Motivation and emotion/Tutorials/Motivation, optimism, and self

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Tutorial 03: Motivation, optimism, and self

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This is the third tutorial for the Motivation and emotion unit of study.


  1. This is the last motivation tutorial - the following three tutorials focus more on emotion.
  2. This tutorial explores five motivation topics which extend on content covered in Lectures 05 and 06 and Reeve (2015) textbook chapters 5, and 8 to 10:
    1. intrinsic-extrinsic motivation and Deci and Ryan's taxonomy of motivation
    2. functionalist perspective on motivation using university student motivations as an example
    3. learned optimism
    4. self-tracking
  3. This tutorial also assists authors with content development of the book chapter by:
    1. live editing demonstration of Wikiversity in response to questions and examples
    2. journal database and citation search techniquesdemonstration and discussion, with an emphasis on use of Google Scholar

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation[edit]

  1. The intrinsic-extrinsic motivational distinction is widely recognised and accepted. However, it risks being overly simplistic. Discuss:
    1. What is intrinsic motivation (IM)?
    2. What is extrinsic motivation (EM)?
    3. What are some advantages of conceptualising motivation in this way?
      (e.g., simple, easy to understand and helps with research designs)
    4. What are some disadvantages of conceptualisating motivation in this way?
      (e.g., motivational sources are often complex and dynamic, involving aspects of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation)
    5. Deci and Ryan (2000)'s taxonomy of motivation (Figure 1) describes a motivational spectrum including amotivation, four types of extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation.
    6. What are each of the types motivation described by Deci and Ryan's taxonomy? Handout a blanked version of Deci and Ryan's taxonomy and facilitate the class to define, discuss, and generate examples for each of the components:
      1. Amotivation
      2. Extrinsic motivation
        1. External regulation
        2. Introjection
        3. Identification
        4. Integration
      3. Intrinsic motivation

Functionalist perspective on motivation[edit]

  1. Models of motivation considered so far don't really reflect two issues:
    1. People may perform the same behaviour but with different motivations.
    2. There is often more than one motivation (reason) why someone performs a behaviour.
  2. The functionalist perspective on motivation (Clary & Snyder, 1999) suggests that behaviour serves a variety of different functions (or goals) for different people and that the degree of match between a person's motivations and outcomes determines the person's level of satisfaction and continuance of the behaviour.
  3. For example, consider:
    1. "Why are you at university?" - or, more generally,
    2. “Why do students go to uni?”
  4. Develop a class mind-map of the main underlying motivation for attending university. Try to think and respond really honestly - why are students really at university? Answers are likely to cover a wide range of human motives, but as the mind-map develops, look for underlying themes and group similar motivations together. Past experience with this exercise and previous research with UC students has suggested that the motivations are likely to fall within these six categories:
    1. Career/Qualifications - for the degree, so I can get a better job etc.
    2. Self-Exploration/Learning - for the learning, curiousity, knowledge-seeking etc.
    3. Social Opportunities - to meet people, make and explore friendships, enjoy social environment
    4. Altruism - to become better able to help people, help society, help the planet etc.
    5. Social Pressure - expectations of family, friends, society etc.
    6. Rejection of Alternatives - better option than doing nothing, working etc. (Note: Factor analytic research by Neill (2008) has not found psychometric support for this factor, but it has for the other five factors).
  5. Complete the University Student Motivation survey (handout)
  6. Plot your motivation responses against the average results for University of Canberra students (as collected by the third year Survey research and design in psychology in 2008) - see handout (this also includes an overall satisfaction item).
  7. Note and discuss:
    1. Where do you differ notably in your motivational profile from the university average? Who has a notable discrepancy that they would like to share?
  8. According to a functionalist perspective (Clary & Snyder, 1999) on motivation (e.g., see volunteer motivation), a good match between motivations and outcomes leads to satisfaction and retention (or intention to continue), whereas motivations which are not matched by corresponding outcomes leads to low satisfaction and risk of drop-out:
    1. If a motivation factor was rated higher than its corresponding outcome, this is likely to contribute to dissatisfaction and risk of drop-out.
    2. If any outcome is rated higher than corresponding motivations, the experience of university is "over-delivering" in this area (i.e., you are getting more than expected) which may or may not contribute to satisfaction (depending on how valuable that outcome is to you).
  9. The take-home messages from the functional perspective on motivation is that:
    1. Motivations are multiple, complex, and motivational profiles differ between people
    2. The match between our motivations and outcomes predicts satisfaction which predicts our likelihood to continue.

Learned optimism[edit]

  1. Related to the personal control Reeve (2015) textbook chapter 10 and lecture topic; whilst the lecture and textbook reading focus on learned helplessness, here we turn our attention to learned optimism. Both these areas were developed by Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Define and discuss learned helplessness vs. learned optimism
  3. Complete the online version of the Learned Optimism test (Seligman, 1991) and note down your Total Good, Total Bad, and Hope sub-scale scores (48 items; takes approx. 15 mins)
  4. Invite students to plot their scores to create histograms on the whiteboard (or in a spreadsheet) for each of Total Good, Total Bad, and Hope scales, then:
    1. As a whole class, describe and discuss the overall pattern of results
    2. Permanence (Temporary vs. Permanent): e.g., a pessimistic view is that bad events are permanent and good events are temporary (opposite for optimism)
      1. PmB (Permanent Bad)
      2. PmG (Permanent Good)
    3. Pervasiveness (Specific vs. Universal - across time and space (situation)): e.g., a pessimistic view is that bad events are pervasive over time and situations and good events are specific to a particular time and place (opposite for optimism)
      1. PvB (Pervasive Bad)
      2. PvG (Pervasive Good)
    4. Hope (HoB) = PvB + PmB (i.e., Hope for Bad Events). Seligman indicates that this is the single most important score.
    5. Personalisation (Internal vs. External - locus of causality): e.g., a pessimistic view is that bad events are internally caused and good events are externally causes (opposite for optimism)
      1. PsB (Personalisation Bad)
      2. PsG (Personalisation Good)
    6. Total B (Bad) = PmB + PvB + PsB
      1. Low = Optimistic; High = Pessimistic
    7. Total G (Good) = PmG + PvG + PsG
      1. Low = Pessimistic; High = Optimistic
    8. Overall Optimism = G - B
      1. Low = Pessimistic; High = Optimistic
  5. Seligman's ABCDE solution (Adversity, Beliefs, Consequences, Disputation, Energisation):
    • A is for Adversity: When we encounter adversity, we react by thinking about it.
    • B is for Beliefs. Our thoughts rapidly congeal into beliefs.
    • C is for Consequences. These beliefs .... have consequences.
    • D is for Disputation. We find evidence against the negative beliefs, alternatives to our negative reasoning, and limit the implication of the beliefs. Seligman writes that "Much of the skill of dealing with setbacks ... consists of learning how to dispute your own first thoughts in reaction to a setback."
    • E is for Energisation. We feel energised after we've disputed our false, negative beliefs. Learned optimism on Wikipedia [1]


A mechanical pedometer.
A mood ring.
A personal biofeedback device.
  1. This topic relates to goal setting, feedback, and self-regulation.
  2. What is self-tracking? (Define and provide examples) (see Quantified Self
  3. Watch and discuss:
    1. The quantified self (Gary Wolf, TED@Cannes, 2010, 5 mins)
    2. The quantified self: Data gone wild? (PBS NewsHour, 2013, 5 mins)
  4. 21st century mobile applications are on the cusp of deploying a bewildering array of self-monitoring life data recording streams and analysis tools.
  5. What the potential benefits? (e.g., for trackable goals we can obtain a steady, relevant, valid data stream as feedback and thereby have access to powerful tool for facilitating change and growth)
  6. What are the potential problems? (e.g., does ST externalise the motivation?)
  7. What forms of self-tracking are you (or is someone you know) currently using?
  8. What have you discovered about yourself using self-tracking?
  9. What forms of self-tracking are you curious to try?

Book chapter development[edit]

Database searching[edit]

Class discussion and demonstration of journal article and citation database searching - what tips and ideas can we share for better searching?

  1. Google Scholar e.g., creativity emotion (search)
  2. Citation rates
  3. Related articles
  4. Author search
  5. Citation searching (with Google Scholar or Scopus)
  6. Linking to library full-text

Other possibly useful search strategies:

  1. Identify key journals
    1. Topic-specific e.g., Motivation and Emotion
    2. Major review journals and review articles - e.g., Annual Review of Psychology and 'review in title'
  2. Work from textbook content and citations - get these articles and follow their citations

Wiki editing[edit]

  1. Questions and answers (live editing demo)


  1. Clary, E. G., & Snyder, M. (1991). A functional analysis of altruism and prosocial behavior: The case of volunteerism. In M. Clark (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology: Vol 12. Pro-social behavior (pp. 119-148). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  2. Clary, E. G., Snyder, M., Ridge, R. D., Copeland, J., Stukas, A. A., Haugen, J., Miene, P. (1998). Understanding and assessing the motivations of volunteers: A functional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 516-530.
  3. Clary, E. G., & Snyder, M. (1999). The motivations to volunteer: Theoretical and practical considerations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, 156-159.
  4. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1020
  5. Seligman, M. E. P. (1991). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York: Knopf

See also