiences that seek arousal through the mind and senses, disinhibition refers to the motivation an individual feels to seek release in social ways such as drinking, partying, sex and gambling, finally boredom susceptibility refers to the motivation to avoid situations or experiences that are viewed as repetitive or routine and even avoid individuals who are seen as boring (Barnett, 2006). These scales help show the relationship between the personality trait of sensation seeking and the motivation they are most likely to experience.

To see your own score of sensation seeking on these factors try this test, SSS with scoring instructions

Stop and Review Questions Box 2[edit | edit source]

Stop and Review

Answer these fill in the blank questions to check your understanding of the material in this section

  1. According to the Five Factor Model of Personality there are five different traits that make up an individual's personality these are, __________, ____________, ___________, ____________, and ____________.
  2. Extraversion, openness to experience and conscientiosness are traits that positively predict an individual's _______________________.
  3. Individuals higher in ____________ are more likely to be motivated by status or power strivings while individuals higher in ______________ are more likely to be motivated by accomplishment or achievement strivings.
  4. In general individuals higher in openness to experience and conscientiousness are more likely to perform ___________ on tasks and achieve ________.
  5. Locus of control is a measure of how much control an individual feels they have over their environment. There are two types of control these are ___________ and ____________.
  6. An individual with an ____________ locus of control is more likely to have higher job motivation, be more intrinsically motiavted and have higher self-efficacy.
  7. Extraversion, neuroticism and psychotisim are all traits of ____________ biological based personality theory.
  8. ____________ is the main trait related to motivation, as Eysenck believed individuals high in this trait are more likely to be motivated to seek stimulation as they have __________ levels of arousal.
  9. The temperament trait, _____________ is related to intirnsic motivation through an intention to achieve.
  10. A trait that is associated with risk taking behaviour, experience seeking, disinhibition and bordem susceptibility is know as ______________.

Summary[edit | edit source]

An individual's personality is the characteristics and qualities they display that can influence their behaviour. Personality can affect the level of energy and the direction that energy is focused towards, in other words personality can affect motivation towards particular behaviours. Different theories of personality look at different ways personality affects an individual's motivation. The main theory of looking at this interaction is the five factor model of personality. This model of personality consists of five main traits; extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness to experience and believes every individual's personality is thought to be made up of these five traits just to varying degrees. These personality factors have been shown to affect the type of motivation, either intrinsic or extrinsic, creative motivation, motivation to learn, motivation towards social needs, performance motivation and goal directed motivation. Research has shown the main influencing traits of this personality model to be conscientiousness and openness to experience and to a small degree extraversion, with these traits being positively related to high goal setting, higher performance and achievement and a higher motivation to learn. While neuroticism has been shown to be negatively correlated to these aspects of motivation. These are the main influencing factors of the five factor model on personality.

Locus of control is another personality perspective, there are two types of control either internal, this is where the individual feels in control of their environment and feels they can change and influence it and external, where then individual believes they have no control over their environment and everything that happens is due to luck, chance, others or a higher power. Research shows that individuals with an internal locus of control tend to have greater intrinsic motivation, they set higher goals, work harder to achieve these goals, perform better and have higher job motivation and self-efficacy. This is generally because they believe they can achieve the goals they set and believe what they do makes a difference to the outcomes they receive. Whereas an individual with an external locus of control generally lacks motivation towards anything because they feel they have no control over what happens anyway.

Eysenck's theory of personality has a biological basis; he believes individual's personality is made up of three main traits, extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism. He showed extraversion is related to more motivational behaviours as extraverts have lower arousal levels than introverts so they are motivated to go out and interact with their environment to gain their own optimal level of arousal. This trait has been related to risk taking behaviour and a sensation seeking nature. Psychoticism has also been shown to be related to motivation and is thought to be related to dopamine. This trait can be related to addictive behaviours such as alcohol and drugs due to the dopamine providing rewards that reinforce the behaviour which in turn motivates the individual to continue the behaviour.

Finally temperament and character traits have been shown to be related to motivation. Research shows the temperament trait, persistence and character traits self-directedness, co-operativness and self-transcendence are all related to intrinsic motivation in terms of a need for achievement. Another trait relating to motivation is sensation seeking. Sensation seeking is an individual’s tendency to seek exciting situations and individuals high in this trait are generally looking for stimulation to increase their arousal level. This is a similar concept to Eysenck's theory. These individual's will generally take more risks and can possibly end up with addictions. These are the main ways personality can affect an individual's motivation.

Answers to Stop and Review[edit | edit source]

Box 1[edit | edit source]

  1. energy, direction
  2. personality
  3. self-determination
  4. extrinsic
  5. creative
  6. more difficult, more specific
  7. social
  8. achievement
  9. expectancy-value
  10. self-efficacy

Box 2[edit | edit source]

  1. extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience
  2. motivation to learn
  3. extraversion, conscientiousness
  4. better, more
  5. internal, external
  6. internal
  7. Eysenck
  8. Extraversion, low
  9. persistence
  10. sensation-seeking

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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