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Crystal Clear app kfm home.png This user is a participant in the Motivation and emotion unit, 2010.
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Hi, my name is Anita. The areas of motivation and emotion that interest me are: physiological and psychological drives, hunger and satiety, the effects of drugs on the body and behaviour, and procrastination. I am also interested in finding out about the drive behind risk-taking behaviour.


E-Portfolio 1[edit]


Motivation and Emotion Scrabble

The lecture for the first week focused on introductions. We were introduced to the lecturer and to the field of motivation and emotion. It was interesting to hear that understanding why people behave as they do was deeply rooted in the foundation of psychology’s onset. Therefore, understanding motivation instigated the field of psychology. However, the lecturer expressed the need to study emotion with equal vigour to motivation, as in the past, the study of emotion had been overshadowed by a focus on motivation. The unit has, therefore, been divided into two parts. For the first term we will be studying motivation and the second term we will be studying emotions.

The lecturer also discussed assessment criteria and Wikiversity. Wikiversity is a free, internet based, educational forum, open to all . If a textbook specific to motivation and emotion can be developed for future students to use via wikiversity, it means that students will not have to pay for a set textbook. What a great idea!

In regards to assessment one, it is exciting to be part of creating an open textbook chapter in a collaborative atmosphere on wikiversity. The idea of having onlookers who may provide productive feedback as the textbook chapter develops is interesting, yet provokes a little anxiety, as to how other people will respond to the developing chapter. I feel this resonates closely with the theory of social facilitation, which states that people perform better when they sense a passive audience (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2010). It will be interesting to see its effect on my own performance.

It appears that all assessments for this unit have been designed for collaborative viewing and sharing of thoughts and ideas using the internet. The assessments for this unit differ from the traditional essay and exam assessment methods predominantly used in other units.

Readings: Chapter one: Introduction (Reeve, 2009)[edit]


Chapter one sets out the basis for studying the topic of motivation and emotion. Motivation is the subjective drive, which cannot be known unless it is observed either by sight or through expression. Motivation is therefore evident via a person‘s behaviour.

In order to study motivation one must first understand what causes behaviour and why behaviour changes in its intensity. The study of these two questions has come to be known as the two perennial questions. In trying to understand the question of what causes behaviour five other questions need to be considered. What initiates behaviour? What sustains behaviour? What directs behaviour toward certain goals? What causes behaviour to change? and finally what causes behaviour to stop?

A person’s behaviour may indicate whether or not they are motivated to approach or avoid certain goals or outcomes. Motivational approach and avoidance tendencies were deemed necessary for adaptive purposes. People move toward that which they like and consider beneficial whilst they move away from that which causes pain or discomfort. This then enables a person to change their environment for the better and provides a sense of mastery.

However, this concept does not explain why people deliberately set out to cause themselves harm through risk-taking, self-sabotage or self-harm. Nor does it explain why people avoid certain things that may be in their best interest. Therefore, it should be thought that ideally motivation has adaptive value.

Chapter two: Motivation in historical and contemporary perspectives (Reeve, 2009)[edit]

Grand Theories[edit]

Chapter two outlined the three grand theories of will: deciding, striving and resisting, instinct: inherent bodily reflexes and drive: urge to rebalance homeostasis, used in psychology prior to the 1950’s and 1960’s. However, it became evident that grand theories, using singular ideologies to explain the entirety of motivation, was not adequate for such a complex field of study. The 1960’s and 1970’s gave rise to mini theories such as Achievement motivation theory (Atkinson, 1964 cited in Reeve, 2009), Attributional theory of achievement motivation (Weiner, 1972 cited in Reeve, 2009) and Intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1975 cited in Reeve, 2009). Mini theories, a focus on a particular phenomena of motivation, in turn, caused a steady decline in study of motivation. Cognitive psychology then became the prominent field of study.

In order to understand such a complex phenomena like motivation one must use an eclectic array of theories. Motivation cannot be explained by a singular theory. For example, McDougall stated that without instincts a person would not move. That was a rather strong assertion to make. However instinct actually developed interrelatedly with intelligence (Normark, 2009). Therefore, using a grand theory is quite limiting, as was critiqued in McDougall’s instinct theory. Instead, using many leading theories provide greater coverage and better understanding of a particular topic.


Drive theory. (2010). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 10 August, 2010, from

Neill, J. (2010). Unit 7124 Motivation and emotion, lecture 1, week 1: Introduction [Lecture PowerPoint slide] Retrieved from

Normark, J. (2009). Bergsonian consciousness - instinct, intelligence and intuition. Retrieved from

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

E-Portfolio 2[edit]


We started the tutorial with introductory activities. First, we were asked to compare thumb sizes. From that activity we learnt that thumb size had a strong correlation with height. I had the smallest thumb and I was the shortest person in the tutorial. Then we formed groups representing our favourite take-away meals. It appeared the majority of people enjoyed pizza. Finally, we formed groups representing the political parties voted for in the recent election. Most students in the class voted labour, and the least amount of students voted liberal. These introductory activities were good ice-breakers.

We then formed groups of 3 - 5 students. Ideally, we were encouraged to form groups of 4 students. We were then asked to come up with a group name. Unfortunately, the groups did not create group names, so the groups were given successive numbers. Our group was called #6. I would have suggested ARRM as the group name. ARRM is an acronym of the initials of our first names combined and this could have been our logo.


Definitions of Motivation and Emotion[edit]


The groups then had to define motivation and define emotion. Our group, as with most other groups, found defining motivation quite easy compared to defining emotion. I defined motivation as: the subjective drive that directs a behaviour toward a certain goal or outcome. Reeve (2009) defined motivation as “those processes that give behavior its energy and direction, pg. 8.” For his textbook, Deckers (2005) used Arthur Schopenhauer’s (1841) definition of motivation as: “to be moved into action, pg. 2.” Deckers (2005) also noted that Atkinson (1958|1983) and McClelland (1987) postulated that motivation was: a person’s internal disposition to be concerned with and approach positive incentives and avoid negative incentives pg. 2.” Both Deckers (2005) and Reeve (2009) noted that motivation had an unconscious component as well as involuntary behaviours. However, I would like to think that unconscious or involuntary behaviours were more like a drive, whereas, motivation was a conscious effort to gain a goal or outcome.



Our group did not provide the tutor with a definition of emotion, but I defined emotion as: the subjective state that calls the attention of the individual. I said this because emotions do call our attention. We are usually aware of our emotional states. Reeves (2009) defined emotion as a multidimensional construct comprising of “short-lived, feeling-arousal-purposive-expressive phenomena pg. 301.” The latin term for emotion is emovere which means to move out (Deckers, 2005). Deckers (2005) also noted a multidimensional construct for emotion, however, he noted that emotions were linked to facial expressions and provided the impetus for behaviour through the influence on cognitions. I also tend to think that emotions are consuming. Neill (2010) stated in the tutorial that emotions should be expressed, as repressing emotions could be psychological damaging. Obviously, we cannot express every emotion we have, but instead there are appropriate ways to express emotions, such as counselling, talking with a friend, etc.

I felt slightly disappointed (an emotion that called my attention) because the members of ARRM/#6 did not provide a definition, or even try to provide a definition. It was not that serious, and no one in the class was going to win an award for the most scientific, intelligent, specific and brilliant definition of emotion. It may have been precisely this reason a definition was not offered. Regardless, the tutor was able to weed out a definition through discussion with a group member. Of course, I did not speak up, due a group phenomena known as deindividuation (Changingminds, 2010), and my input, rather, was to encourage one member to contribute her definition, as it was quite good, but she declined. Other groups, however, came up with some really good definitions. See this link for definitions of motivation and emotion: [1].

Then we had to come up with some questions in relation to the topics that was of interest to us. My questions were: 1. Why do people deliberately risk something that is of value to them? 2. Why do people vary in their motivational intensity despite professing they want the same goal/outcome? 3. Is there a neutral emotive state that could be considered a person’s default or underlying emotion? I wonder if the default emotional position is either negative, positive or truly neutral? And do emotional states contribute to personality or vice-versa? and 4. What about longer term emotions such as grief combined with moments of happiness? I would like to find out what happens when we feel conflicting emotions. For example, a woman grieves because she lost her husband but her child is able to make her laugh. I understand that people can feel many emotions at once but does the prominent emotion taint the passing emotion? And if not, how can an emotion be switched off to make room for another emotion? Quite possibly memory, thoughts and self-talk has something to do with it.


Deckers, L. 2005. Motivation: biological, psychological and environmental (2nd ed.). USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Deindividuation. (2010). In Retrieved 19 August, 2010, from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

E-Portfolio 3[edit]


Four statements expressed in the week 3 lecture piqued my interest: “you don’t need to study but you have decided to”, “you can’t talk to someone when they are angry”, “anger has a physiological response that causes chemical reactions in the brain and it is almost animalistic” and “anticipation of a pleasant event along with experiencing the pleasant event triggers the release of dopamine” . At first glance there does not appear to be much commonality between study, anger and anticipating a pleasant event, however, what ties all these statements together is the neuron-transmitter dopamine. Dopamine is involved with study, learning and creativity (Neill, 2010), is released during anger (Deckers, 2005), is associated with approach motivation (Reeve, 2009), desire, pleasure (Deckers, 2005), reward and punishment (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), aids memory formation, sleep (Kalat, 2007) movement (Borne, 2004) and is central to eating, drinking and sex (Deckers, 2005).


Dopamine has 5 receptor sites, successively known as D1,D2, D3, D4 and D5, found predominantly in the Substantia Nigra and the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). There are eight dopaminergic pathways in the brain which carry dopamine from one area of the brain to another. Most research, however, focuses on the four major dopaminergic pathways, which are: the mesolimbic pathway and mesocortical pathway, associated with schizophrenia, the nigrostriatal pathway, associated with Parkinson’s disease, and the tuberoinfundibular pathway, associated with hyperprolactinaemia; the production of abnormally high amounts of prolactin (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Research within the area of motivation and reward predominantly focuses on the mesolimbic pathway, as it is attributed with regulating behaviour via pleasure and reward associations (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

The Mesolimbic Pathway[edit]

The mesolimbic pathway is made up of the VTA, Nucleus Accumbens, Amygdala, Hippocampus and the Medial Prefrontal Cortex . Dopamine is released into the VTA of the mid-brain which then carries dopamine through the Nucleus Accumbens, the Amygdala, the Hippocampus and the Medial Prefrontal Cortex to the Limbic System where it exerts its pleasurable effect (Wikipedia, the free encylopedia). However, it is erroneous to assume dopamine is all about pleasure, as it is not. Dopamine is released during the presence of negative stimuli. Therefore, pain also triggers the release of dopamine, not just pleasure, as pain has a survival purpose (Iternational Society for Complexity, Information and Design, 2005; Esch & Stefano, 2004).

Dopamine and serotonin pathways.png

Dopamine takes a different dopaminergic pathway when an individual engages in an addictive behaviour. For example, when alcohol, opiates or cocaine are consumed, the areas of the brain involved are the Nucleus Accumbens and the Globus Pallidus, along with a neuronal circuit found within the brain that acts upon the Limbic System. The pleasurable sensation caused is one of well being and euphoria. Although each substance exerts differing effects on neuronal circuits, ultimately, the dopamine ends up in the Nucleus Accumbens and the Hippocampus (Blum, Cull, Braverman & Comings, 1996)

The Reward Deficiency Syndrome[edit]

It was hypothesised that addictive, compulsive and impulsive behavioural disorders were genetically predispositional because some people were born with lower levels of dopamine. It appeared that people with the A1 allele, the genetic anomaly for the D2 receptor site, did not recieve sufficient pleasure from everyday activities and, therefore, were required to go to extreme measures to activate their dopamine system. People with lower levels of dopamine commonly displayed symptoms of discomfort, anxiety, anger and cravings for substances that helped to overcome feelings of negativity. Blum, et al. (1996) called this the Reward Deficiency Syndrome.

The Reward deficiency syndrome was made up of a spectrum of 12 disorders classed under the four headings of Addictive behaviour: alcoholism, substance abuse, smoking, obesity; Impulsive behaviour: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, tourette syndrome, autism; Compulsive behaviour: sexual disorders, pathological gambling, and Personality disorder: conduct disorder, anti-social personality disorder and aggressive behaviour.

What the researchers found was that individuals were 74% more likely to engage in any one of these behaviours if their D2 receptor for dopamine was genetically inhibited. The (reseachers) also found that children of fathers with cocaine addictitions were 84% more likely to become cocaine addicts themselves upon reaching adulthood because of a genetic predisposition, as well as, environmental contributors. This obviously shows that the complexity of drug addiction cannot be explained holistically using a single theory. However, the reward deficiency syndrome is helpful to explain why some people might be motivated to engage in high risk-taking behaviours.

Interestingly, the researchers, cited a study conducted by Hall, Bloom & Olds (1977, cited in Blum et. al., 1996), involving the use of rats that recieved electrical stimuli to their hypothalamus (Deckers, 2005). Since the rats could administer electrical stimulation at will, they administered upto 5000 shocks in an hour, and would do so despite pain and other discomforts. The rats neglected to care for themselves. The only exception was that the rats would stop in order to sleep (Blum et. al., 1996). However, the rats eventually died from exhaustion (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Medication can be prescribed to people with severe addictions, such as, alcohol and substance abuse, as well as, pathological gambling. Naltrexone is prescribed for heroin and alcohol addiction. Naltrexone works better for heroin addiction, as people with alcohol addiction still consumed alcohol whilst on the medication, however they reduced the amount they drank. Pimozide is prescribed for cocaine addiction. The medications work by binding with the neural receptor site, which blocks the dopamine (Deckers, 2005). Once the receptor site is not open to receiving dopamine, the addiction loses its plaesurable effect. The person is then more likely to overcome their addiction.

The Limbic System[edit]

The latin translation for limbic is 'border' (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The Limbic system forms a border around the brainstem. The olfactory bulb, hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala (Kalat, 2007), cingulate gyrus, the ventral tegmental area, the basal ganglia, as well as, the pre-frontal cortex all form part of the limbic lobe (Boeree, 2009). The Limbic System regulates emotions, approach and avoidance motivation, pleasure and reward, as well as, memory formation. It has come to be known as 'the feeling and reactive brain' (Swenson, 2006). The limbic system is regraded as an ancient part of the brain (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) as it is connected to the olfactory bulb and surrounds the brainstem (Kalat, 2007 & Swenson, 2006).

  • The olfactory bulb is associated with the sense of smell.
  • The Hypothalamus is associated with pleasure that comes from eating, drinking and sex (Reeves, 2009).
  • The Hippocampus is associated with forming long-term memories from short-term memories (Boeree, 2009).
  • The Amygdala is associated with responding to threat by anxiety, fear and anger (Reeves, 2009).
  • The Cigulate Gyrus is associated with focusing attention on a significantly emotional event (Boeree,2009).
  • The VTA is associated with the pleasure of dopamine (Boeree, 2009).
  • The Basal Ganglia is associated with repetitive behaviours, focusing attention and experiencing reward (Boeree, 2009).
  • The Prefrontal Cortex is associated with premeditated actions and planning for the future (Boeree, 2009).


Blum, K., Cull, J., Braverman, E., & Comings, D. (1996). The reward deficiency syndrome. The American Scientist. Retrieved 10 September, 2010, from:

Borne, J. (2004). Dopamine neurotransmitter. Insight Journal. Retrieved 10 September, 2010, from:

Boeree, G. (2009). The limbic system. General Psychology: the emotional nervous system. Retrieved 17 September, 2010, from:

Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: biological, psychological and environmental.(2nd ed.). USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Dopamine. (2005). International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. Retrieved 10 September, 2010, from:

Esch, T., & Stefano, G. (2004). The neurobiology of pleasure, reward processes, addiction and their health implications. Neuroendocrinology Letters. Retrieved 17 September, 2010, from:

Hyperprolactinaemia. (2010). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 10 September, 2010, from

Kalat, J. (2007). Biological psychology. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc.

Limbic system. (2010). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 September, 2010, from:

Mesolimbic pathway. (2010). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 10 September, 2010, from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Swenson,R. (2006). Chapter 9: limbic system. Review of clinical and functional neuroscience. Retrieved 17 September, 2010, from:

E-Portfolio 4[edit]


In the tutorial we discussed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, psychological needs, social needs and we were required to label as well as discuss various parts of the brain associated with motivation and emotion.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs[edit]

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs starts with physiological needs, such as, air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink. Physiological needs are key in survival. Their attainment are first and foremost. Just above physiological needs is the need for safety. Safety needs include safety of the body, home and family. Safety also includes somewhere safe and sheltered to sleep and the security of possessions. Next up is belongingness and love. This includes, friendship, family and sexual intimacy. Once a person has attained these needs, then the person goes on to develop the esteem needs: self-esteem, confidence and achievement. Finally, once a person has gained and maintained all these needs, the person moves on to the ultimate need of self-actualizing. Self-actualization is the highest need and is characterised by working outside of the self. Self-actualized people are concerned with problem solving, morality, and they lack prejudice. Not everyone will or can be self-actualized as everyday life means that some people may be stuck on satisfying physiological and safety needs, and therefore, their focus is not on love/belonging or esteem needs. Also, a person may reach the need for self-actualization but the other needs constantly compete to be met and therefore a person struggles with pursuing self-actualisation. Self-actualisation can happen and does happen but all the other needs in Malsow’s hierarchy must be kept in balance (Reeve, 2009 & Maslow, 1970).

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Psychological Needs vs. Social Needs[edit]

The tutor pointed out an important distinction between psychological needs and social needs. Psychological needs are innate whereas social needs are acquired through social conditioning. Psychological needs are concerned with autonomy, competence and relatedness and social needs are concerned with achievement, affiliation/intimacy, power/control.

The General Causality Orientation Scale[edit]

We then filled out a general causality orientations scale (GCOS) which was a 12 vignette 36 item self-response questionnaire used to assess an individual’s motivational orientation, namely, need for autonomy, control and impersonal. The GCOS is used to assess intrinsic motivation, and therefore, was considered to be assessing enduring aspects of personality. Intrinsic motivation was said to exist in people to varying degrees (University of Rochester, 2008). However, it has been argued that autonomy is a relatively westernised individualistic value that may not be appropriate in cultures which are predominantly collectivistic (Wang, Hagger & Lui, 2009) therefore, the GCOS may only be measuring aspects of personality valued in western cultures.


Items scoring the impersonal orientation measured the extent to which people attributed their desired goals or outcomes to external influences such as luck or fate. People high in the impersonal orientation almost deny any control to influence the fruition of desired goals or outcomes. People high in the impersonal orientation feel greater levels of anxiety, as well as, ineffectuality. No wonder then, that people who score high in impersonal orientation feel low or no motivation (University of Rochester, 2008).


Items scoring the controlled orientation measured the extent people were influenced by demands, as well as, rewards for performance. Their motivation comes from directives, deadlines, structures and extrinsic factors, such as, fame and wealth. A person high in control orientation seeks to do that which is pleasing to others instead of what they would like to do. They depend on outside influences to motivate their behaviour (University of Rochester, 2008).


Items scoring the autonomy orientation measured the extent people relied upon themselves for motivating behaviour. People who score high in autonomy seek environments which provide optimal challenges and informational feedback. People high in autonomy orientation rely on the self to start, continue and finish behaviour in order to attain a desired goal or outcome (University of Rochester, 2008).

Results for GCOS[edit]

I scored 43 for impersonal, 53 for control and 71 for autonomy. From what I can remember 40-45 was the mode score for impersonal, 55-60 was the mode score for control and 60-65 was most the mode score for autonomy. Looking at my results for the GCOS, in comparison to the other participants, shows that I was the same as others in the area of impersonal and control but higher in the need for autonomy. However, looking at the results, collectively, most people were high in the need for autonomy and low in the impersonal orientation. This makes sense, as the participants were university students (Neill, 2010). Students need to regulate their own behaviour in order to foster performance (high autonomy). Also, students cannot rely on outside influences, such as luck or fate, to get their work done (low impersonal). Student must organise their environment to facilitate study, reading, writing and gaining feedback to direct their study goals (high autonomy). Furthermore, students would have some controlled orientation as they rely on directives and deadlines to write up assignments, sit exams, perform speeches, etc., and they enjoy extrinsic rewards such as good grades, which then helps determine what they do after their course. So the results from the tutorial class was consistent with the environment which the GCOS was taken. Basically, no surprise! But take the GCOS to Kapooka, Victoria, a military recruit and training base, and I bet the results would show higher levels of controlled orientation and lower scores for autonomy, as well as, impersonal. Military training relies on structure, following directives and working as a team to attain a desired goal or outcome. Also, their desired goals would not have come from intrinsic motives but rather they would have been given their goals.

Brain and Motivational functions[edit]

After filling in the GCOS, we then labelled and discussed parts of the brain and key neural structures associated with motivational functions. The tutor explained what each structure was and what it did in the way of motivation and emotion. Here is the list of brain structures involved in motivation and emotion:

Gehirn, medial - beschriftet lat

  • Reticular formation: arousal (Reeve, 2009) adaption (Neill, 2010).
  • Hypothalamus: pleasure derived from eating, drinking and sex (Reeve, 2009).
  • Amygdala: fear, anxiety and anger related to threat and danger (Reeve, 2009).
  • Septal area: pleasure derived from social interactions and sex (Reeve, 2009).
  • Hippocampus: associated with emotional responses to unexpected events (Reeve, 2009) and memory formation (Boree, 2009).
  • Cerebral cortex (frontal lobes): thinking, planning and forming intentions (Reeves, 2009).

References: Boeree, G. (2009). The limbic system. General Psychology: the emotional nervous system. Retrieved 17 September, 2010, from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Self-determination theory: an approach to human motivation and personality. (2008). University of Rochester. Retrieved 08 October, 2010, from:

Wang, J., Hagger, M., & Liu C. (2009). A cross-cultural validation of perceived locus of causality scale in physical education context. HighBeam Research. Retrieved 08 October, 2010, from:

E-Portfolio 5[edit]


This weeks lecture was based on chapter 5 and chapter 8 of the Reeve (2009) textbook. For chapter five, the lecturer spoke about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, self-determination theory and perceived locus of causality: how extrinsic motivation could be internalised via a four step process of external regulation through to integrated regulation. External regulation was a focus on incentives for behaviour, whereas, integrated regulation meant a behaviour had become part of the person’s identity. Finally, the lecturer spoke about the ineffectiveness of punishment. For chapter six, the lecturer spoke about goal setting, establishing appropriate goals for an individual, perceived incongruency and how to remedy the dissonance associated with the individual’s ideal and the reality. I particularly enjoyed listening to the analogy of ‘one would ideally like to buy and sail a yacht in the South Pacific, however, the reality might be that the person could only afford a dingy to sail around Lake Burley Griffin’.

The lecturer then spoke about feedback and cited a meta-analyses study of feedback conducted by Hattie & Timperley (2007) which highlighted that feedback was crucial toward student success. The lecturer also pointed out, however, that feedback was and is a ‘double-edge sword’. On the one hand, positive and well-informed feedback aids a students progress, yet on the other hand, negative, highly critical and intentionally destructive feedback , destroys a students confidence and in turn hinders their progress. I gather from the lecture that students should seek much feedback for their textbook assessment and know that all feedback provided should ideally be in line with the student’s best interest.

Readings: Chapter five: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations. (Reeve, 2009).[edit]

Intrinsic Motivation[edit]

Intrinsic motivation is when a person pursues a particular goal or engages in a particular activity for the sake of personal interest and growth. This engagement often occurs spontaneously and is carried out with more enthusiasm, imagination, creativity and intensity than extrinsically motivated activities. Intrinsically motivated behaviour often feels like ‘fun’ because an individual’s psychological needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness are being met in some way. In addition, people engaged with intrinsically motivated activities persist longer, deeply engage with the learning process and enjoy the benefits of self-esteem that come with competence and autonomy. Is it any wonder then, that intrinsic motivation is associated with optimal learning, challenge and flow. Flow being the state of total engagement and absorption with a particular task.

Extrinsic Motivation[edit]

Extrinsic motivation is the drive to engage with a particular activity or attain a particular goal because it has some kind of reward or incentive attached to it. People looking to earn lots of money, receive good grades, or receive social approval through praise and recognition are engaged with extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation does little in the way of optimal learning and mastery of new skills, as the person cheats or takes short-cuts to get to the rewards or incentive. The problem with extrinsically motivated activities is that once the incentive is lost, either by decreasing in value or the individual no longer values the incentive, then the behaviour is dropped. Not much can be said in the way of fun when extrinsically engaging in an activity but the individual may value the competition and status that comes with the attainment of incentives.

Hidden Cost of Reward[edit]

People often experience both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, as doing an activity or task proficiently requires engrossment, persistence and effort which is often rewarded by society. However, if extrinsic incentives are given to someone who was originally intrinsically motivated then the person’s intrinsic motivation decreases. This is known as the hidden cost of rewards, and therefore, care must be taken when offering someone a reward for an intrinsically motivated activity.


Society often uses punishment when a person’s behaviour does not adhere to a prescribed norm. Societal punishment comes in the form of ridicule, rejection, complaints, fines, law-suits, gaol time and assault or harassment. Punishment is used to give an aversive consequence to quash certain undesirable behaviours. It is inaccurate to say that punishment is ineffective, but in order for punishment to work, it must be aversive enough and delivered at the right time of an undesirable behaviour. If these two conditions are not met, then punishment is ineffective and a waste of time. However, there are negative consequences to corporal punishment. Gershoff, (2002, cited in Reeve, 2009) found that children who were spanked were more likely to engage in aggressive and anti-social behaviour, suffer poor mental health and spank their own children when they were adults. Furthermore, punishment affected the child’s relationship with the parent, promoted negative modelling strategies to cope with anger, and if chronic enough, produced negative emotionality for the punished.

Chapter eight: Goal setting and goal striving. Reeve, 2009.[edit]


Goals are the outcomes one wishes to achieve in a particular setting. It is the pinnacle of a task or activity. Goals are fundamental in perfecting performance as a person conjures an ideal self. It is the perceived discrepancy between the ideal self and reality that energises a person to perform a certain behaviour. Any person who sets out a goal in a certain activity will outdo a person who does not specify a goal. A difficult goal can be used to push along performance, and may indeed, motivate a person to work above and beyond what they would normally do. However, if the goal is too difficult, the person may not persist in their effort. The person may feel overwhelmed and therefore may avoid the task all together. Care, therefore, needs to be taken when establishing goals. For longer-term goals, it is better to specify short-term goals along the way, as the achievement of short term goals feeds competence and autonomy, and therefore, promotes self-efficacy. The person may also receive constructive feedback upon reaching a short-term goal which informs the person whether or not they are making progress.


Plans are the construct for reaching a goal. Plans specify what behaviours need to be undertaken in what sequence to guide performance toward the person’s goal. Miller, Galanter & Pribram (1960, cited in Reeve, 2009) described how plans were energised via a test, operation, test and exit model, known as, TOTE model. A person will test their ideal self , or goal, with their present state. If there is a discrepancy, a person will operate or work on the plan to overcome the incongruency. The person will then check/re-test to see whether progress has been made until the person exits the plan, either by completing the goal or becoming disillusioned. A person may test and operate many times before they exit the plan. So for some people the TOTE model will look like this: T-O-T-O-T-O-T-O-T-E.


Feedback is communicating information about a person’s behaviour in a task or activity. Feedback is vital when a person engages in a difficult and specific goal. If constructive feedback is not provided a person could not know whether they are progressing toward their goal, and they may emotionally disengage with the task. Feedback works in two ways. Feedback relating to performance that is, at or above, goal level will produce satisfaction and energise behaviour to continue along until a goal is reached. Feedback that communicates performance is not up to par, will produce dissatisfaction, which then energises effort to persist with the task. Feedback works best when provided often.

Putting it all together[edit]

Upon reading chapters five, six, seven and eight of Reeves (2009) textbook, I began to see emerging themes such as:

  • The importance of communication to foster personal growth. This relates to informational feedback and providing rationales. Communication can be used for controlling behaviour, such as, stating what a person is to do. Communication can also be used to inform a person of their competence in a task. Controlling communication is one-way and directive, whereas, informational communication is two-way, whereby the person engaged in an activity communications about their involvement, and this two-way communication, then fosters their sense of autonomy. Providing a person with information about their progress also feeds their need for competency.
  • The importance of not setting a challenge or goal too difficult or complex. If a task or goal is too difficult, a person may feel overwhelmed and avoid the task as they fear failure (maf), experience anxiety and low performance, and therefore, not engage optimally with the task (optimal challenge and flow) or drop the goal because the incongruence, between that which is ideal and the reality, causes a high level of discomfort.
  • The importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivators foster the psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence, as these are innate drives. Extrinsic motivators aid a person’s social needs of power, control and achievement, as these are acquired needs. One can enhance a person intrinsic motivation by providing informational feedback which feeds their psychological needs. One can also engage a person to carry out uninteresting activities by providing extrinsic motivators, whilst also, providing rationales that will hopefully become integrated via their perceived locus of causality.
  • Autonomy-supportive teaching yields the best results as it fosters intrinsic motivation. As a result, students are more likely to enjoy engaging with an activity or task.


Neill, J. (2010). Unit 7124 Motivation and emotion, lecture 5, week 5: [Lecture PowerPoint slide] Retrieved from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

E-Portfolio 6[edit]


The question of why do students attend university, despite struggles and obstacles, was a recurring one, particularly for this class. In the tutorial we talked about university student motivation, namely, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivation was an innate motivation to seek out optimal challenges, acquire new information, develop new skills, gain informational feedback and develop self-regulatory behaviours. Intrinsic motivation was concerned with growing as a person and could include developing a personal repertoire of engagement, openness and coping skills (Neill, 2008). Extrinsic motivators were concerned with receiving grades, recognition, attaining a qualification for greater earning capacity in a career, etc. Extrinsic motivators were socially conditioned. However, explaining motivation in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic motives could be too simplistic (Neill, 2010).

Dewey (1938| 1963, cited in Neill, 2008) claimed that the educational system was too restrictive and that a fine balance between freedom and direction had to be reach. Students have active minds and its this innate drive to learn that needs to be fostered and nurtured. Students come to university with an accumulation of experience, known as, continuity. Students also come to university to amalgamate past experiences with new information and insight, known as, interaction. The reason students come to university, despite struggles and obstacles, could have something to do with continuity, interaction and the implications of the combination of these two variables in relation to future experiences. The Outward Bound Process Model (Walsh and Golins, 1976, cited in Neill, 2008) sums it up nicely: the learner continues to be oriented towards living and learning. It is this notion of living and learning that leads people to engage in education. Furthermore, Dewey saw the importance of education in regards to personal growth. Dewey maintained that mis-educational experiences could thwart a person’s capacity to grow and that all growth experiences had implications which were future-bound.

As a class we conducted three self-report questionnaires. The order in which we did them in class was: Seligman’s Learned Optimism test, the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire - H Factors and the University Student Motivation survey.

Learned Optimism Test:[edit]

The Learned Optimism Test (LOT) devised by Seligman, Teasdale and Abramson was constructed as a revision of Seligman’s original learned helplessness theory (Seligman, 1998). The LOT was a 48 item self-report questionnaire designed to measure levels of optimism versus pessimism in people. The LOT had 3 crucial domains: permanence, pervasiveness and personalisation.

The permanence domain had been subdivided into permanence bad (PmB) and permanence good (PmG). The pervasiveness domain had been subdivided into pervasiveness bad (PvB) and pervasiveness good (PvG). Finally personalisation had been subdivided into personalisation bad (PsB) and personalisation good (PsG) (Seligman, 1998). PmB & PmG measured stable and unstable traits, PvB, PvG & PsB measured time, as well as, space and PsG measured hope (Neill, 2010). 8 questions were used to assess each subdivision.

PmB represented ‘always’ and ‘never’ explanations for bad events and was considered pessimistic. In contrast, optimistic people explained bad events in terms of ‘sometimes’ and ‘lately’. PmG represented ‘always’ explanations for good events and was considered optimistic. In contrast, pessimistic people explained good events as ‘sometimes’. PvB represented catastrophizing. Pessimistic people made universal explanations for failure and optimistic people made specific explanations for failure. PvG represented universal explanations for good events. Optimistic people believed that good events had a permanent cause and bad events had a specific cause and was time limited. Pessimistic people, on the other hand, viewed good events as specific, as well as, time limited, and bad events as permanent. PsB represented internalisation of bad events which generated low self-esteem and PsG represented internalisation of good events. Optimistic people tended to believe they were the cause of good events, thus creating high self-esteem (Seligman, 1998).

The results of the LOT could be used to assess whether or not a person was optimistic or pessimistic. If a person had been measured as pessimistic they could subsequently begin to change their self-explanatory style in order to learn to be more optimistic.

I scored PmB: moderately optimistic; PmG: average; PvB: moderately optimistic; PvG: very pessimistic; PsB: average and PsG: very pessimistic. Upon looking at these scores I assumed I was a realist and was not surprised, however, when the scores were calculated according to Seligman, that was, subtract the total score for bad from the total scores for good and generate a total score. Interestingly my score revealed I was very pessimistic.

There were four implications for a pessimistic explanatory style. 1. Depressed easily; 2. Under achievement; 3. Lower immune functioning and 4. Misery. In order to overcome pessimism and subsequently learn optimism Seligman (1998) devised the ABCDE model which was:

  • Adversity
  • Beliefs
  • Consequences
  • Disputation
  • Energisation

First a person must identify the adversity, their beliefs and then the consequences. This can be done by recording a journal for a day or two. When adversity strikes, objectively write a brief description of the event. Then write out the beliefs that arise from interpreting that event. Finally, write out the consequence in terms of what was felt and what actions were undertaken. Upon recording the ABCs in a journal, read over them and try to identify a pattern. Distraction, disputation and distancing are techniques that can be used once pessimistic beliefs had been identified. Distraction was simply thinking about something else. Disputation was concerned with producing counter-arguments to the belief. This could be done with evidence: what evidence supports the belief?, alternatives: how else could the adversity be viewed?, implications: are the implications of some beliefs truly awful?, usefulness: is the belief useful or destructive? Distancing was concerned with putting things into perspective and not internalising the adversity. Once pessimistic beliefs had been identified and disputed, observe and record in the journal the levels of energisation felt as pessimism waned and optimism rose (Seligman, 1998).

Life Effectiveness Questionnaire - H Factors (LEQ)[edit]

Life effectiveness was conceptualised as the possession and utilisation of psychosocial skills which enabled a person to not just survive, but to thrive, in a variety of predicaments. Life effectiveness was concerned with a person’s unique ability to successfully overcome life’s struggles and obstacles. Life effectiveness could be viewed as adapt, survive and thrive (Neill, 2008). Conceptually, it is related to practical intelligence: street smarts, navigation; self-concept: beliefs about the self in domains such as social, physical and academic; self-efficacy: confidence in performing actions; self-actualisation: fulfilling one’s potential; resilience: continued performance despite struggles and obstacles; and the seven habits of highly effective people, namely: self management and negotiation skills (Neill, 2008| 2010). Life effectiveness was similar to these constructs but it was not the same. Overall, however, a person highly competent in these constructs could be considered to have a high level of life effectiveness (Neill, 2008).

The LEQ we took as a class was meant to represent life effectiveness, however, the life effectiveness questionnaire was originally designed for outdoor educational programs (Neill, 2008). Whether or not the questionnaire truly measured university students life effectiveness could be questioned? Could this instrument be generalised from adolescents and young adults engaged in an Outward Bound Program, for example, of abseiling, rock climbing, navigating terrain and cooking meals for an entire group to an urbanised indoor university class?

The domains of the questionnaire were time management: optimum use of time; social competence: confidence and perceived ability to interact with others; achievement motivation: the desire to excel in specific areas; intellectual flexibility: openness to new ideas; task leadership: lead a group of people in order to reach a goal; emotional control: self-control and emotional regulation particularly in stressful situations; active initiative: the desire to take initiative in new situations; self-confidence: the belief in one’s abilities to successful engage in activities.

For the LEQ I scored 5 in social competence; 6 in intellectual flexibility; 5 in time management; 6 in achievement motivation ; 6 in task leadership; 5 in emotional control; 6 in active initiative and 6 in self confidence. These were relatively high scores, but since the class did not share their scores, I have no comparison to discuss. Furthermore, I scored myself in these domains, maybe my scores were slightly optimistic. For example, I have not been time wise with writing up my textbook chapter. Does this mean that scores of 5 and 6 respectively in time management and achievement motivation are skewed for self-protecting reasons?

Student Motivation Survey[edit]

Then the class undertook the Student Motivation Survey. This survey could provide further insight to the question of why students come to university despite obstacles and struggles. The main reasons given by students for why attend university, were as follows:

  • Career
  • Reject alternatives
  • Expand knowledge, learning and skills
  • Social influences: expectations of society, a social push/pressure
  • Social motivation: social opportunities
  • Altruism: want to help society, Contribute to others lives.

Career motivation was the most popular reason students gave for why they attended university. Second was learning, third was social opportunities, fourth was altruism and social pressure was least popular reason for students to attend university. Interestingly, reject alternatives had no support (as it was an avoidance motivation). Although, one student in the tutorial expressed that she attended university because it was better than going to a 9 - 5 job.


Neill, J. (2008). Enhancing life effectiveness: the impacts of outdoor education programs. Retrieved 10 October, 2010, from:

Seligman, M. E. P. (1998). Learned optimism. New York. Pocket Books: Simon & Schuster Inc.

E Portfolio 7[edit]

Reading: Chapter eleven: Nature of emotion: five perennial questions (Reeve, 2009).[edit]

I was a little concerned reading that meditation can be used to turn around feelings of anger, hatred and depression into feelings of compassion and love. I wonder if repressing feelings of anger due to injustice, abuse, ridicule and rejection is a healthy thing to do. As Reeve (2009) pointed out, all emotions were necessary for survival purposes. Anger tells a person that what has happened to them is not ok. Therefore anger acts as a feedback mechanism which motivates a person to act to change their circumstances. Anger that is repressed, denied or not effectively handled turns into depression. Reeve (2009) used Monks as an example of how meditation could be used to turn feelings of anger and injustice into love and compassion. It is ok for Monks to meditate and turn their anger into compassion because they don’t live as the rest of the world (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). They do not have children, they renounce materialism and they live in a spiritual community denoted by periods of quiet and isolation (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). So to generalise the results of meditation done by monks and tell people living in a busy world of work and families that they can achieve the same, seems to me to be a recipe for frustration and failure.

I am also concerned that viewing anger in such a negative light may be counterproductive. For example, should the woman who is beaten by her drunken husband turn around and say “oh well, such is life” and meditate her feelings of anger and injustice into feelings of love, compassion and ultimately forgiveness. Or the child who is physically abused (Refer back to chapter 4 and corporal punishment, Reeve, 2009) would that not be dangerous? The anger an abused child felt, could be used to alleviate, as well as, remedy the situation. If their fear and anger were strong enough, the child may speak to someone who may then intervene in the situation. I don’t understand why there is such a push in our society for optimism and positivism. It is unrealistic!

The realities of life are such that bad things happen, things that no one can truly appreciate until the have experienced it for themselves. We were given both negative and positive emotions for a reason. The key is keeping them in balance, not tipping the scale one way or the other. For example, when a loved one dies, people are given two years to grieve. Grief is the normal reaction to loss and has many similarities to depression. Entailed in grief are emotions of: anger, sadness, shock, anxiety, relief and guilt (Duff, 2005). If a person does not grieve then they are experiencing denial (Duff, 2005). I have seen my friends go through traumatic experiences and I have seen them hold back tears whilst they maintained that “everything is good, and everything is ok”. It upsets me that my friends are so aversive to feeling and expressing negative emotions. And I believe it stems from societies push on labelling happy people as truly healthy and well adjusted.

Reactance Theory[edit]

Generally, people do not like being told what to do, how to think, how to feel, etc. Society may push for the acceptance of "happy go lucky" but the reality is, people do not like their personal freedoms taken away from them. This is the premise of Reactance Theory. Reactance Theory stipulates that if any outside influnce (society) that tries to make people think or behave in certain ways, will not succeed, as people will contradict oppessive ideologies. That is, when people feel that their freedom to be who they are, is taken away from them, they will then react with contradiction and, furthermore, people will take even stronger polarised position than ever intended, in order to foster their sense of freedom, and not being dictated to by others. (Reeve, 2009 & Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia, 2010).

Opponent Process Theory[edit]

Another reason why the "happy go lucky" mentality from society will not succeed is highlighted in the Opponent Process Theory. The Opponent Process Theory maintains that the mammalian brain was not designed to deviate emotionally from a neutral position. More specifically, there are two structures working to counteract eachother so that emotional responses will be kept in balance. Furthermore, intense emotional experiences will be counteracted by an opposite emotional reaction. That is, a person cannot not experience pleasure or pain for prolonged periods of time (Solomon, 1980 cited in Trimpop, 1994). For example, a person who parachutes out of an areoplane, initially experiences intense fear, however, after a successful land, the person then begins to experience a fear withdrawl syndrome as exhilariation takes over (Trimpop, 1994). Therefore, all emotional experiences, even joy, will eventually be counteracted. The Opponent Process Theory illustrates the importance of keeping emotions balanced.


Duff, J. (2005). Grief. Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic. Retrieved from:

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Trimpop, R. M. (1994). The psychology of risk taking In G. E. Stelmach & P. A. Vroon (Eds), North Holland: Elsevier Science B.V.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2010). Monks. Retrieved from:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2010). Reactance (Psychology). Retrieved from:

E Portfolio 8[edit]

The Self[edit]

For this e-portfolio I want to look at the concept of self. I want to understand how the concept of self develops and how the self changes through experiences and maturity. Therefore, I will explore self-concept, self-schemas, possible selves and dissonance.

James (1892 cited in Deckers, 2005) described the notion of the self known to a person as ‘I’ and ‘me’. ‘I’ is used to describe the self as the subject, observer and knower. In contrast, ‘me’ is used to describe the self as the object, observed and the known. When a person evaluates their self-esteem they do so by using the self of ’I’ to evaluate their self of ’me’. That is, “I evaluate me”. James (1892 cited in Deckers, 2005) stipulated that people feel positive about themselves when their comparison of their current self bodes well with possible future selves. In this instance a person experiences high self-esteem, however, when a person’s current self does not compare well with possible selves, a person experiences low self-esteem. Interestingly, James (1892 cited in Deckers, 2005) was able to provide a formula for self-esteem which was: Self-Esteem = Success/Pretensions. In this formula success represents the achievement of a possible self, whereas, pretension indicated the desired possible self. Thus, a person will experience low self-esteem when they have less successes and/or too many pretensions. Therefore, a person could increase their self-esteem by either increasing successes through the achievement of possible selves or by lowering the number of pretensions.

In order to define self a person must use personal reflections of significant life events and reflect upon feedback from others. In this way self is defined through introspection, however, this is just one aspect. Society also plays a large part in determining how one constructs a self-concept. Cooley (1902/1964 cited in Deckers, 2005) maintained that social interactions acted as ‘mirrors’ that informed a person about their appearance, manners, characters, aims and deeds. Via analysis of feedback from others a person begins to develop self concept. This highlighted the importance of social context in regards to the formation of self.


The self concept is the psychological representation of one self. It is made up of many self schemas (Burger, 2004; Deckers, 2005; Reeve, 2009). Self-concept begins at an early age. It is one of the most important psychological construct an individual acquires and it is usually stable over time (Burger, 2004). People develop a self-concept from experiences, self-reflection, as well as, feedback from others (Reeve, 2009). In particular, people construct self-concept via feedback and reflections about their personal attributes, characteristics and preferences. People experience hundreds of unique experiences moment-to-moment, but when constructing self-concept people tend to ignore most experiences and instead aggregate self-relevant experiences into a unified experience. It is the generalised representation of an experience that an individual incorporates into their definition of self and not the specific behaviours of events that occurred at specific times and places. Although self-concept is usually stable overtime, it can be changed by the development of possible selves (Neill, 2010).

Self Schema[edit]

Self-schemas are the mental representations of oneself that are domain specific. Self-schemas are established from past experiences that were personally meaningful (Burger, 2004; Reeve, 2009). Self-schemas are different from the self-concept because they represent the self in a specific domains, such as relationships with others, cognitive competence (Reeve, 2009) and physical appearance (Burger, 2004). In early childhood self-schemas might include reflections about: smarts, athletics, sociability, parents and behavioural conduct. During adolescence self-schemas might include reflections about: academic, athletic, appearance, popularity, friendships, romance, religion and morality (Reeve, 2009). During adulthood self-schemas might include: work, marriage, children, social justice, higher education, etc. People usually possess different self-schemas during different life stages (Reeve, 2009). People differ in what they think is an important specific life domain. For example, some people have a self-schema about poetry, whereas, other people have a self-schema about basketball. Although people differ in their self-schemas, domains such as, name, appearance, physical ability, relationships with others, in particular, parents, romantic partner/s and friendships are usually found in everyone’s self schema (Burger, 2004).

Self-schemas motivate behaviour in two ways. First, they direct behaviour that is consistent with the self-schema. When people receive feedback from others that are consistent with their self-schema they feel comforted because the feedback is self-confirming. However, when people receive feedback from others that is inconsistent with their self-schema they feel uncomfortable, which produces a motivational tension. When a person receives disconfirming feedback they tend to engage in behaviours that endorse their self-schema. Second, self-schemas motivate people to achieve future possible selves. Seeking to attain ideal possible selves initiates goal directed behaviours that encourages the development of self-concept (Reeve, 2009).

Possible selves[edit]

People can change themselves by experimenting with, and developing, possible selves (in a non-pathological way. Neill, 2010). A possible self is an aspiration or dream a person has for their life. A possible self could also represent personal fears and anxieties about how life could turn out (Burger, 2004). Possible selves also include the attributes a person would like to have. As with self-concept, possible selves remain fairly stable across time (Burger, 2004). Possible selves are developed in response to past selves. Interestingly, Markus & Nurius (1986 cited in Deckers, 2005) found that student were inclined to think more often about possible selves than to reflect on past selves. The researchers also found that students were more inclined to think about positive possible selves than negative positive selves. In another study conducted by Oyserman & Markus (1990 cited in Burger, 2004) found that juvenile delinquents who had formed a criminal possible self were more likely to become adult criminals. Maybe this finding has some relevance to self-fulfilling prophesies.

Possible selves have two functions. First, a person will direct their behaviour so as to attain a possible self. Therefore, when a person makes a decision, they question whether or not a particular course of action will bring them closer to a desired possible self. Second, possible selves serve to give meaning to behaviours and events in a person’s life. This then causes people to interpret, as well as, react differently to certain events. People usually have strong emotional reactions to events that they have deemed as relevant to their possible self (Burger, 2004).


Dissonance refers to the psychologically aversive state experienced when there is a discrepancy between what one believes about oneself and actions that contradict the persons beliefs about self. How aversive dissonance is depends on how much a person values self-consistency. When dissonance is uncomfortable it has motivational properties. A person will seek to either eliminate or reduce dissonance. In order to reduce dissonance a person could: 1. Change their beliefs of self 2. Reduce the importance of beliefs about self 3. Construct a new belief of self 4. Increase the importance of the newly formed belief.


Burger, J. M. (2004). Personality (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: biological, psychological and environmental (2nd ed.). USA: Pearson: Ally and Bacon.

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

E Portfolio 9[edit]

Five or more questions about emotions[edit]


In the lecture we were asked to come up with five questions about emotion and present our questions in our e-portfolios. I would like to know more about the emotional phenomena of embarrassment. How does embarrassment work? Why do we feel embarrassment? What function does it have? How and why does embarrassment make us want to cry and laugh at the same time? Is it possible that embarrassment is a primary emotion. Personally speaking, when I get embarrassed I feel, first and foremost embarrassed, then I may feel disappointment, anger, sadness, foolishness, amusement, rejection, ridicule, happiness (as the embarrassing event makes me laugh and makes others laugh to) and shyness. In addition, embarrassment has recognisable physiological responses, such as, blushing, red face, watery eyes, as well as, looking down, looking away, covering the face with hands, etc. Also, how do people cope with embarrassment? How do people self-regulate embarrassment? Why do people enjoy telling others about their embarrassing situations? Why is embarrassment so humorous? Why is embarrassment so dreadful? Embarrassment is a good emotion, on the one hand, because you realise life does not need to be taken so seriously and you cannot control everything that goes on in life. On the other hand, embarrassment can be awful and, if severe enough, crippling. Could there be an embarrassment spectrum? Are there low level embarrassment, mediocre embarrassment and crippling levels of embarrassment? Why do some people profess they want to hide or die because of some embarrassing life event? Is embarrassment the only emotion that makes some people wish “the earth would just swallow them up” and what does that really mean? How do onlookers feel about witnessing an embarrassing event?

Model of emotion[edit]


In the tutorial we were required to organise about 150 labelled emotions into groups. Our group originally decided to use the six primary emotions of fear, anger, disgust, sadness, joy, and interest. We had a good go of grouping the labels under these headings. We then decided to generate another primary emotion to our model, ‘love’. Upon much effort, we were still left with loose ends, so we come up with another group of emotions called ‘indifferent’ or neutral. Interestingly, in our group, we debated the meaning of some of the emotions. In particular, we debated whether or not the label ‘concern’ belonged in fear, love or indifferent. I argued that concern belonged in love because the term is used to describe a heartfelt worry for the wellbeing of loved ones. However, one group member argued that concern had no basis in love, but rather, concern was used to describe worry about impersonal objects, such as, concern about a grade for an assignment. I rationalised that concern for a grade indicated a level of care toward the agent receiving the grade. My argument was not successful. However, regardless of where concern was placed, I observed that we were debating the socially conditioned meaning of the word ‘concern‘. It was so interesting to see that my perspective of concern was radically different from the meaning another person prescribed to the term. Neither one of was right or wrong but we simply had different meanings to some of the labelled emotions. It would have been interesting to see how each person would have made their own models of ‘families of emotions’ and what meaning they gave to each term. Furthermore, does the prescribed meanings given to emotions have implications to clinical psychologists and counsellors. If psychologists or counsellor do not take into account the particular vocabulary of their client, how could they truly understand and empathise with what their clients express and subsequently how could they develop a treatment program suited to their client? Maybe, that is why some people drop out of counselling. They do not feel heard or understood.

We also realised that some of the labels given were not describing emotions but rather enduring personality traits, such as, ornery: having an irritable disposition; pessimistic: someone who always expects the worst; splenetic: bad tempered; spiteful; and socially induced conditions such as stigmatised: being labelled by others; uppity: behaving as though one belongs to a higher social class. I also wondered whether emotions could have been placed along a spectrum of negative to positive.

Emotion Q-sort (4)
Emotion Q-sort (5)
Emotion Q-sort (6)

Emotion Q-sort (1)
Emotion Q-sort (3)
Emotion Q-sort (2)

The missing pictures were ment to be emotional families of disgust, love and confused.


We then filled out a PANAS which was meant to indicate whether a person had a positive or negative affect. I had one problem with this questionnaire. How could the questionnaire be using emotions, which are short- lived attention- grabbing physiological-psychological phenomena , to assess affect. Affect or mood lasts hours even days, whereas emotions last no longer than 20 minutes. For the PANAS my scores showed higher scores for positive affect than for low affect. However, in the last tutorial we conducted the Seligmans Learned Optimism test and my score revealed I was very pessimistic. So I feel that a contradiction has been reached with these two questionnaires. How can one test tell me that I am very pessimistic, whereas the other one, tells me I have a generally positive affect? I question the reliability of these two self-report questionnaires, particularly as they are trying to assess a subjective phenomena. In addition, self-report questionnaires are specific to context. Self-report questionnaires can be affected by mood, events, comprehension of the questions and misrepresentation of self due to self-ignorance or self-inflated views. Self-report questionnaires scores may change depending upon the environment and expectation of the agent in those environments.

Q and A[edit]

It appears my questions about emotions in the week 2 e-portfolio were answered.

Is there a neutral emotive state that could be considered a person’s default or underlying emotion? I wonder if the default emotional position is either negative, positive or truly neutral?Yes there are positive, negative and neutral emotive states, more correctly known as affect or mood (Reeve, 2009).

What about longer term emotions such as grief combined with moments of happiness? I would like to find out what happens when we feel conflicting emotions. Yes, it is possible to experience two or more conflicting emotions at once.

How can an emotion be switched off to make room for another emotion? Quite possibly memory, thoughts and self-talk has something to do with it. Emotions are not switched off to make room for other emotions. There are certain neural circuits found within the brain that are specific for certain emotions, therefore, a person can experience two conflicting emotions at the same time (Reeves, 2009). Memory, thoughts and self-talk can evoke emotions arising from significant life events. Cognitive theorists claim that people cognitively appraise a situation and then feel emotions (Reeve, 2009).


Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

E Portfolio 10[edit]

For this eportfolio I wanted to look at the social sharing of emotions which entails mimicry, feedback and contagion of emotions, as well as, expression management.

Emotions are experienced most frequently in association with other people. That is, people experience more emotions when they are around others than when they are alone. This makes sense, as emotions are vital in establishing, maintaining and ending relationships. Emotions either draw people together or push people apart. Therefore, most interpersonal relationships are marked with emotional intensity.

Social sharing of emotions[edit]

When people experience an emotionally intense event they have the tendency to seek out others to share their emotional experience, known as ‘the social sharing of emotions‘ (Rime, Mesquita, Philippot & Boca, 1991 cited in Reeve, 2009). The social sharing of emotions happens most often later in the day and with close associates, such as a partner. An individual will try to recreate and relive the emotional experience by disclosing details about the event, for instance, what happened, what significance it had and what emotions they felt during the experience. By sharing their emotional experience, the individual may be looking to get support, enhance their coping strategies, make sense of the event and/or validate their self-concept (Reeve, 2009).

Mimicry, feedback and contagion[edit]

People can also create emotions in us by mimicry, feedback and contagion. 'Mimicry' refers to the imitation of facial expressions, voice, postures, movements and other behaviours that a person uses during a social interaction. 'Feedback' refers to the message a person relays to another through facial expressions, vocal intonations, postures and behaviours. 'Contagion' refers to transferability of emotional states onto others. Emotional contagion is defined as the “tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize expression, vocalisations, postures and movements with those of another person and consequently, to converge emotionally (Hatfield, Cacioppo & Rapson, 1993 cited in Reeve, 2009).

Expression management[edit]

Expression management refers to a persons ability to control their emotional states. In particular, people try to publicly hide negative emotions whilst maintaining positive emotions during social interactions. Reeve (2009) outlined the importance of professionals to learn expression management, for example, flight attendants use deep acting methods to manage averse emotions and medical students are taught techniques that foster emotional neutrality during medical examinations. However, I wonder whether deep acting and expression management techniques produce maladjustment as when a person acts one way that is socially desirable yet feel another way that is not socially desirable a person may experience maladjustment.


Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

E Portfolio 11[edit]

Positive and negative affect[edit]

Reeve (2009) started out the chapter by stating that most people were happy irrespective of their life circumstances. Reeve (2009) used low income earners and people with little formal education as examples of people being happy regardless of circumstances. Then Reeve (2009) went on to explain that people usually have a happiness set point. Reeve (2009) used the example of a lottery winner and a person crippled by a severe accident to explain how people retuned to their ’normal’ level of happiness after a life altering event. The lottery winner feels a lot of positive affect, whereas, the person who was in a severe accident feels a lot of negative affect. Yet, these people will eventually return to their previous everyday level of happiness. Reeve (2009) also went on to state that extraverts were considered happy and introverts not so happy. I do not agree with this assertion.

If Reeve (2009) had previously written that most people were happy irrespective of life circumstances then how could Reeve (2009) justify the statement that extraverts were more happy than introverts. Extraverts were defined as being socialable, assertive and venturesome. Introverts were defined as shy, not inclined to socialise and who direct their feelings and thoughts inward. Why is it that an introvert is unhappy because they are shy and focus their feeling and thoughts inward? What exactly is it about this personality characteristic that makes one unhappy? Is it not possible that one feels quite happy being alone with their thoughts and feelings?

Reeve (2009) also wrote that extroverts were happier than introverts whether or not they live by themselves, in remote rural areas, or whether or not they occupied social jobs. Two questions came to my mind about this aspect of extroversion. One, if extraverts feel happy because they focus their attention outside of themselves, how happy could they really be living in remote rural areas with little social interaction. Would not living in such an isolated state have a negative affect? Secondly, if extraverts were more sensitive to the rewards of social interactions than introverts, then would that not make extraverts also more prone to be sensitive to the criticisms and/or other negative social interactions? Surely negative social interactions would have a negative affect on extroverts?

Reeve (2009) also stated that extraverts were more happier than introverts because they had greater capacity to experience positive emotions. First of all, by virtue, positive emotions are positive, and introverts would experience positive emotions as well. Second, if extraverts have greater capacity for experiencing positive emotion than introverts, how is this measured? How intensely an extrovert experiences positive emotions compared to introverts, would, by and large, be difficult to determine. Is this statement saying that the birth of a child or the joy of marriage is felt better by an extravert than by an introvert? I hardly think this could be true. Maybe extraverts verbally express greater joy, or maybe they exaggerate?

Surely introverts are just as happy, but they express happiness differently. Surely, introverts could be just as happy as extraverts, except their happiness comes from different sources. It would be interesting to see how extroverts rate their happiness when they are alone or when they experience extended periods of isolation, as sometimes happens when one is old and lives in a nursing home or is hospitalised. Maybe extraverts would not fair so well in these circumstances but quite possibly introverts would do better, as they do not rely on others to generate happiness.

It was also a little offensive to read “introverts are genetically doomed to a bland, unfulfilled emotional life. While this may be partly true…” Did Reeve (2009) consider that a lot of the people reading his book consider themselves to be introverted? I felt that these expressions of introversion contradicted the notion of self-actualising. Self actualised people have few close friendships, enjoy their privacy and are not to phased by what other people think of them, but self-actualised people feel happy. I also feel that these expressions contradict the notion of a fully functioning adult whereby the adult is independent, as well as, interdependent.

Reeve (2009) then went on to write that neurotics were unhappy and extraverts were happy. If neurotics and introverts were considered less happy than extraverts then does that negate Reeve’s (2009) statement that most people report being happy despite their life circumstances. If Reeve (2009) was only stating that extraverts were happy, then could one say that Reeve considers a lot of people to be unhappy, as how many extraverts represent a population? I really do not like saying that one personality characteristic is better than the other because I do not believe either one is better, but I do not believe that only extraverts are happy.

Perceived control[edit]

It was interesting to read about perceived control and desire for control. Perceived control (PC) refers to a person’s belief that they can control a situation, in order to produce desired outcomes and avoid negative outcomes. For a person to perceive control, first the person must have determined what they wanted to achieve in the situation and secondly, the situation must be in some way predicable and responsive (Reeve, 2009). Learned helplessness negatively impacts on perceived control and therefore, on efforts to exert control, even when a person is in predicable and responsive situations. When a person has a high level of PC they tend to engage in challenging tasks, set high but achievable goals, map out a success plan which includes what they will do when progress is slow. A person with high PC usually does well in tasks because they are able to exert control, persist during difficult times and maintain concentration. Furthermore, a person with high PC maintains focus on their plans, positive emotionality and monitors their problem solving techniques, as well as, feedback from others, in order to enhance their performance. Hence, performance is usually successful for a person with high PC. However, a person with low PC selects easy tasks, sets vague goals, does not establish plans for success or for when things go wrong. Consequently, performance is not so strong for a person with low PC, as when things go wrong, they loss concentration, their confidence drops and they question why the task is so difficult. Perceptions of control may be relevant to McClelland’s Need for Achievement, whereby individuals high in the need for achievement seek out challenging but achievable goals and individuals low in the need for achievement seek out easy task. Maybe, these individuals are neither high or low in achievement success but have different perceptions of control.

Desire for control[edit]

In contrast, desire for control (DC) refers to a person’s motivation to control the various aspects of their lives. People with a high DC do not just accept whatever happens to them, instead they need to control and direct their life events. They approach situations with a level of predetermined resolve to influence the outcomes of situations. They prefer to make their own decisions, prepare in advance for situations, avoid dependence on others and often assume leadership roles during social interactions. On the other hand, people with low DC do not like to make their own decisions and prefer others to take on leadership roles. People with high DC tend to control conversations as well. I suppose when talking to someone with high DC you will notice that they want to influence the topic of discussion, the attitudes held, and what plans will be made. They also tend to talk loudly, explosively and rapidly. They tend to interrupt or talk over other people and they end conversations when they have finished saying what they wanted to say. In addition, they try to persuade others to their point of view. Reeve (2009) pointed out that high DC is adaptive and productive, but only when situations are controllable.

In a study conducted by Burger (1985 cited in Reeve, 2009) revealed that students with high DC tended to interpret difficult tasks as challenges to their control abilities. Burger (1985 cited in Reeve, 2009) hypothesised that students with high DC would persist longer on difficult task, because if the student did not complete the difficult task they would be admitting defeat in their ability to control the situation. Accordingly, Burger (1985 cited in Reeve, 2009) gave students insolvable puzzle. Just as hypothesised, the students with high DC tried to complete the puzzles longer than students with low DC.


During the tutorial we conducted the Sensation Seeking Scale devised by Martin Zuckerman (1971). We put our scores up on the white board and discussed the subfactors that assessed Sensation Seeking. We then discussed happiness, and in particular, the happiness pill, also referred to as anti-depressants. We then debated whether or not anti-depressants were effective in treating depression.

The happy pill[edit]

Depression is the most common mental disorder experienced nowadays. One out of five people will experience depression in their lifetime (beyondblue, 2006). Apparently, a person is considered depressed if they feel unhappy most days for a period of two weeks (Beyondblue, 2006). This does not give a person much time to emotionally cope with and adjust to: a loss of marriage, job, family unit, death of loved one, stressful week, financial troubles, etc., before being labelled as depressed.

However, in order to combat the epidemic of depressed people, there are pills on the market professing that they will make a person feel happy, sleep restfully, and even, lose weight, all at the same time (astronutrition, 2010). The happy pill is not only a pill offered over the counter. Doctors prescribe anti-depressants to patients who ask for it. Even teenagers can go into a doctor's office and get a 3 repeat script for a mild SSRI. That means that a teenager experiencing low mood for up to two weeks can get a script for three months of anti-depressants without any medical supervision until their script runs out.

It seems that the happy pill has become quite a commodity, but who really profits? Doctors get paid at least $45 for a short consult and doctors even advertise certain marketed anti-depressants (so one could conclude that there is a bias in what they prescribe), the purchase of drugs from a pharmacy keeps the pharmacy in business and the makers of anti-depressant make a nice profit for the medications they put out on the market. But the consumer does not share in such a profit. There are many side effects to these drugs, i.e., liver damage, anxiety, dry mouth, sleeplessness, weight gain and even worse. Furthermore, in some cases the medications fail to treat people (Wikiversity, the free encyclopedia). People can develop a tolerance to the medications. People also experience withdrawal symptoms and relapse rates are really high (Wikiversity, the free encyclopedia, 2010). It seems to me that people must learn other ways to manage depression or else they will be faced with a life time of consuming medications.

Coping stategies[edit]

Omega 3 has been shown to help alleviate depression, especially in children (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Light therapy has been proven to help people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In addition, lifestyle choices, a healthy diet, gratitude, good sleep, confronting fears and going out of one's way to make other people happy help to increase people's happiness (Grant, 2010). Changing negative thoughts and self talk has also proven beneficial.


Antidepressants. (2010). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from:

What is depression. (2006). Beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Retrieved from:

Burger, J. M. (2004). Personality (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Grant, T. (Presenter). (2010, November 15). Making Australia happ [Television broadcast]. Australia: ABC 1

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

E Portfolio 12[edit]

Reading: Chapter 16: Conclusion (Reeve 2009)[edit]

It was interesting to read how Reeve (2009) put all the motivational theories together and applied them to case studies.

It was also interesting to see how Reeve (2009) drew all the key points of motivation and emotion into 16 wisdoms. Reeve stated that these 16 points of wisdom was his own conclusion and that readers may draw their own conclusions, so in line with that statement I will try and spell out the wisdoms I got from the textbook.

  1. Motivation energises and directs behaviour.
  2. Directly telling someone to do something usually does not work.
  3. Parents should have unconditional positive regard towards their children.
  4. Being responsive, attentive, supportive and nurturing toward children fosters autonomy in children.
  5. Some relationships are toxic and do not support self actualisation.
  6. A supportive environment fosters self actualisation.
  7. Depending upon cognitive appraisals of achievement related tasks, people either approach or avoid the task (but, if people avoid achievement related tasks, they cannot ever know for sure that failure was imminent)
  8. In order to grow a person must seek out challenges.
  9. A large part of motivation is disputing ideas.
  10. Happiness is determined by autonomy, competence and relatedness.
  11. If a person acts differently to their inherent nature they will become maladjusted.
  12. putting on a public facade produces anxiety and maladjustment.
  13. Society treats people with positive and negative conditional regard.
  14. Society encourages extraversion and discourages introversion, but trying to push people to be what they are not only causes maladjustment.
  15. All emotions are good and serve a purpose.
  16. Neurochemicals influence motivation.
  17. setting out specific and difficult goals helps achievement.
  18. Flow experiences help with self actualising and we should aim to have lots of flow experiences.
  19. People can endure the worst of conditions and still grow because they give meaning to such negative experiences.
  20. Autonomy supportive teaching is better than directive teaching styles.
  21. Biological drives can be strong motivators
  22. Unconscious drives can be powerful motivators.
  23. Some people aim to receive acquired needs.
  24. People feel unrest when they experience incongruence.
  25. People have better outcomes when they take control of their behaviour.
  26. People have better outcomes when they have an internal locus of causality.
  27. Optimistic people have inflated views of themselves and they often blame outside sources for mishaps. Optimistic do this to protect their self-esteem.
  28. Pessimists are prone to anxiety and depression.
  29. Self actualised people don't really care what others think of them.
  30. To be a fully functioning adult one must be independent, as well as, interdependent.


Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.