Motivation and emotion/Book/2018/Passion and motivation

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Passion and motivation:
What is the role of passion in motivation?

Overview[edit | edit source]

This chapter focuses on the role that passion has on our motivation and how much of an influence it is[awkward expression?]. Focusing on understanding theories behind motivation and passion and how they each influence one another in certain aspects of daily life; education, video games, sport and work[grammar?]. Hoping to give a new perspective and new insights that makes us question our own passion and how much of an influence it does have, especially when considering if you have an obsessive or harmonious level of passion when acting upon a task and whether or not having higher and more focused levels of passion predicts greater rewards and satisfaction[grammar?][Rewrite to improve clarity].

Theories on passion and motivation[edit | edit source]

"The concept of passion represents an important source of motivational energy." (Vallerand, Mageau, Elliot, Dumais, Demers & Rousseau, 2008, p. 374).

The theories behind our individual passion and motivation have a great influence on each other,[grammar?] our basic motivational needs as put forward by the self-determination theory; competence, relatedness and autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000) gives individuals their daily drive for achievement. By further adding a layer of passion whether being obsessive or harmonious, through the understanding of the dualistic model of passion (Vallerand et al, 2003), creating a greater desire to achieve[grammar?].

Self-determination theory[edit | edit source]

The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) proposed by Deci and Ryan (2000) puts forward the notion that humans have three basic psychological needs that give people a motivational drive, the three proposed needs being competence, relatedness and autonomy. According to Sheldon, Schüler and King (2011), the three basic needs of SDT stem from basic human features that have evolved and that the completion of each basic need would produce positive outcomes and rewards, thus allowing humans to maintain well-being. SDT can further influence our motivation to perform certain activities, as people try to satisfy their basic needs and find an engaging activity that fulfills this role, the more people will seek it out (Lalande et al, 2018). Furthermore, Deci and Ryan (2000) highlight how each basic need became an adaptive change needed for evolution[say what?]:

Competence[edit | edit source]

Competence is the motivational tendency for humans to want to expand and experience new and different challenges, fuelling the desire to learn and be able to adapt to changing circumstances. The need for competence is evident from a young age, evident in the development of basic motor skills such as learning to walk and playing with puzzles allowing for the development of advance coordination skills as we age[grammar?]. The basic need of competence allowed humans to adapt through evolution, whether through exploration of new areas or the development of basic skills that would become advantageous in survival (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

Figure 1. hunter gatherer[explain?].

Relatedness[edit | edit source]

Referring to the desire for humans as a social species to feel a sense of close connection to those important to us, as the need for belonging acts as a motivational cause to seek others forming stronger communities[grammar?]. Deci and Ryan (2000) hypothesis[spelling?] that the need for relatedness influenced the development of the hunter-gatherer society, where an increase in group members created a demand for more sustenance, thus an increase in sustenance allowed for the group to grow allowing for more members and the formation of a stronger social organization.

Autonomy[edit | edit source]

Figure 2. A lab rat experiment[explain?].

The ability for humans to be able to regulate their own behavior and act accordingly and independently within a society, by being able to process, refine and control their actions to prioritize their needs and satisfactions for self-maintenance[grammar?]. The need for self-regulation of our behaviors and actions allowed humans to act in accordance to their environment, however if humans were to lack self-regulation they would be more narrow-minded and focused solely on rewarding outcomes neglecting other needs. The single minded rewards approach is seen in Olds[grammar?] (1958) experiment (as cited in Deci & Ryan, 2000) where rats were conditioned to be given rewards based off electrical brain stimulation, maintaining the desire that they would be given rewards through stimulation the rats would become exhausted and starve by neglecting their needs due to lack of self regulation.

Dualistic model of passion[edit | edit source]

Vallerand et al (2003) proposed the dualistic model of passion, identifying two different types of passions; harmonious passion (HP) and obsessive passion (OP). Depending on the internalization of an activity to ones[grammar?] identity either HP or OP can be distinguished, activities to certain individuals may be so self-defining to an individual that it would shape their identity.

The dualistic model of passion suggests that there are two types of passion; harmonious passion and obsessive passion (Vallerand et al., 2003).

Harmonious passion[edit | edit source]

HP refers to the autonomous internalization of an activity into someones[grammar?] identity. This autonomous internalization occurs when the individual freely accepts this part of their life and is in harmony with other aspects of their identity and not occupying a significant portion, being able to freely engage in the activity, showing little to no conflict between aspects of their identity (Lalande et al, 2018). Individuals who have more HP aspects of their identity tend to have more positive outcomes and satisfaction when performing the activities (Fuster, Chamarro, Carbonell & Vallerand, 2014; Vallerand et al, 2003; Wang, Liu, Chye & Chatzisarantis, 2011).

Harmonious passion is a self-defining characteristic which is part of people's sense of who people are and not a state of mind (Vallerand et al., 2003).

Obsessive passion[edit | edit source]

Contrary to HP, OP is the forced internalization of an activity that pressures the individual to act upon[awkward expression?]. The individual may still be passionate about the activity, but its that passion that creates an uncontrollable urge that forces them to act on it, tending to ignore the other aspects of their life taking a lot more control and becoming a larger part of their identity, this may be due to the amount of excitement derived from the activity. Furthermore, OP tends to create negative impacts on the individuals[grammar?] life, due to the obsession forcing them to ignore other activities such as work or social life, and possibly losing the amount of enjoyment derived from the activity (Fuster et al 2014; Vallerand et al, 2003; Wang et al, 2011).

Flow theory[edit | edit source]

Originally proposed by Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi (1988) (as cited in Ullén et al, 2011)[grammar?] flow is defined as the state at which an individual is completely at ease during an activity, completely unaware of their surrounding and immersed within the activity. For an individual to enter a flow state they must acknowledge that the challenge and skills are balanced allowing for the individual to experience a subjective sense of control,[grammar?] when in a state of flow the individual may experience feelings of enjoyment, altered time and strong levels of competence (Ullén et al, 2011; Wang et al, 2011).

Influence of passion[edit | edit source]

Passion has the ability to influence our actions enough to create a drive that motivates us to perform tasks that have an impact on numerous aspect of our daily lives. HP and OP allows people to have a controlled or uncontrolled urged to perform activities that they are passionate about, whether its academic, entertainment, sport or work, the type of passion you have can greatly effect your enjoyment and motivation when engaging in the acts. The three basic psychological needs; competence, relatedness and autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000), are possible underlying factors that could subconsciously be influencing every individuals[grammar?] level of passion that they may have for different activities and needs, though only through understanding of ones[grammar?] desire can understanding be found[awkward expression?].

Education[edit | edit source]

Passion plays an integral role in education, acting as a driving influence to motivate students to take their academics more seriously, thus encouraging less burnout. Studies conducted (Saville, Bureau, Eckenrode & Maley, 2018; Stoeber, Childs, Hayward, & Feast, 2011) involving the levels of burnout experienced among university students in relation to the dualistic model of passion and how passion influenced the three aspects of academic engagement (vigor, dedication and absorption) and burnout (exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy). Both results from studies achieved similar results[awkward expression?], showing that both HP and OP resulted in lower levels of burnout in comparison to students with no-passion, displaying positive relationships with the three aspects of academic engagement. However, HP did show greater levels [missing something?] psychological stability and lower levels of burnout than students with OP, as OP only had a negative correlation with cynicism and inefficacy, showing positive levels of exhaustion. Therefore, the studies shows that students with higher levels of vigor, dedication and absorption, and who are more harmoniously passionate will tend to experience almost no burnout, thus increasing motivation to continue this level of dedication when compared to students who lack passion. This desire that the students exhibit could be attributed to the SDT need of competence (Deci & Ryan, 2000), fuelling the passion to attain and expand their knowledge for further adaption.

Social video games[edit | edit source]

The growing popularization of online gaming in a modern population has lead to shifts towards what one considers a social life,[grammar?] many escaping reality to find a social life on game mediums such as MMORPGs,[grammar?] this shift has also had influences on an individuals own identity, adopting the label as "gamers" or their own virtual gamer name as part of their identity (Fuster et al 2014; Wang et al, 2011). The need for socialization with other players online, in game immersive exploration, acquiring achievements through game objectives, and dissociation from reality were identified as main motivational drives for players to continue and return playing games (Fuster et al, 2014). These needs that gamers have for continuous return to the game could be attributed to the SDT where our basic psychological needs drive our actions (Deci & Ryan, 2000), and the use of an easier to access virtual world to satisfy these needs (Mills, Milyavskaya, Mettler, Heath & Derevensky, 2018). The studies conducted (Fuster et al 2014; Mills et el, 2018; Wang et al, 2011) into the role that HP and OP play in the motivation for players to continuously return and play video games found that players who exhibited levels of HP were more likely to have their SDT needs met (competence, relatedness and autonomy) and enter a flow sate than players with OP; becoming frustrated and the development of negative outcomes.

Figure 3. Luis Suarez celebrates his Gol to put Uruguay 1 - Netherlands 0. Displaying passion when celebrating a goal

Sports[edit | edit source]

Athletes who either develop HP or OP can both be seen as positive influences on their performance acting as a motivational force,[grammar?] the study conducted by Vallerand (2008) examined the effect passion had on their motivation for practice, showing that both HP and OP were catalysts for continuous behavior in high impact activity. However, OP was seen to have a greater impact on self-defeating behavior on an athletes[grammar?] mentality, as HP athletes were seen as more focused on skill-mastery[grammar?] thus avoiding that negative behavior. The path taken to focus more on skill-mastery in sport could be possibly due [missing something?] humans SDT needs, predominantly the need of competence (Deci & Ryan, 2000 ) acting as motivation for skill-mastery and passion fuelling that desire.

Work[edit | edit source]

Passion within the workplace can be identified as a strong desire to achieve work outcomes that promotes the success of the business through internal (helping colleagues and supporting leadership) and external (promoting and speaking positively about the organization),[grammar?] this passion can motivate colleagues to follow similar actions. Astakhova (2015) examines the relationship that HP and OP have with organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and whether passion in the workplace promotes the development of that behavior. OCB being the positive behavior an employee may exhibit within the workplace, that promotes a strong work environment and supporting task performance, an individual who is more engaged in an OCB role may display positive altruistic behaviors[grammar?]. The study (Astakhova, 2015) revealed that HP did have a positive relation to OCB but only up to a certain point, as higher levels of HP would slowly begin to decline, this could be due to the difficulty in being able to balance the demand of multiple roles, slowly losing interest. However, the article by De Clercq and Belausteguigoitia (2017) examined how transformational passionate leadership can decrease the negative effects of task conflict on job satisfaction,[grammar?] this decrease through leadership action can be a possible solution to supporting employees in an OCB role whose desire is declining due to task conflict through the inability to balance roles. The passion a manager can display for their employee can have a significant amount of impact on their motivation, which in turns creates greater levels of passion from the employees allowing for businesses to thrive.

Passion and goal setting[edit | edit source]

Figure 4. Flow chart representing goal setting motivation

As seen in Figure 4, the flow chart displays how people go about goal setting and achieving, highlighting Deci and Ryans[grammar?] (2000) SDT three basic psychological needs; competence, relatedness and autonomy as important factors in goal setting as the motivational drive. Passion however allows people to maintain their focus on the their goal pursuit as obsessive and harmonious passion influences our self-regulating need for satisfaction, allowing for a greater feeling of achievement if the goal is more passion driven.

Goal hindrance[edit | edit source]

The presence of alternate goals, that may seem easier to achieve and with less resources needing to be invested in achieving the goal may hinder individuals from attaining their focal goal (Bélanger, Lafrenière, Vallerand, Kruglanski, & King, 2013), the motivation behind the conflict of goals can be derived from humans basic psychological need for autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000)[grammar?]. Though as an evolved self-regulating species, humans will prioritize needs accordingly, however, the desire to achieve a goal quicker and easier may seem more appealing and produce quicker satisfaction at the lose of possible greater satisfaction. Therefore, the ability to have effective self regulation will produce effective goal-pursuits,[grammar?] techniques such as goal-shielding that allows an individual to self-regulate by exposing themselves to self-relevant goals.

Achieving goals[edit | edit source]

Two studies (Bélanger et al, 2013; Li, 2010) conducted on the role that passion plays in being able to successfully achieve goals focused on the role that HP and OP had on influencing goal outcome. Bélanger et al (2013) examined and discussed the effectiveness HP and OP each had on an individuals[grammar?] capacity to maintain a goal-pursuit, finding that maintaining a goal was easier when it was in conflict with other life domains as they were able to successfully suppress alternate goals[say what?][explain?]. The findings gave great support to the notion that being able to maintain a harmonious lifestyle with equal parts occupying ones[grammar?] identity would produce the greatest rate of success when in pursuit of a goal, whereas being obsessively passionate for a goal may become detrimental in achieving it as you may hinder yourself and ignore other alternate goals (e.g., gambling but trying to save money). Furthermore, the study conducted by Li (2010) examined how OP and HP influenced athletes in attaining their goals. The findings resulted in both HP and OP having positive effects on athletes as it motivated them to approach goals as a mastery and performance approach goals (the ability to master their tasks and develop their ability), highlighting the SDT basic needs for competence (Deci & Ryan, 2000) as athletes are constantly looking to improve their skills and be challenged.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The role that passion plays in influencing motivation can differ between individuals and activities,[grammar?] being able to understand that certain people will have differing levels of passion being either obsessive or harmonious if using the dualistic model of passion (Vallerand et al, 2003). Though through understanding of the literature, one can come to the conclusion that being able to maintain a more harmonious level of passion that doesn't allow for activities to control their identity and is autonomously internalized, acting freely without force, results in more positive outcomes that promote greater feelings of satisfaction among Deci and Ryans[grammar?] (2000) three basic needs; competence, relatedness and autonomy. Therefore, the role that passion plays in motivation is an important one, as it shapes and fuels our desire to continue to act harmonious by not letting ourselves become controlled by passion in our daily lives, allowing for individuals to strive and achieve their focal goals, thus resulting in a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction[grammar?][Rewrite to improve clarity].

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Astakhova, M. (2015). The Curvilinear Relationship between Work Passion and Organizational Citizenship Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 130, 361–374.

Bélanger, J., Lafrenière, M., Vallerand, R., Kruglanski, A., & King, L. (2013). When Passion Makes the Heart Grow Colder: The Role of Passion in Alternative Goal Suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 126–147.

De Clercq, D., & Belausteguigoitia, I. (2017). Overcoming the dark side of task conflict: Buffering roles of transformational leadership, tenacity, and passion for work. European Management Journal, 35, 78–90.

Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2000). The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268.

Fuster, H., Chamarro, A., Carbonell, X., & Vallerand, R. (2014). Relationship between passion and motivation for gaming in players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking, 17, 292–7.

Lalande, D., Vallerand, R., Lafrenière, M., Verner‐Filion, J., Laurent, F., ... Paquet, Y. (2018). Obsessive Passion: A Compensatory Response to Unsatisfied Needs. Journal of Personality, 85, 163–178.

Li, C. (2010). Predicting Subjective Vitality and Performance in Sports: The Role of Passion and Achievement Goals. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 110, 1029–1047.

Mills, D., Milyavskaya, M., Mettler, J., Heath, N., & Derevensky, J. (2018). How do passion for video games and needs frustration explain time spent gaming? British Journal of Social Psychology, 57, 461–481.

Saville, B., Bureau, A., Eckenrode, C., & Maley, M. (2018). Passion and Burnout in College Students. College Student Journal, 52(1), 105–117. Retrieved from

Sheldon, K., Schüler, J., & King, L. (2011). Wanting, Having, and Needing: Integrating Motive Disposition Theory and Self-Determination Theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1106–1123.

Stoeber, J., Childs, J., Hayward, J., & Feast, A. (2011). Passion and Motivation for Studying: Predicting Academic Engagement and Burnout in University Students. Educational Psychology, 31, 513–528.

Ullén, F., de Manzano, Ö., Almeida, R., Magnusson, P., Pedersen, N., Nakamura, J., … Madison, G. (2011). Proneness for psychological flow in everyday life: Associations with personality and intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 167–172.

Vallerand, R., Blanchard, C., Mageau, G., Koestner, R., Ratelle, C., Léonard, M., … Diener, E. (2003). Les Passions de l’Âme: On Obsessive and Harmonious Passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767.

Vallerand, R., Mageau, G., Elliot, A., Dumais, A., Demers, M., & Rousseau, F. (2008). Passion and performance attainment in sport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 9, 373–392.

Wang, C., Liu, W., Chye, S., & Chatzisarantis, N. (2011). Understanding motivation in internet gaming among Singaporean youth: The role of passion. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1179–1184.

External links[edit | edit source]