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Crystal Clear app kfm home.png This user is a participant in the Motivation and emotion unit, 2010.
See also: Textbook
Writer1.gif This page is an e-portfolio. Also see other participants' pages.


Motivation and Emotion Scrabble.jpg

Week 1 - Introduction and History of Motivation[edit]

I am currently completing a double degree in psychology and coaching science. I am in my third year and am now enrolled in the unit motivation and emotion. As part of this unit assessments I must keep an up to date e-portfolio where I will reflect on what I am learning about the unit and try to deepen my understanding of particular concepts by relating them to research and personal experience. I am new to using Wiki so I will be learning as I go, which is both exciting and a little overwhelming at times but I am looking forward to the experience and with the help of Jtneill and other motivation and emotion participants' hopefully it will be a rewarding one.

Lectures and Readings[edit]

Introduction to Motivation

Since I first looked at my degree outline and saw that I was going to be taking a Motivation and Emotion unit, I was very interested in what this would be like. This topic relates to so many things in life and to myself. Growing up in a sporty family my sister and I were encouraged to play sport and I loved it so much and never complained about training, while my sister who was very good did not enjoy it as much took a lot more motivation (in particular external motivation) for her to continue playing. I always wondered why this was the case and what were the causes of the different motivation levels between us. This example sparked my first interest into motivation and its different contributions to life and myself.

From the first lecture and readings I feel that I have already learnt so much. Motivation is made up of two components; energy (a strong feeling of needing to do something) and direction (points the energy towards the need we feel). From this topic many questions arise such as what causes behaviour, for example why do some people play an enjoy sport and others do not? Also, why does the intensity of behaviour change between different individuals? Could this be to do with people's personality and also maybe could their moods and emotions at the time play a role in this? Just why is it that one day someone could be motivated to completing a particular task and another day have no motivation towards that task at all? These are questions I wonder about and through this topic hope to understand more.

What are the processes that give us the energy and direct our behaviour? Based on Reeve (2009), there are two types of motives; internal motives and external motives. These motives either direct our behaviour towards something or away from it. The internal motives consist of:

  • Needs- these could be our basic physiological needs that we need for living like eating, drinking and sleeping. These needs are necessary for our lives, growth and well-being. So why is it that some individuals will go against these basic needs such as in cases of psychopathology, in particular eating disorders. There can also be psychological needs such as belongingness and competence. Needs create wants, desires and strivings and help to motivate our behaviour. This shows that different motivations occur for different people due to their differences in wants and desires.
  • Cognitions- are our mental events and the sources of motivation revolve around people's ways of thinking and their beliefs. This motive relates to goal-setting and planning, which I am particularly interested in; one, because I also study coaching science and in this course we learn about coaching and how setting goals can improve motivation to work harder and perform better. Two, because my own personality is one that involves myself making many plans and lists to motivate myself towards what needs to be done and towards what I wish to achieve. I am very interested in personality and continually wonder and believe that people's personalities play a role in their own goal setting and motives in their lives.
  • Emotions- they allow us to adapt and react to changes in our lives. There are four main aspects such as; feelings, physiological preparedness, function and expression.

Finally there are the external motives such as environmental (eg money), social and cultural motives.

An example of an environmental external motivator.

Now that I understand how to define motivation and the main components that motivate our behaviour, I can look at how to measure an individual's motivation. There are four main ways to measure motivation:

  • Behaviour- eight aspects or expressions of behaviour have been found that help to rate the intensity of motivation.
  • Engagement- measures motivation through how invested you are in something. This is done by looking at an individual's behavioural, emotional and cognitive engagement and through voice (self expression).
  • Brain Activations and Physiology- measures different states within the body to see if an individual is physically aroused. This arousal then indicates an energy allowing a behaviour to be performed. This type of measurement is used quiet a lot in the coaching of athletes to help them be motivated so they can see what they must aim for and to determine if they are at the correct arousal level to perform. This area of measurement surprised me as I did not realise it could be applied to so many different measures of behaviour.
  • Self-Report- just ask people what motivates them.

Now onto the second half of the lecture. I have just realised how much detail I go into and write so much but I always have been a huge note taker, it's the best way I learn.

A History of Motivation
  • Grand Theories (trying to explain all behaviour)
    • Will - the belief that understanding a person's will then you will discover their motivation. This just created more problems instead of solving them as now they had two things to try to describe instead of just one. This theory has two main themes; the will and bodily desires.
    • Instinct - "irrational and impulsive motivational forces that oriented the person toward one particular goal" (Reeve, 2009, pg. 28)
    • Drive - this theory was all about servicing the body's needs. The body wished to remain at a "normal" state and if we changed from this state then we got the drive to return it to normal. There were two main theories surrounding this concept:
      • Freud's Drive Theory - Drive's Source (bodily deficit), Drive's Impetus (physiological drive turns to psychological drive eg anxiety), Drive's Object (seek to reduce the anxiety and satisfy bodily deficit, obtain object), Drive's Aim (body satisfied obtained aim).
      • Hull's Drive Theory - Believed that drive also arose from physiological bodily disturbances but believed that it only energised the body it did not direct it, it was believed that habit directed behaviour, this then caused learning through reinforcement. This theory was the only one to say that you could predict motivation before it occurred based on knowing which environmental conditions created motivation such as hunger and thirst.
  • Decline of Grand Theories
    • Will theory declined due to it raising more questions than answering.
    • Instinct theory declined due to no independent way to determine if instinct really existed
    • Drive theories declined due to too many limitations within the theory
  • Post Drive Theories and Mini-Theories

There was the realisation that there was just too much new information being discovered all the time about motivation for one grand theory to be able to explain the total range of motivation. This lead to the idea of mini-theories, these theories did not try to explain everything but rather they each focused on a particular aspect of motivation. These could be; motivational phenomenon, particular circumstances that affect motivation, groups of people, theoretical questions (Reeve, 2009).

From my first week on motivational and emotion I have already learnt so much and have already begun to realise just how much this topic relates not only to so many other psychology disiplines but also areas outside of psychology such as my coaching science degree. I am now very interested to continue learning and going into more depth on some of the things in particular that I am most interested in such as personality and its relation to motivation and emotion.


This week we were told what the assessment items for this course were going to be. They are:

  • Textbook Chapter

This consists of our class having to choose a topic in relation to motivation or emotion and research it and then write a textbook chapter on in. This must be done on Wikiversity. This assessment item is worth 50% of our grade, which is a little scary. We will be marked on theory, research and written expression. I have begun thinking about what topics would possibly interest me to write about and so far I have got:

    • motivation in relation to goal setting in particular in sport
    • motivation in relation to goal setting and personality
    • motivation and psychopathology, concentrating on eating disorders
    • emotion and personality, looking at why people will experience the same emotions but react to them in different ways for example why when some people become sad they over eat and some stop eating all together. Looking at whether this could be due to different personality types.
  • Multimedia

In this assessment item we must create a 5min video explaining the key concepts from our textbook chapter. We will be marked on the structure and content, communication and production quality. This assessment item is my least favourite as I am not the good with computers and this is something I have never ever attempted before. Hopefully I will be able to learn how to do this correctly and it will all work.

  • E-Portfolio

We must develop an online e-portfolio that shares our reflections about what we are learning and all the things we are going through. It must be consistent throughout the entire semester and this will be marked, it will also be marked on depth and understanding.

This unit does not have a final exam which I have not yet decided whether I like or dislike. As it will be good not to have another exam crammed into the exam period but I don't mind exams and some of these assessments are looking quiet stressful at the moment. I guess I will just have to wait and see how it all turns out.

Week 2 - Assessment Task Skills[edit]

Learning Wiki and Lecture[edit]

This week during lectures we learnt more about our assessment items in more detail. This made me feel a lot better about them and relaxed me, well only slightly. Another part of this lecture was going through and learning more about wikiversity. We were shown editing skills such as:

  • creating lists
  • bold text
  • italics
  • underline text

placing text in the centre of the page

  • creating headings
  • using images, including finding, embedding and formatting them.
Tulipa suaveolens floriade to Canberra.jpg

So now that I have learnt a few new editing tricks I am going to have a play around and see what I can do to help myself learn some more. It is quiet fun and rewarding learning these new skills and being able to put them together myself.

Another thing we were shown in the lecture was a multimedia demonstration which was extremely helpful. So now I hope to continue learning more and more about this.

Assessment Ideas[edit]

This week I have begun looking into more detail about the ideas I had for my textbook chapter and so far I am really interested in motivation and goal setting both with sport and personality. Although researching these topics I have not really found a great deal of information so I will continue researching and make my decision by the end of next week.

Week 3 - The Brain and Physiological Needs[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week I learnt about the motivated and emotional brain and the physiological needs that we all experience.

The Motivated and Emotional Brain

There are three types of brain:

  • The thinking brain - consisting of intellectual and cognitive functions
  • The motivated brain - consisting of cravings, needs and desires
  • The emotional brain - consisting of emotions

This idea of three types of brains makes a lot of sense and helps explain many things such as why some people may act irrationally on wants and desires and not think the consequences through. They are using the motivated brain and not the intellectual brain.

There are also three main principles that guide research on the motivated and emotional brain based on Reeve (2009), these are:

  • that specific brain structures generate specific motivational states
  • that biochemical agents such as hormones and neurotransmitters stimulate the specific brain structures
  • finally that peoples day to day events that they experience stir the biochemical agents into action based on how the body reacts to the changing environment.

There is a brain generated approach vs. avoidance idea and this is that there are different brain structures that when stimulated will make you either want to approach or avoid an object or event. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers within the brain and they are used when neurons communicate to each other. The main neurotransmitters that are involved in motivation are:

  • Dopamine: produces good feelings that are associated with reward. It promotes emotional positivity which in turn helps with productivity, creativity, insightful problem solving and overall enhanced functioning. It produces approach behaviour but it can also reinforce addictions.
  • Serotonin
  • Norepinphrine
  • Endorphin

There are three hormones that are integral to motivation and emotion these are:

  • Cortisol - the "stress hormone," associated with poor intellectual functioning, negative affect and poor health outcomes in the long term but in the short term it is associated with alertness.
  • Testosterone - competition and mating.
  • Oxytocin - the "bonding hormone," motivates seeking counsel, support and nurturance of others.

Hormones change every day and can give some explanation towards why someone will do something one day and why they will not do it another day. This is a question I am quiet interested in and so having some type of insight even if it is just a starting point helps to lead me towards one of my questions answers from 'what I would like to learn in this unit."

One other interesting point from this chapter is that we are not always consciously aware of the motivation behind our behaviour so we may not actually be aware of why we do something that is not socially acceptable.


A need is any condition within an organism that is essential and necessary for life, growth and well-being (Reeve, 2009). If a need is satisfied then well-being is maintained and enhanced, although if the need is neglected then both a person's biological and psychological well-being can be disrupted. Motivational states occur to make sure a disruption to a person's well-being does not happen. There are three main types of needs these will be discussed in more detail in the respective lectures, they are:

  • Physiological
  • Psychological
  • Social
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow (1970), created a Hierarchy of Needs, this theory suggested that an individual's needs could be structured hierarchically with the physiological needs being the most pressing followed by the psychological and social needs all the way up to self-actualisation. A theory proposed on how motivation helps regulate our needs is the "Physiological need-Psychological drive-Behavioural action process. It involves a 7 step cycle of processes which shows the rising and falling of drives that we have.

Physiological Needs

There are three main physiological needs and they are:

  • Thirst
Physiological need of Thirst

Thirst is a consciously experienced state and it was interesting to find out that when we lose only 3% of our body's water we are considered dehydrated. This makes me think about when I play sport how much water I would lose doing that and I now believe that I do not drink enough water to account for this loss. Thirst has a number of processes such as:

  • Physiological Regulation: types of thirst are either osmometric or volumetric
  • Thirst Activation: usually caused from osmometric thirst due to the dehydration of the cells
  • Thirst Satiety: activates the process to stop drinking when we have had enough
  • Hypothalamus and Kidneys: help with the activation of thirst and the process to stop drinking
  • Environmental Influences: taste is the most important, the reason behind why people drink so many sweet drinks like soft drink (which I also do quite a bit and am trying to break the habit) is that sweet sensations do not drop off in pleasantness like other tastes such as salty, sour and bitter. So we are drawn to these drinks because they always taste good no matter how much you drink of them.
Environmental Influence on thirst: Taste
  • Hunger

There are two models of hunger one based on the short term relating to blood sugar levels and the other based on a more long term approach based on glucose levels and fat cell storages. Although a combination of these models gives a comprehensive model of hunger regulation, which also includes environmental influences such as the time of day, stress, sight, smell, appearance of food (it has been found that a variety of foods and tastes increases eating behaviour significantly) and self regulation. Dieting and fasting can interfere with physiological regulation and guides and put someone further from their goal then to begin with, this is known as restraint- release situations. Another style of eating habit is a cognitive regulated eating style which involves a person having cognitive control over their hunger but this can also result in binge eating when the people lose control of their cognitions as there is no negative feedback system.

  • Sex

Our sexual motivation is physiologically regulated by hormones. It has been shown that genders experience sexual desire differently and that physical attractiveness is the biggest external stimulus that affects an individual's sexual motivation. People have sexual scripts that are mental representations of a step by step sequence of events for how sexual experiences occur and these can be different for everyone. There is an evolutionary basis for sexual motivation due to reproduction and the survival of the species, although when looking for a mate both genders look for something different in their mate when wanting to reproduce. There are two sex models the traditional sex response cycle (desire, arousal, orgasm, resolution) and the alternative sex model (intimacy needs, sexual stimuli, sexual arousal, sexual desire to continue, enhanced intimacy).

Learning about these different needs as taught me a lot about understanding the motivation behind why you feel the need to just have or do something like eat and drink and also why it is certain things that you wish to eat and drink. Although I do wonder why sleep is not seen as a physiological need here, because I always feel the need for sleep and I'm sure that many other uni students have all experienced the same feeling. Maybe this will be answered later.....

Tutorial 1[edit]

This was my first tutorial for motivation and emotion and before coming to the tutorial I was quiet interested to see how it would run and what it would be like. We first sat in a circle and were told what we would be doing throughout the tutorial, and then we had some icebreaker games to help everyone get to know each other. During this I found out I had the smallest thumb size, I was the person that had been at University of Canberra for the shortest time (although I have now been here 2 yrs), and found that I was with the majority of people with who they voted for and how I had been feeling for the day (tired and stressed).

After this we were able to form our own small groups that would help us with our assessment items in terms of feedback and help with ideas on which direction would work the best for what we wanted to accomplish. In these groups we were to first come up with our own definitions of motivation and then emotion. Then mash these ideas together to form a group definition of both terms. My own definitions were:

  • Motivation - A feeling a person experiences that empowers them to take action towards something.
  • Emotion - A feeling within a person that affects them both internally and externally.

I found that it was quiet difficult to come up with a definition of emotion, although talking about it with my group helped as we all had different views. It was helpful to also go over all the definitions that everyone came up with that can be found atTutorial Definitions.

Brooke Magnanti, the real identity of Belle de Jour.

From here we went into discussing our interests in the subject. We phrased our interests as questions and my question was "How does personality affect motivation, in particular towards goal setting in sport and exercise?" This interests me because I am just extremely interested in personality and I always wonder why some people set goals for themselves and others do not. Also why do some people feel motivated to exercise while others cannot bring themselves to do it? Does this have something to do with their personality? There were other interesting questions put forward by other groups (can be found here Questions and one common one that came through was "why do people commit adultery?" This interested me as I am currently reading a book that was originally a blog of a girl's life as a call girl. It is called The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour, Bell de Jour Information, this is a link to information surrounding the book and this is a link to her Blog. This book is so interesting and it gives insight into why she chose this line of work and it really makes you think about motivating factors behind why some people do things you would never think there could be rational motivators for.

To finish the tutorial off we discussed our textbook chapter and possible structures that could be used when writing the chapter. This was extremely helpful and gave me a lot to think about for the next tutorial where I have to come with a structured plan on how I would like my textbook chapter to flow.

Assessment Progress[edit]

So I have finally after a long and hard decision making process decided on what topic I will write about for my textbook chapter. It is going to be motivation and personality. At the moment I am still deciding which path I am going to go down with this topic, I am not sure whether I will relate motivation and personality to a few different scenarios or just focus on one aspect of it. Although as I was reading through the textbook chapter relating to this topic to gain some ideas I seen that it relates personality to emotion more than personality to motivation, so I am not sure if I should do something similar and discuss how personality effects motivation and emotional states.

Any helpful input that people have on which way I should go with this idea would be helpful. So feel to comment and help me out.

As for the e-journal it is coming along and the more I use wikiversity the more confident I feel about trying new things so I am hoping this progresses through the semester.

Week 4 - Psychological and Social Needs[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our readings and the lecture we looked at the two other kinds of need that an individual experiences; psychological and social needs.

Psychological Needs

According to the lecture on psychological needs they are, "an inherent source of motivation that generates the desire to interact with the environment so as to advance personal growth, social development and psychological well-being." (Lecture on Psychological and Social Needs, by James Neill, Slide 4). This concept of a psychological need is interesting as Reeve (2009), points out, that it is not a need that is like the physiological needs because instead of just reacting to our bodies signals that it gives us we are being proactive and seeking out things in our environment ourselves to satisfy the psychological needs we feel. An organismic approach to motivation consists of two main ideas:

  • people are mainly active (we have a seek out behaviour).
  • there is a person-environment dialectic, this is a two way relationship where an individual can act on the environment and the environment can act on the individual, while both of these components are constantly changing.

The Self-Determination Theory believes that there are three main psychological needs to maintain our well-being.

  • Autonomy

Autonomy is the desire to make our own decisions, so that these decisions show our own wants, desires and interests. We do not want to have constraints on our decision making from other people or the environment. Basically we want our own freedom. "Autonomy is the psychological need to experience self-direction and personal endorsement in the initiation and regulation of one's behaviour" (Reeve, 2009, pg 146). There are three components that make up our feeling of perceived autonomy,

  • Internal locus if causality: understanding the source of the motivated action
  • Volition: unpressured willingness to engage in an activity
  • Perceived choice: sense of choice when in environments where decision-making is flexible and has many options

There are ways that we can support autonomy in other people by using a autonomy-supportive motivating style, and through these supportive ways gain benefits from the autonomy support. The four ways of supporting autonomy are:

  1. Nurture inner motivational resources: find out their own interests and what motivates them.
  2. Rely on informational language: solve problems and not criticise them.
  3. Provide explanatory rationales: communicate value in what they are doing.
  4. Acknowledges and accepts negative affect: we accept a person's negative affect as a reaction to the environment and the feedback they are giving. People supporting autonomy try to work through the negative effect.

There is also another style of helping others it is called a controlling motivational style. This style does not work very well as it usually means the individual you are trying to help must take your ideas and interests and things either go your way or you don't help. The benefits that we can gain from supporting autonomy are:

  • motivation
  • engagement
  • development
  • learning
  • performance (particularly in school)
  • psychological well-being
  • Competence

"Competence is the psychological need to be effective in interactions with the environment, and it reflects the desire to exercise one's capacities and skills, and in doing so we seek out and master optimal challenges" (Reeve, 2009, pg 155). When we interact with our environment we can either find ourselves satisfying our need for competence or frustrating this need. The key environmental conditions that involve our need for competence are:

  • Optimal challenge and flow: Flow is "a state of concentration that involves a holistic absorption and deep involvement in an activity" (Reeve, 2009, pg156). It occurs when we use the skills we have to overcome a challenge in front of us. Although there are emotional consequences that occur during different combinations of challenge and skill level. If challenge outweighs skill then you experience worry and anxiety, it the skill and challenge match you experience flow, and if your skill level outweighs the challenge you experience boredom.

This shows that if given the optimal challenge any activity can be enjoyable with the experience of flow.

  • Interdependency between challenge and feedback: You experience challenge when you perform a task and receive feedback. Therefore we need feedback to experience the feeling of being challenged.
  • Structure: this is needed to involve the need of competence; people are provided with information about the pathways and desired outcomes and receive support and guidance for pursuing these pathways.
  • Failure Tolerance: The thought of failure can motive avoidance from the need to experience challenge and competence. Therefore when challenged we must understand that failure creates learning experiences and therefore we may feel greater competence next time we are challenged.

When we support competence we want to give informational feedback when progress is made and create opportunities for optimal challenge. When we wish to assess our own competence we use feedback tools such as; task generated, self comparison (from past performances), social comparisons, and evaluation of others. If we experience positive feedback then we satisfy the need for competence.

  • Relatedness
We all have the need for relatedness.

"Relatedness is the psychological need to establish close emotional bonds and attachments with other people, and it reflects the desire to be emotionally connected to and interpersonally involved in warm relationships" (Reeve, 2009, pg 162). Due to this need we find ourselves making relationships with people that we trust and look out for us and not with people who do not do these things. This makes me think about some of the relationships I have experienced growing up and how people's relationship to you and how they treat you can change and you can think that someone looks out for your well-being but then they do something that shows that they do not care very much and then your relationship with that person changes. This helps me to understand why relationships change all the time and that the change must happen unconsciously as I never thought oh they aren't looking out for me anymore, you just know and choose to distance yourself from those people. Although this raises the question why do some people stay connected in some relationships when it is no benefit to themselves. Maybe this is influenced by another motivating factor? When trying to involve our relatedness according to Reeve (2009) a way of doing this is through an interaction with others as they promise the possibility of warmth, care and mutual concern. When supporting relatedness we need the perception of a social bond and this bond must show that the person cares for your well-being and likes you. We must be able to show our true self and still be valued for it. Communal relationships are ones of caring such as friendships, family bonds and romantic relationships, while exchange relationships are generally ones between acquaintances and people who do business and this relationship there is no obligation to care about the other person's needs, this type of relationship does not satisfy the relatedness need. Finally relatedness allows internalisation to occur where people will adopt someone else's self values into their own.

Social Needs

Social Needs

Quasi-needs are different to the physiological, psychological and social needs as they are not essential for life, growth and well-being, as the need goes away once we get what we want and may not arise again. They are a situational wants that arise from psychological sense of tension and pressure from within us. They are things like money, a good job, or marriage; it could also be an umbrella when it rains. They are what we lack yet need from the environment urgently. It is the tension and pressure that induces the motivation to seek out this need. A social need is an acquired psychological process that grows out of one's socialisation history that activates emotional responses to a particular need-relevant incentive (Lecture notes by James Neill, slide 34). There are four main incentives that motivate our behaviour to seek out and satisfy the social need these are:

  • Achievement

The need for achievement is the desire to do well relative to a standard of excellence (Reeve, 2009, pg 175). When challenged by a task, self or others we challenge our competence and our standard of excellence. This drives our need for achievement. As with any psychological idea there are theoretical concepts behind them and achievement has two a classical view and a contemporary view. The classical view includes the Atkinson's Model which uses a mathematical model (little scary to get your head around) to account for the need of achievement behaviour (Ts). John Atkinson believed that there three contributing factors that make up achievement behaviour they are; the strength of the person's need for achievement (Ms), the perceived probability of success (Ps) and the incentive value of success (Is).

                                          Therefore Ts = Ms x Ps x Is

The contemporary model is a cognitive approach that concentrates on the goals people set when in achievement situations. There are three conditions that help satisfy the need for achievement they are:

  • Moderately difficult tasks
  • Competition
  • Entrepreneurship

There are two main achievement goals; mastery goals (develop) and performance goals (prove). If we adopt mastery goals we gain benefits through working harder, persisting longer and therefore performing better. If we combine the two models of achievement we develop and integrated model that states there are two different types of achievement performance goals; performance approach and performance avoidance.

  • Affiliation and Intimacy
The need for intimacy.

"Affiliation is the need for establishing, maintaining, or restoring a positive, affective relationship with another person or persons" (Reeve, 2009, pg 192). Affiliation has two components the need for intimacy and the need for approval. Therefore affiliation has both positive aspects such as intimacy and negative aspects such as anxious need to maintain and establish relationships. The conditions that involve the need for affiliation and intimacy are; fear and anxiety, establishing interpersonal networks and maintaining interpersonal networks. The conditions that satisfy the need for affiliation are social acceptance, approval and reassurance. While for intimacy conditions that satisfy this need include having relatedness with a warm, close, reciprocal and enduring relationship.

  • Power
Politicians are seen as being high in the need for power.

"The desire to make the physical and social world conform to one's personal image or plan for it" (Reeve, 2009, pg 195). People that need high power want to have impact, control and influence over something. Conditions that involve and satisfy a need for power include; leadership and relationships, aggressiveness, influential occupations and prestige possessions. Being high in the need for power usually means that people will reach their goals more than people who are not high in the need for power.

From looking at these different types of needs and thinking about how they relate to my own life it had made me realise just how much social needs especially achievement and psychological needs; relatedness and competence mean to me. I consider these things to be very important in my life and they always have been from when I was a child growing up. I always felt the need to develop relationships and hated being left alone; I also always felt the need to succeed in everything I tried. This relates to what was said in the lecture that the components of these needs can be thought of like personality traits, everybody as the needs at some level they just differ in how high or low the need is and the level of the need will usually remain stable throughout life.

This week has been a big learning week that has interested me especially thinking about how personality could possibly affect these types of needs as well. I look forward to moving on from here.

Assessment Progress[edit]

All I can say for this week is that there has not been a lot of progress in terms of the textbook chapter. I have begun researching ideas for which direction I want to take with it but I am still very undecided. I think I will keep researching and then take all my ideas to the tutorial next week where I hope to gain some feedback from my group members and James. Let's hope next week is more productive with my major assessment piece.

Week 5 - Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation and Goal Setting[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lecture and through our readings we learnt about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and goal setting.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

"Intrinsic motivation is the inherent propensity to engage one's interests and to exercise one's capacities and, in doing so to seek out and master optimal challenges" (Reeve, 2009 pg. 111). Intrinsic motivation comes from psychological needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness), we wish to purse behaviours that satisfy our sense of these needs. When someone is intrinsically motivated they do things because they want to and its all their own self. The psychological needs that people feel within themselves comes from the environment and the relations they have around them and the motivations that come from them are spontaneous and natural. There are a few benefits to intrinsic motivation, these are:

  • Persistence - being high in intrinsic motivation means a person will work harder and persist longer on a task. The learning process and depth of engagement is increased when intrinsically motivated.
  • Creativity - Teresa Amabile (1983) proposed the Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity: "People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoyment and satisfaction and challenge of the work itself, rather than by external pressures." (Reeve, 2009 pg 113).
  • Conceptual Understanding/High Quality Learning - when intrinsically motivated people learn more through deeper understanding, they are more flexible, integrate information better, are conceptual and less rigid. They do not just memorise to rote learn something just to repeat it back.
  • Optimal Functioning and Well-Being - more intrinsic goals leads to better functioning and psychological well-being. It has been shown to be linked to greater self esteem, high self actualization and less anxiety and depression.

Extrinsic Motivation

Is an environmentally created reason (incentive or consequence) to take part in an activity. It can be in many forms such as money, food, praise, attention etc. People do things because there is something in it for them and they will get something back from the outside environment. From a distance it is difficult to tell how someone is motivated because the outcome still looks the same and the key difference is what energises and directs the motivation.

External Regulation of Motivation

This comes from the perspective of operant conditioning. This involves a situational cue, a response and a consequence. A type of situational cue is:

  • 'Incentives - they can attract or repel a person towards or away from a initiating a particular behaviour, it comes before the behaviour and its value is learned through experience.

Consequences: (Reinforcers increase behaviour while punishers decrease behaviour)

  • Positive Reinforcers - a stimulus that when given increases the likelihood of a desired behaviour reoccurring again.
  • Negative Reinforcers - a stimulus that when it is removed it increases the likelihood of the desired behaviour occurring again.
  • Punishers - an environmental stimulus that when given decreases the likelihood of the undesired behaviour occurring again. Punishers can have negative effects through negative emotionality, impaired relationship with the punisher, negative modelling (eg a child see an adult hit someone for doing something wrong they may then model the behaviour).

Rewards: An offering by a person to someone else in exchange for something for them. They are seen to be similar to positive reinforcers but the difference is that not all rewards increase behaviour (they can work sometimes and not others) while all positive reinforcers do. Rewards must be seen as important to the particular person receiving it or it will not work in reinforcing the behaviour.

Hidden Costs of Rewards

A reward is given as an intended motivator to a behaviour but there are a few hidden costs of rewards if a person is already intrinsically motivated giving an extrinsic reward as well:

  • undermines the intrinsic motivation instead of strengthening it.
  • it may interfere with the learning process and its quality.
  • it interfere with a individual's self regulation development, meaning that when not rewarded they find it difficult to self regulate.

Although when there is no intrinsic motivation to begin with rewards can act as a good motivated in particular for uninteresting tasks.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

Is a way of predicting the effects that an extrinsic event will have on motivation, either extrinsic or intrinsic. It states that there are two main functions to external events; controlling behaviour and informing competence (help improve). It exists as three different propositions:

  • external events affect intrinsic motivation when they influence perceived locus of causality
  • external events influence intrinsic motivation when they affect a person's perceived competence
  • events that relate to the beginning and regulation of a behaviour have three potential aspects all with functional significance. The salience of these aspects determines the functional significance of the external event.

Types of Extrinsic Motivation

Three types of motivation:

  1. Amotivation
  2. Extrinsic Motivation
  3. Intrinsic Motivation

Types of Extrinsic Motivation:

  • External Regulation - behaviours performed to gain a reward or satisfy an external demand. Eg Studying because the test is near.
  • Introjected Regulation - motivated out of guilt and to boost self-esteem. Eg "I should go for a run," it's the should.
  • Identified Regulation - it has value and is seen as important to an individual.
  • Integrated Regulation - the behaviour is integrated into an already existing value. Eg. I care about the environment so I will recycle.

Motivating Others to do Uninteresting Activities

This can be done by:

  • giving a reason for why it is important and useful.
  • building interest, by first creating it and building it over time.

Building Interest

Situational interest: appeal to the external events, it is more short term. Individual interest: is more stable and content specific and develops over time to become personal to the individual.

Goal Setting and Goal Striving


The TOTE Model

Plans are a cognitive mechanism that motivates our behaviour (Reeve, 2009). People are thought to have both ideal states of behaviours, events and the environment and current (actual) states of these things. When the ideal state and the current state do not match we are faced with incongruity which can act as a motivator. When we are faced with this incongruity we like to make plans that will help us reduce this mismatch. The mismatch is our energy behind motivation and the plan is the directed behaviour for out motivation. This cognitive mechanism behind plans is the test-operate-test-exit (TOTE) model. This model is a repetitive cycle where we initially test to see if our ideal and current state match, then if they do not we operate where we act in some way to make the two states match. After this we test again to see if the two states match, at this point there are two options; if they match we exit the model but if they do not match we operate again and test again and this occurs until the two states match at which point we can exit.

I make a lot of plans and am sometimes called a list maker, I like to know what I need to do and then how I will get there so to learn about this model really interests me and made me realise I was doing this but just did not know it. An example from personal experience would just be getting assignments done, I want to have a completed assignment (ideal state) but I have not even started yet (current state) there is a discrepancy here so I make plans to fix this through things such as writing a certain amount of words a day etc. Every day I test this discrepancy to see if the two states match and if they don't I continue to operate until finally my assignment is finished and both states match where I then exit.

A more recent theory suggests that instead of a concrete model occurring every time a discrepancy is experienced, we actually experience a corrective motivation which can be adjusted and changed throughout the course of trying to reduce the discrepancy between the two states. We can look at many different ways of reducing the mismatch such as changing the plan, the behaviour, or don't undergo a plan at all. We have two main problems coming up with a correct plan and then putting that plan into action and corrective motivation allows us to change these plans if they aren't effective in reducing the discrepancy between the ideal state and the current state.


The mismatch between the current state and the ideal state. With the current state representing an individual's actual state of how their life is and the ideal state representing where they wish their life to be going. It is the discrepancy that provides the motivation and not actually the ideal state. It makes us want to move closer to the ideal state. There are two types of discrepancy:

  • Discrepancy Reduction - based on the discrepancy-detecting feedback that is behind plans and corrective motivation. This revolves around a plan-based corrective motivation and is reactive (to feedback from the environment) and deficiency overcoming.
  • Discrepancy Creation - based on a feed-forward system, where we look to set future, higher goals. It revolves around goal-setting motivation and is proactive and growth pursuing.

Goal Setting

Goals that are more specific and difficult tend to lead to higher achievement.

A goal is whatever an individual is striving to accomplish (Reeve, 2009, pg 211). They create motivation by focusing attention on a discrepancy between present and ideal states of accomplishment. Goal setting is generally extremely beneficial as it increases performance but the type of goal set will determine how much your performance will increase by. There are two factors of goals that will affect an individual's performance:

  • Goal Difficulty - how hard the goal is to complete. Research has shown that as goal difficulty increases a person's performance increases in a linear way. The more difficult the goal the more it motivates and increases effort and therefore performance. Difficult goals increase effort and persistence.
  • Goal Specificity - how clearly it tells the individual what they are doing. It draws attention to what needs to be done and reduces variability in performance. Specific goals increase attention and planning.

These two factors increase performance through the way they motivate an individual, difficulty provides the energy while specificity provides the direction. Some other factors that may affect performance are:

  • ability
  • training
  • resources
  • coaching

Why do goals work:

  • they clarify performance expectations
  • the reduce boredom through feedback
  • they make feedback important (using emotional processes)
  • when obtained they increase pride, satisfaction and feelings of competence


Effective feedback is critical to increasing performance through goal setting. Feedback shows progression towards a goal. It defines an individual's performance and acts as a reinforcer or punisher. Feedback helps in improving learning as it provides an internal motivation but effective instruction is also needed to help improve learning.

Goal Processes

Goal processes are variables that moderate the goal and performance relationship.

  • Goal Acceptance - an individual's decision to accept or reject the goal. Only accepted goals will improve performance. There are four factors that affect whether an extrinsic goal will be accepted or not:
  1. perceived difficulty of the goal, there is generally an inverse (one increases the other decreases) relationship where as goal difficulty increases the likelihood of acceptance decreases.
  2. participation in the goal setting process, more input they are allowed the more likely they will accept the goal
  3. credibility of the person assigning the goal, if they are likeable, trustworthy, respectful, supportive and knowledgeable then the individual is more likely to accept the goal.
  4. extrinsic incentives, increase in perceived benefits increases the likelihood of them accepting the goal.
  • Goal Choice - ideal goal, actual goal, minimal goal. Four predictors of goal choice:
  1. ability
  2. past performance
  3. self-efficacy
  4. incentives
  • Short vs. Long Term Goal Setting - Must first reach short term goals in order to reach a long term goal. Short term goals can be more beneficial then long term goals as they provide immediate feedback and reinforcement. This is why a long term goal should consist of a number of shorter term goals.

Downfalls of Goal Setting

  • increased stress
  • possibility for failure
  • non-goal areas ignored
  • short-range thinking
  • cheating (this can occur when the focus is more on achieving the goal rather than how you reach them)
  • undermines intrinsic motivation (which can reduce creativity)

Goal Striving

Implementation Intentions

A specific goal-directed action that is initiated at an anticipated future outcome. Two steps:

  1. Set the goal (what, when, where)
  2. Planning how to attain the goal, getting started (the what, when and where) despite distractions, persisting despite difficulties and setbacks, resuming once an interruption occurs


These two chapters gave me a lot to think about especially in relation to my own life as these are two topics I have always be interested in. Learning about intrinsic motivation helped me understand my own motivation as much better. I learnt that intrinsic motivation is a more useful motivator than extrinsic motivation because it increases depth or learning, creativity, more persistence and a greater well-being. I believe this to be extremely true as seen through my own life examples, such as assignments and in particular even this one of writing our e-portfolio. If we are intrinsically motivated to complete an assignment because we enjoy the topic or we just want to do it for ourselves and no external reward, I see that I will definitely work harder at the assignment, even though I don't really consider it to be hard work as I really enjoy it. I'm sure everyone when they experience this feeling they also notice they feel better about themselves, they are not as stressed about getting the work done (improved well-being) and also you will tend to actually get very good results from your efforts. I found this in my life as before I moved to Canberra to study psychology and coaching science, I began a degree in Wollongong. This degree was very different to what I am doing now it revolved around maths and physics and I did not enjoy and as much as I hate to admit this the main reason I continued with degree before deciding to change was because of the external rewards associated with that degree such as a well paid job at the end. I thought I was doing ok at this degree, yes I found it extremely difficult, I had no internal motivation, I had to make myself sit down to study and work on my assignments and I was continually stressed everyday (just ask my mum)! But I still thought I was ok because I did not know anything different and I did not understand there could be a different in my motivation. Then I changed degrees to the one I am currently doing and I love it, straight away I noticed a difference, I was never as stressed, I actually loved what I was learning, it was so interesting to me. Straight away I noticed an improvement in why well-being through reduced stress and anxiety, I had greater persistence with making myself understand the material and I also found a learnt more through deeper processing. This was seen as I loved to tell everyone what I was learning because I found it so interesting but by doing this and actually having to tell someone else about I noticed that I knew the material really well and at a deeper level as I was not just repeating it like it was rope learnt. As a result straight away I noticed an increase in my results from the other degree which was also then acted as another motivating tool to do well because I knew I could. So from my life I have definitely learnt being intrinsically motivated towards something is a very beneficial thing and it also showed me how extrinsic motivation will only work when the incentives are important to. I found this when I sat down and thought about the degree I was doing in Wollongong and how I could possibly be doing it for a long time, yes the money would be good but when I thought about it, it didn't really matter to me all that much. This shows the incentives for completing something must be relevant to the individual otherwise they will not work.

Another part of this topic I found interesting and was able to relate to was the idea of amotivation. Amotivation is not motivation or lack of motivation. Now I'm sure as being uni students the majority have experienced this at some point during our lives. It's like when you have those days where you just can't bring yourself to get out of bed. You have no motivation to do anything that day, you just want to lie in bed or in front of the tv and just do nothing. So what do we do if we feel like this? Or our friend feels like this? Learning how to motivate someone and yourself, I thought was a very important part of this chapter, one because it helps understand your own motives and two it can be applied in some many ways. I especially find it useful to know has I am also studying coaching science, so this knowledge is beneficial to me when trying to teach an athlete something or trying to motivate them to train and train harder. Learning how to build interest also compliments this as I can also apply this to my coaching, I now know it is better to motivate them through the individual not through the situation as the motivation will last longer and be more intrinsic. I also believe when trying to motivate someone if you show your own passion and enthusiasm for something then they can take a little of this and put it towards their own motivation. I have seen this when doing group study on a topic that I may be very interested in but my partner is not so if I show my interest then they seem to take this on and start to enjoy it themselves.

Learning about goal setting definitely sparked my interest as it is something I seem to do every day. I now understand how goal setting and planning work as motivators, by creating the discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be. This gives us energy to change this discrepancy and directs towards where we want to go. So how do we reduce this discrepancy? By changing the plan we have or the behaviour we can reduce the discrepancy. I have definitely done this before, I set goals for my self such as get 500 words written today and sometimes things come up and I don't reach that goal and so i begin to feel anxiety and stress come on so instead of working more sometimes I will change the plan, say I only really needed to get 300 words done today. So now I have achieved my goal and lost my feeling of discrepancy. This shows me how highly motivating discrepancy can be especially to me as I am someone that will stress quite a bit and experience anxiety so I am highly motivated to reduce this feeling and I tend to work hard to achieve this.

As I said goal setting is something I do often and I always have. I believe that it works, as the goal setting theory says if an individual sets higher and more specific goals they will generally achieve more. I have generally always set myself fairly high goals throughout different areas of my life such as sport, academic work and with family and friends. I have found through setting these high goals I have generally always achieved what I wanted to and I think this is a very important thing that most people should apply to their own lives. It also helps in the coaching side of things as I learnt last semester in the unit motor control. By setting your athletes higher goals and specific goals they generally will work harder to achieve them and if they do this boosts their confidence and performance. Although there are some downfalls to high goal setting as I have experienced myself. By setting high goals you can increase stress and possibly for failure. This is what I have experienced before, the higher the goal the more pressure, therefore the more stress I experience. Also there have been times when I have set myself up for a high goal and not quiet achieved it, this led to a feeling of failure even though really I did not miss the goal by much and I still did extremely well by most people's standards but it just was not good enough for me. I found this to be a very negative experience but it taught me a lot in relation to goal setting, I think yes we should all strive for the highest we THINK we can achieve but at the same time if we don't quiet reach the goal, we need to put in into perspective and still see the positives within what we have achieved.

Finally feedback is another aspect I feel is important, to know we are on the right track to achieving our goals helps our confidence and allows us to progress further. In this unit in particular the feedback as been extremely helpful, I know what I need to improve to achieve my goal and what I am already doing well with. Also setting short term goals to eventually reach a bigger, longer term goal is an important idea. It is very similar to the idea of shaping in learning theories. We set ourselves smaller goals so we do not become overwhelmed and quit before we have really begun. Shaping uses a similar principle such that by slightly increasing efforts we can eventually shape ourselves to reach our end goal.

Overall these topics have been very interesting and have taught me a lot. They made me think a lot about my own life and experiences and how the concepts of motivation have already to applied to my life and how I can now apply some more.

Tutorial 2[edit]

This week in my second tutorial we discussed needs.

Fist we had an Introduction to Needs. We talked about what needs are and how they are organised. In particular we discussed Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This pyramid of needs puts different types of needs in strata that start from the bottom which is the most important need to us to the top. Although in the tutorial we were asked to think critically about this pyramid and we came up with a few criticisms:

  • that we don't have to necessarily have satisfied or meet all the needs below to move up to higher needs
  • it may depend on how dominate the need is to us, one need may be more important to us then someone else and they may not feel they have to satisfy that particular need
  • the needs could go backwards, for example you could be at a certain point on the pyramid with all needs below you fulfilled and then something in your life could change such as a relationship and then you have to go back down the pyramid as other needs have become more important and need satisfying
  • these needs that are presented in the pyramid could be different for every culture and some cultures may place the needs in different places according to how important they are to their culture
Diagram of the brain showing anatomical positions of key brain structures.

After this we talked about the motivated and emotional brain. We had to complete an activity where we had to label the different brain structures that are associated motivation and emotion. After this we discussed the motivational and emotional states that these brain structures create paying close attention to which structure does what such as make us approach or avoidant orientated (see table).

Approach Orientated States and Structures

Brain Structure Associated motivational and emotional experience
Hypothalamus Pleasurable feelings associated with feeding, drinking and mating
Medial Forebrain Bundle Pleasure, reinforcement
Orbitofrontal Cortext Learning the incentive value of events, making choices
Septal Area Pleasure centre associated with sociability, sexuality
Nucleas Accumbens Pleasure experience of reward, hotspot for liking
Anterior Cingulate Cortext Mood, volition, making choices
Cerebral Cortext (Frontal Lobes) Making plans, setting goals, formulating intentions
Left Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext Approach motivational and emotional tendencies
Medial Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext Learning response-outcome contingencies that underlie perceived control beliefs and, mastery motivation

Avoidance Orientated States and Structures

Brain Structure Associated motivational or emotional experience
Right Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext Withdrawal motivational and emotional tendencies
Amygdala Detecting and responding to threat and danger (eg via fear, anger and anxiety)
Hippocampus Detecting and responding to threat and danger (eg via fear, anger and anxiety)

We also discussed neurotransmitters and hormones and the relation they have to motivation.

After this physiological needs were discussed briefly before moving on to the psychological needs. Whist talking about this we took The General Orientation Scale, this survey has a link between motivation and personality which is exactly what my textbook chapter is about so I found it very useful and interesting and it gave me something more to consider when writing my chapter. There were three rating scales and if high in it indicated a certain motivational type, one for autonomy which indicated an internal motivation/personality type, two was control which indicated extrinsic motivation/personality type and finally impersonal which indicated that you were not controlled or motivated by anyone or anything (not extrinsic or intrinsic). The General Causality Orientations Scale (GCOS)

The last type of need to be discussed was the social needs with everyone going through a revision of information from the lecture. Finally we ended with a discussion about our textbook chapter where we got into our groups and talked about our ideas with each other. I found this activity very helpful and give me a starting point and a direction for my assignment.

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week I have tried to make some progress with ideas surrounding my text book chapter. I tried to come up with a basic idea of a plan for how my textbook chapter would flow and what type of information I would like to include in it. It helped going to the tutorial and being able to bounce some ideas off my group members and getting feedback from both James and them. My first idea for a plan was to have an introduction of the topic on personality and motivation, which includes focus questions to give the reader of what my textbook chapter would cover. Then I thought of having some information about personality and a few different theories surrounding this, I would maybe in this include a link to an online personality test that I took my self last year in the personality and individual differences unit, so I could give the reader an idea of their own personality and how they would relate to the motivational aspects I would discuss. Then I would like to go on to discuss how different personality types or traits affect motivation in general. Finally I thought I could an application section where I would discuss how different personality types or traits affect specific examples like either exercising, dieting, goal setting or study habits. I would finish with a summary of the chapter and maybe include some revision questions about the chapter.

This was my first very basic plan, I still had many more things I needed to sort out like whether I should relate a specific section or personalities effect on emotion as this is what the textbook covers. From talking in the tutorial I decided to include focus questions to begin with to make sure that I would not go to broad on the topic and just stick to specific areas that I wanted to. An idea came up that I could also take a history perspective of personality and see how the idea of personality throughout history as changed and how that has changed the idea of people's motivation. Finally I could think of personality in terms of people being extrinsically or intrinsically motivated. As in the tutorial we did a survey which related to peoples motivations and how this is affected by their personality. So far these are the basic ideas I have, I now have to develop this further through more research.

At this point I am feeling a lot more confident about my e-portfolio; I feel I am getting the hang out of it and that I am heading in the right direction. It is definitely not as scary as it was to me a few weeks ago and now I hope I can continue learning and improving through the weeks left.

Week 6 - Personal Control beliefs and the Self and its Strivings[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lecture and readings I learnt about personal control beliefs and the self and its strivings. This is what I have learnt so far:

Personal Control Beliefs

Motivation to Exercise Personal Control

Individual's wish to have control over their environments, this is because they want to make more positive outcomes more likely and more negative outcomes more unlikely. Prediction of an individual exercising personal control is based on their belief that they can influence results favourably. The strength of an individual's personal control is linked to their experiences on achievement of personal control.

  • Two Kinds of Expectancy
  1. Efficacy expectations - is an individual's opinion of whether they can perform a particular act or take a certain course of action. These are questions such as can I do it? These expectancies influence if an individual will perform in a certain way.
  2. Outcome expectations - is an individual's opinion of once they take a certain course of action or perform an act will it cause the outcome. These are questions such as will what I do work? These expectancies influence if once the behaviour is performed whether it will cause the outcome.

For behaviour to be motivated both of these expectations must be fairly high but if they are not then avoidance and reluctance is more likely to occur.

  • Perceived Control: Self, Action and Control

This is alternative terminology for the two kinds of expectancies relating person, behaviour and outcome. This idea related self, action and control. Perceived control is about the self and control. With the two expectations above influencing all three factors to generate perceived control.


Self-efficacy is defined as how well one will cope with a situation, given the skills one possesses and the circumstances one faces (Reeve, 2009, p.233). It based on how well an individual believes their own abilities will translate into performance. The opposite of self-efficacy is self-doubt which affects an individual's effective thinking and decision making which can lead to anxiety and tension. Self-efficacy predicts the motivational balance between wanting to give it a go and anxiety and avoidance of a task.

  • Sources of Self-efficacy

- Personal Behaviour History: whether they have done it before.

- Vicarious Experience: watching someone else perform the same task before you do it (Modelling).

- Verbal Persuasion: Someone else convincing you that you can perform the task (Pep Talk).

- Physiological State: what state you are in can affect how confident you feel about performing a task.

  • Effects of Self-efficacy on Behaviour

- Choice: selection of activities and environments, either approach or avoidance.

- Effort and Persistence: their self-efficacy influences how much effort they put into a task and how long they will persist at the task.

- Thinking and Decision Making

- Emotionality: self-efficacy will affect your emotions before starting a task and while completing a task.

  • Empowerment

"Empowerment involves processing the knowledge, skills, and beliefs that allow people to exert control over their lives" (Reeve, 2009, p.241). Therefore empowerment involves three important concepts:

- Knowledge, of what to do

- Skills, be able to actually do the task

- Self-efficacy, believe they can complete the task

  • Empowering People: Mastery Model
Motivational speakers can help empower people.

This is a program to empower people through self-efficacy training. A leader takes a group through seven steps that address the four aspects of effects of self-efficacy in the hope the individual's self-efficacy will improve.

Mastery Beliefs

Mastery beliefs are the extent of perceived control one has over attaining desirable outcomes and preventing aversive ones. When personal beliefs are strong there is a strong link between actions and outcomes but the weaker the beliefs the weaker the link between these two factors.

  • Ways of Coping

How an individual copes with a situation affects how much mastery they have over outcomes. Some ways are:

- approach vs avoidance

- social vs solitary

- proactive vs reactive

- direct vs indirect

- control vs escape

- alloplatic vs autoplastic

- problem focused vs emotion focused

  • Mastery Vs Helplessness

Individuals learn to react to failure in different ways, two are:

- Mastery Motivational Orientation: this is having a hardy, resistant idea of the self and responding by remaining focused and still aiming for achievement even when there are difficulties and setbacks. They focus on how to overcome to problems that brought on failure.

- Helpless Motivational Orientation: this is having a fragile idea of self and responding to failure by giving up and acting like the situation is out of their control. They focus on why they are failing usually due to thinking they have low ability.

Learned Helplessness

"Learned helplessness is the psychological state that results when an individual expects that life's outcomes are uncontrollable" (Reeve, 2009, p.244). Learned helplessness comes from the outcome expectancies, this is where people believe they have no control over what outcomes they will receive when they perform a behaviour, therefore they develop a learned helplessness. They do not believe that can attain what they wish to or prevent what they want to.

  • Learned Helplessness shown through Experiments

A study conducted by Seligman and Maier (1967), used dogs with three different conditions; the first group received an inescapable shock, the second an escapable shock and the third no shock. In the first group the shocks were random and no matter what they did they could not escape the shock so they received it for 5 secs so the outcome was uncontrollable. In the second group the shock was escapable, the dogs had to press a button on the wall, and therefore the outcome was controllable. This was the learning phase of the experiment. In the second phase all dogs were placed in a box where they had a warning light and signal to the oncoming shock and they also had a barrier the dogs could jump over to escape the shock. Therefore all dogs had a controlling situation where the shock could be prevented. The results showed that the dogs in group one did not escape the shock but just laid down and accepted it even though they could escape it while the dogs in the second group quickly learned to escape the shock from the warning signals given. This shows even though escape was possible the dogs did not because they had learnt helplessness.

Sometime later researchers began testing to see if this same effect they had found in animals applied to humans. They found that it did through the use of problem solving, where one group had a controllable condition and the other did not, when asked to solve some easier problems the people in the first condition solved many more and it was shown that the people in the uncontrollable condition had learned helplessness; they just could not solve the problems.

  • Components of Learned Helplessness
  1. Contingency: an objective relationship between an individual's behaviour and the environment's outcomes. This component is on a continuum ranging from uncontrollable and random to controllable.
  2. Cognition: there are three subjective personal control beliefs an individual has from past experiences these are; biases (illusion of control), attributions (explanations of why we do or do not have control) and expectancies.
  3. Behaviour: an individual has passive to active (based on a continuum) coping behaviour for any situation. Passive behaviour relates to helplessness and active related to feelings of coping and control.

  • Effects of Helplessness

There are three losses that come from an individual feeling helpless, these are:

  1. Motivational losses: this is a decreased willingness to try.
  2. Learning losses: this is an acquired pessimistic idea set that interferes with an individual's ability to learn new response-outcome contingencies.
  3. Emotional losses: this is when energy depleting emotions such as lethargic and depressive occur when an individual needs active and assertive emotions.

  • Helplessness and Depression

Most people would think that learned helplessness and depression would go hand in hand as they both have the same expectancies. Although this has been found not to be the case. A study conducted by Alloy and Abramson (1979), looked at the relationship between perceived control and depression. They found individuals with depression are not more prone to learned helplessness than those without depression. Also the majority of people that misjudged their control were non depressed participants.

  • Explanatory Style

Explanatory style a cognitive based personality variable that is relatively stable and helps individual explain why bad things happen to them. There are two explanatory styles, these are:

An optimistic explanatory style would seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty.

- Optimistic explanatory style: this is where an individual will explain bad things by using attributions that are unstable and controllable. These people take credit for things going right and accept little or no blame for things going wrong. They are equipped with the self serving bias of an illusion of control and they ignore negative self-related information and they have the capacity to distort reality in a way that enhances self-esteem and efficacy and promotes an optimistic view of the future.

- Pessimistic explanatory style: this is where an individual will explain bad things by using attributions that are stable and uncontrollable. Leads individuals towards giving up when there is failure and setbacks.

Reactance Theory

Reactance refers to the psychological and behavioural attempt at re-establishing ("reacting against") an eliminated or threatened freedom (Reeve, 2009, p.256).

  • Reactance and Helplessness

Reactance theory predicts that people will only experience reactance if they expect to have some control over outcomes. If an individual believes they are able to control an outcome and the outcome is then uncontrollable this arouses reactance. An individual will fight back and try to gain control over the outcome. If after a number of attempts no control is gained then the individual will fall into a state of learned helplessness where they believe nothing they do can influence the situation or outcome.

The Self and its Strivings

The Self

There are four main problems that need to be looked when discussing the motivational basis of the self and its strivings, these are:

- defining or creating the self: wonder who we are, our self-concept motivates us

- relating the self to society: wonder how we want to relate to others, our identity motivates us

- discovering and developing personal potential: explore what does and does not interest us, we have a motivational struggle that reflects agency

- managing or regulating the self: reflect on our capacities, self-regulation makes competent functioning more likely

  • Self Constructs

- Self-esteem: general feelings of self-worth or self-value

- Self-efficacy: beliefs about one's ability to perform specific tasks

- Self-confidence: belief in one's personal worth and likelihood of succeeding. Self-confidence is a combination of the first two

- Self-concept: nature and organisation of beliefs about one's self


Self concepts are an individual's mental representations of themselves. Self concepts are developed through past experiences and the feedback they receive from what they do in their daily lives.

  • Self Schemas

Are a set of beliefs an individual has bout themself, they are cognitive generalisations and are domain specific. The domains that are most important to an individual are the beliefs they hold about their own self-concept. There are benefits to having a well developed self-schema these are; they can provide information about the self with relative ease, an individual can quickly retrieve self related behavioural evidence from the domains, they can confidently predict their own behaviour in a certain domain, and they can resist counter schematic information about themselves.

  • Motivational Properties

Self schemas can provide motivation in two main ways; one is a self schema directs behaviour to gain consistent information about their self schema. Individuals are motivated towards providing a consistent self, this means they want to confirm their view of themself and prevent feedback they goes against their self view. Individuals behave in self schema consistent ways to prevent feelings of aversive motivational tension. If this tension is experienced then people are motivated to restore the consistency they want. A second motivational way is through the motivation for an individual to change the present self into the future self they desire. Individuals are motivated towards a possible self. This can be achieved through goal setting and helps in the development of an individual's self concept.

  • Consistent Self

Individuals want to maintain a consistent self concept and to do this they go out and seek information about themselves that is consistent with their self schemas. If they encounter information that is conflicting of their self schemas they can take a self verification process to reduce this conflict. This process involves many different pathways depending on the level of conflict to try and resolve the problem.

So why do people self verify? There are three main reasons, one they want to know themselves, two they want to known the world is predictable and three, they want to avoid interactions that might cause misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations.

  • Possible Selves

Individuals wish to change the present self into a future self concept. They are motivated to reach this self through goals they set. The possible self is a mental representation of attributes, characteristics and abilities that an individual does not yet possess. Possible selves are mostly social in origin, as the individual observes the selves modelled by others. The possible self's motivational role helps to link the present self to ways that will allow them to become the future self. Possible selves help individuals to understand how the self develops. Possible selves allow the individual to see themselves as a dynamic entity that has a past, present and future. They see past experiences, where they are now and where they would like to be.

  • Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological uncomfortable state that is experience when the idea of yourself and your actions do not match. This is also when two beliefs do not match up within an individual, when this is experiences people are motivated to take action to reduce or eliminate this uncomfortable feeling they experience. This is done by one of four ways, removing the dissonant belief, reducing the importance of the dissonant belief, adding a new consonant belief or increasing the importance of the consonant belief. These four ways are known as coping strategies for cognitive dissonance.

Dissonance arousing situations are brought on by four main experiences these are;

- Choice: people choose between alternatives

- Insufficient justification: is how individuals explain their behaviours when they have little or no external prompting

- Effort justification: they amount of effort you put in must also equal the amount of importance you have on that belief. If an individual performs an extreme behaviour then they must also have a corresponding extreme value

- New information: individuals experience so much new information they give themselves so many opportunities to contradict their beliefs

Motivational processes underlying cognitive dissonance are brought on when an individual experiences the above four situations. Once these situations have been experienced and negative feelings arise an individual is motivated to reduce these feelings and this is done through the four main coping strategies suggested to reduce cognitive dissonance.


Being a student can be part of someone's identity.

Identity is how the self relates to society; it is the essence of who we are within a cultural context. One an individual takes on a role such as mother or student, this begins to make up their identity and influences the way they behave. These roles can direct an individual towards some behaviours (identity-confirming behaviours) and to avoid other behaviours (identity-disconfirming behaviours). When people take on roles they act in certain ways according to those roles and if they change roles then their behaviour also changes. We all have many identities and we pick which identity we will take on based on the situation we are in.

  • Affect Control Theory

Motivation and emotion produce:

- Identity-Confirming Behaviours

- Identity-Restoring Behaviours

People behave in ways that minimises affective deflection. Identities motivate behaviour; people who have a nice identity will take part in nice behaviours. Also affective deflections energise behaviour such that when people behave in identity-conflicting ways the affective deflection that is produced energises an identity-restoring behaviour.


Agency is the self as action and development from within, as innate processes and motivations (Reeve, 2009, p.281).

  • Self as Action and Development from Within

We all possess a core self that is energised by innate motivation and directed by the inherent development processes of differentiation and integration. Differentiation expands and elaborates the self into ever-increasing complexity, while integration combines the emerging complexity into a logical whole, therefore allowing us to have a single, whole self. Internalisation is another aspect of self, this is where we transform once set external ways of behaving becomes internal ones. Not all of our self structures are true as some are part of our core self others only come out when we interact with society.

The motivation to develop agency comes from our psychological needs; autonomy, competence and relatedness and generally intrinsic motivation is associated with active part of developing our self.

  • Self Concordance

This is when people decide to pursue goals that are congruent or "concordant" with their core self (Reeve, 2009, p.284). There are two questions asked by the self concordance model and these are; how do people decide what to strive for in their lives and how does this personal striving process sometimes nurture the self and other times diminish well-being? According to the model first an individual sets a goal then they sustain some effort towards this goal for a period of time then there is goal attainment followed by need satisfying experiences and finally changes in well-being. An individual's goals may or may not represent the self's inherent needs and intrinsic goals or indentified goals represent self-concordant goals. While introjected and extrinsic goals represent self-discordant goals. With self-concordant goals generating greater sustained effort towards the goal.


Self-regulation is the metacognitive monitoring and evaluating of one's ongoing effort to attain the goals one seeks (Reeve, 2009, p.289). Self-regulation is an ongoing, cyclical process that involves three components;

- forethought: this is goal setting and strategic planning

- action: performing behaviours towards the goals

- self-regulation: from feedback given from performing action we self-monitor (keep track of how we are going) and self-evaluate (comparing current state to where we want to be)

  • Developing more Competent Self-regulation

Lack of self-regulation skill means an individual is unable to regulate their goals, intentions and coping strategies when in a new situation. They can learn to improve their self-regulatory process through social learning processes by; first observing an expert model, then imitating the model, then internalising the standards, leading to a improvement. An individual is then able to regulate their own goals, behaviours and standards in the new domain. They are competent in the self-regulatory process.


I found the content this week a little more difficult to reflect on as some of it was hard to get my head around the concepts especially some relating to the self and strivings. From the personal control beliefs I found it very true that we all want to have control over our environment. No one likes things to be unexpected and take us off guard in case we are not equipped to handle that type of situation. This definitely applies to me as I HATE surprises, I like things to stable, in my control and I'm not even a big fan of change. So when I feel I do not have control over what I am doing I can get very stressed and upset. This can also be applied to group work we have to complete at university, depending on the group you are put in. When working with others you cannot have complete control over the situation as you can't control them or what they do (or don't do). This can cause negative feelings and provide a motivating source for our behaviour, as we are motivated to gain as much control as we can, so in a group task we may take on the majority of the responsibility or do all the work just in case the other person does not do theirs. We all want to be in control!

Self-efficacy is an important concept in understanding the level of control we have in different situations. Our self-efficacy is how much we believe we can achieve an outcome, and it can affect our behaviours by determining what types of tasks we take on and how much effort we will put into those tasks. Having a high self-efficacy means we will generally take on greater task and persist longer at them because we have the belief in ourselves that we have control over the situation and we can achieve what we want to. Learning how to gain self-efficacy is a useful tool as I believe self-efficacy is important for us succeed in what we want to. Also learning this will help me apply it to my coaching and teaching methods so I can help my athletes to be the best they can be. So the gain a higher self-efficacy we can improve it through past experiences, by watching others, by persuading them they can achieve what they want to achieve and by helping them understand their physiological states.

Learned helplessness is an interesting concept that I had never really overly thought about before. The idea that people can learn to be helpless in nearly every situation is quiet astonishing. But when you think about it I'm sure we have all experienced some people like this. They always think everything happens to them so they don't really ever both trying with anything anymore because they do not see the point. They have no motivation to achieve, they would rather just accept that they cannot do it and they will never get anywhere. With my own experience with someone in this situation I found them to be so negative all the time, everything is bad and they find it hard to be positive at all. They told me they tried at things and it just didn't work for them so they don't see what they can do now. The hardest thing I found about being around someone like this is you being to feel negative and find it hard to be positive, it is also extremely hard to motivate them. I believe it is very important to help someone to not feel helpless all the time and I think the best way to do this is by teaching them that they aren't through their own experiences.

When learning about the self and its strivings, the first thing I noticed was how similar all of these concepts are to social psychology, as I am also studying that unit at the moment. This helped with my understanding of the ideas presented in this part of the course as I was able to take examples from both units and deepen my own understanding of the material. The first idea surrounding the self is our self-concept and the motivational links towards our self-concept are very similar to our goal setting motivation. As in both ideas there is a discrepancy present that provides our motivation towards something. In relation to our self-concept we are motivated by a discrepancy between our actual self and a possible self. We see what we can be and we are motivated to achieve that. Another motivating tool surrounding our self is, we are motivated to show consistency regarding our own self-concept. This applies to me as part of my self-concept is I believe I am quite a sociable person, so I am motivated to participate in situations that proves this true. I believe I like social gatherings, I can generally start a conversation with someone I do not know and I can generally make friends easily so I do things that prove these are true. Cognitive dissonance is another related idea to our self-concept. This is when we have a belief in something but then we perform an action that goes against this belief and this causes negative affect feelings. This is an important idea discussed in social psychology as it helps to understand why we do what we do and why others do what they do. This theory provides us with ways we can reduce the negative feelings associated with cognitive dissonance such as; removing the belief, reducing the importance of the belief, introducing s constant belief and increasing the importance of this constant belief. These ways of reducing cognitive dissonance are all ways of motivating us.

How identity is how we relate to society, my identity is made up of me being a student, a sister, a daughter and a friend. To just name a few. Our identity motivates us to confirm these beliefs in ourselves and to restore any beliefs that may have been lost. Agency is how we see ourselves as action and development within. This idea took me a while to understand but what I got from it was we are motivated by our psychological needs (autonomy, competence and relatedness) to develop our agency within us. This is how we develop ourselves and move forward towards what we want to be. Self regulation is the final part of our self and its strivings and this involves us evaluating how well we are going at achieving our goals, this is done through feedback that we self monitor.

These topics regarding the self, its strivings and ideas about our control allow for deep thinking about our own selves and how we relate to all of these topics. I think this has been the most reflective chapter as it's all about you and what makes you.

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week I have only been looking at more research and trying to gather as much as I can to help me decide exactly which way I would like to go with my textbook chapter. So now just a lot more researching to do to come up with a definite plan and then to start my draft....

Week 7[edit]

Tutorial 3[edit]

This tutorial was about the self and goals, we were introduced to a more applied side of motivation. It was a very interesting and eye opening tutorial that was very enjoyable.

The first thing that was discussed was student motivation, in particular what motivates students to go to university. Through our general discussion in the class we came up with:

  • career opportunities
  • the desire to learn
  • social opportunities
  • self exploration
  • avoiding (work or doing nothing)
  • parent/family expectations

One motivation that we did not come up with but could quiet possibly be a motivator was altruism, going to be able to help people or society or the planet. After this discussion we completed the University Student Survey and the University Students Outcome Survey. My results showed that my main motivations are career development and social opportunities and I was above the student average for social motivation. Links to student motivation survey and student averages:

The results showed that we have many different motivational factors that influence what we do. Clary and Slayder came up with the Functionalist Perspective which is:

                             Satisfaction = the match between our motivation and outcome

After discussing student motivation we moved on to Learned Optimism (Personal Control and Goal Setting). Discussing learned optimism was different to what we discussed in the lecture which was on learned helplessness. We completed a Learned Optimism Test, which showed that my results we very different to what I would have thought they would have been. My overall optimism was rated very pessimistic with a score of -4, which was shocking as I really don't believe that I am that pessimistic, I am quite a happy person with a pretty good outlook on life, although I do stress about things. Some of the class also had results that they did not think indicated their true optimism. We came up with some reasons as to why this could be the case which were the test could be a little outdated and more culturally specific towards an American culture. To take the Learned Optimism test and see how it rates yourself see here - Learned Optimism test (Seligman, 1991)

We finished the tutorial by discussing the self in particular life effectiveness, we took a Life Effectiveness Questionnaire that assessed how well we can handle the demands of life. It is related to our own self concept and my scores we fairly high on all eight constructs, although we did not mark our questionnaire. We discussed this concept in relation to people's changes in life effectiveness during outdoor education programs. It showed that when people first begin the program their life effectiveness drops but then rises throughout the program and then when taken once more a few weeks after the program it has slightly dropped. This shows how our life effectiveness can change in relation to certain things and what we are doing.

At the end of the tutorial we talked about advanced searching to get the best possible resources for our textbook chapter which was very helpful and will hopefully benefit myself through the research journey.

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week has been a slow week in terms of the textbook chapter, hopefully next week during the break it will be more production and progress further.

Week 9 - Nature of Emotion[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lectures and readings we started the emotion part of the unit. We looked at an introduction to emotion focusing on five main questions. What I learnt from this week:

Nature of Emotion

What is Emotion

Happiness is an emotion made up of four dimensions.

The first thing I learnt from this chapter is that it is actually quite difficult to define emotion. Emotions are more complex then what I knew, there are actually four dimensions of emotion, these are:

  • Feelings - these are the subjective experience, it is a phenomenological awareness and the aspects of feelings come from cognitive processes
  • Bodily Arousal - this includes our neural and physiological activation, this is how our bodily prepares for action and relates to how we cope with our emotions. This is the motor response to emotion
  • Sense of Purpose - this is the part that gives emotion a goal-directed motivation to be able to cope with the circumstances. This part of emotion helps to explain why we do what we do, it gives us our purpose. This is the functional part of emotion
  • Social-Expressive - This is the communication aspect of emotion. This part explains how our private experiences become public expressions. This is mainly done through nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, postures and gestures but can also include verbal communication as well

So now I learnt the main components of emotion maybe this can help me to understand how to define emotion. The definition given by Reeve (2009) is "emotions are short-lived, feeling-arousal, purposive, expressive phenomena that help us adapt to the opportunities and challenges we face during important life events." Emotion is a psychological construct that brings all of these aspects and components together. Each of these four components are all interconnected and relate to each other in some way, meaning if one is activated by emotion the others will soon follow, for example a feeling is activated which in turn changes the muscles in our body, which is then expressed publically.

What is the relationship between emotion and motivation? Emotion and motivation are related in two ways:

  • Emotions are a type of motivator as they have the power to energise and direct behaviour
  • Emotions sever as a way of telling us how we are coping

First we have Emotion as Motivation, emotions create feelings which in turn causes arousal within the body, this is the energising part of motivation then the emotion creates a purpose and gives us a goal which is how emotions direct our behaviour. These are the components of motivation and this is how emotion can act as a motivating tool.

Secondly we have Emotion as Readout, emotions are our own personal readout system that indicates to us whether we are adapting well or not. Positive emotions indicate that everything is going well why negative emotions indicate to us that things are not going very well. They indicate to us whether our other motive states are going well or not through either satisfied or frustrated emotions.

What Causes Emotion

Expressing emotions as an infant supports the biological perspective relating to emotion.

The main ongoing debate on what causes emotions is between whether they are caused by a biological or cognitive phenomena.

  • Biological Perspective - Izard (1989) thought that the main reason why emotions are biological is because young infants are able to express emotions relating to different situations even though they have not developed the cognitive abilities to understand and activate the emotions. He believes that the majority of emotional processing is automatic and unconscious. Ekman (1992) also gave another biological perspective for the cause of emotions, he believe that emotions occur so rapidly and are very short in duration that sometimes they occur even before we are consciously aware of them. He believes they occur automatically and are involuntarily. Finally Panksepp (1982, 1994) also believed that emotions have a biological basis, he thought emotions arise from a genetically endowed neural circuits that regulate brain activity. He has three main findings that support his theory these are; one is emotional states are difficult to verbalise so therefore there must be a noncognitive origin, second emotional experiences can be brought on through stimulation of the brain and muscles and thirdly emotions are seen in infants and animals.
  • Cognitive Perspective - Lazarus (1984, 1991a, 1991b) takes a cognitive perspective he believes we need to first understand the event that is occurring in front of us and what implications it will have for our well-being because if we don't understand this then we have no need to react emotionally to the event. We have to understand the meaning of the event first. Scherer (1994a, 1997) identified several cognitive appraisals that generate emotional experiences. How we understand the situation and the cognitive processes that come from this brings out emotions. Finally Weiner (1986), looks at the information processing that occurs after our life outcomes occur. He believes we reflect on what our outcomes are of certain situations and then this reflection produces the emotions we experience.

A Two Systems View of emotion combines both the biological and cognitive perspectives in the idea that both occur simultaneously together to activate and regulate emotions. The biological system is the primitive system that acts automatically and is involuntarily and the cognitive system is more contemporary and reacts interpretatively and socially. The biological is the reaction to the event while the cognitive is the meaning and thought process behind the event and they both produce emotions.

The debate between what causes emotions is similar to the debate between which came first the chicken or the egg. Emotion is seen as a chain of events that comes together in a complex feedback system. The loop begins with a significant life event and ends with emotion, with a series of elements in between such as, cognitions, arousal, feelings, preparation for action, expressive displays and overt behavioural activity and all of these elements if changed can affect the outcome of the emotion. The most important thing I have learnt is that neither biological or cognitive events directly cause emotion, but all the elements together cause and regulate emotions.

How Many Emotions Are There

Different types of emotions we can experience.

Once again this questions answer comes down to a biological vs cognitive debate. The biological side emphasises primary emotions such as fear and anger and does not much a lot if any emphasises on secondary or acquired emotions. There are eight major research traditions associated with the biological perspective and they agree on three things; one is that a small number of basic emotions exist, two is the basic emotions are universal to all humans and animals and three is the basic emotions are products of biology and evolution. The cognitive side acknowledges the importance of primary emotions but puts much more emphasis on the secondary or acquired emotions. There are nine research traditions to this side and they agree that emotions arise in response to the meaning structures of given situations, different emotions arise in response to different meaning structures.

It is thought there are basic emotions such as anger and these basic emotions contain a family of associated emotions such s rage, fury, envy and frustration. There is thought to be at least five different family emotions such as anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment. A cognitive perspective says that as you grow and understand more emotions your associated emotions also grow around the basic emotion.

Basic emotions have four criteria:

  • They are innate
  • They arise from the same circumstances for all people
  • They are expressed uniquely and distinctively
  • They evoke a distinctive and highly predictable physiological pattern response

Six basic emotions are presented the Reeve textbook they are:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Sadness
  • Joy
  • Interest

The first four are viewed as negative emotions that are associated with threat and harm and the last two are viewed as positive emotions associated with motive involvement and satisfaction.

What Good Are The Emotions

The answer to this question first began with an evolutionary perspective where Darwin said that emotions help us to adapt to our surroundings. There are two main functions these are;

  • Coping functions - This idea takes a functional perspective that believes that all emotions have a purpose that energises and directs our behaviour. It believes that all emotions are beneficial because they direct our attention to where it is needed, which allows us to be ready to respond to a situation.

Table showing the functional view of emotional behaviour

Emotion Stimulus Situation Emotional Behaviour Function of Emotion
Fear Threat Running, flying away Protection
Anger Obstacle Biting, hitting Destruction
Joy Potential mate Courting, mating Reproduction
Sadness Loss of valued person Crying for help Reunion
Acceptance Group member Grooming, sharing Affiliation
Disgust Gruesome object Vomiting, pushing away Rejection
Anticipation New territory Examining, mapping Exploration
Surprise Sudden novel object Stopping, alerting Orientation
  • Social Functions - emotions also serve social functions, they have four main social functions these are;

- Communicate our feelings to others - Influence how others interact with us - Invite and facilitate social interactions - Create, maintain and dissolve relationships

So why do we have emotions? Emotions act as solutions to life's problems. Emotions regulate our behaviour as part of a complex feedback system through coping (surviving and thriving) behaviour and through social behaviour. Whether emotions serve us or not depends on if we can self-regulate our emotions so that we experience the regulation of emotions rather than regulation by emotions.

What is the Difference Between Emotions and Mood?

To answer this question there are different criteria that show the difference between emotions and mood, these are:

Emotions Mood
Antecedents Emerge from significant life situations and appraisals of their significance to our well-being Emerge from ill-defined processes
Action-Specificity Influence behaviour and direct specific courses of action Influence cognition and direct what the person thinks about
Time Course Emanate from short-lived events Emanate from long-lived mental events

Everyday Mood is what we experience on a daily basis and mood exists as a positive affect state or a negative affect state. These two moods are not opposite but independent ways of feeling.

  • Positive Affect - reflects pleasurable engagement and exists as our current level of pleasure, enthusiasm and progress towards goals. This is a reward-driven, appetitive motivational system which supports approach behaviour. This affect is related to dopaminergic pathways.
  • Negative Affect - reflects unpleasant engagement, this is when we experience dissatisfaction, nervousness and irritability. This is a punishment-driven, aversive motivational system that supports withdrawal behaviour. This affect is related to serotonergic and noradrenergic pathways.

Positive Affect refers to the everyday low level, general state of feeling good (Reeve, 2009, p.324). There are certain conditions that make us feel good and they can come from a small gain, amusement or pleasure. There are also benefits of feeling good some of these are;

  • prosocial behaviour
  • creativity
  • decision-making efficiency
  • sociability
  • persistence in the face of failure


What is emotion? The first thing I learnt about emotion is it is so difficult to define. There are four different dimensions that make up emotion; feelings, bodily arousal, sense of purpose and social-expression. Understanding how these different components come to together to make up emotion helps me to understand what it is more. Emotions can act as both motivators and a way of understanding how we are coping in different situations emotionally. This can be applied to the majority of our lives, when we feel angry we are motivated to do something about it and feeling anxiety lets us know we are not handling the situation well. This happens a lot to me around exam periods as I stress and anxiety builds, this lets me know I am not coping and it motivates me to take action so I can better cope with the environment.

There are two main theories surrounding what causes emotion, a biological perspective and a cognitive perspective. Although there is a theory known as the two system theory that combines the two perspectives to give a cause of emotion. I believe this is true as there are some situations we experience that occur very quickly and we don't have time to process what is going on before an emotion occurs an example of this could be surprise. Although there are other situations where something occurs and we have time to process what is going on and then express an emotion, an example of this could be get an exam mark back, we then have to process what it means for us and will then experience either relief and joy or anger and sadness.

Learning about how many emotions we have helped me understand a lot more about emotion. I had no idea there were basic emotions and then associated emotions with each of the basic ones. I thought they were all just different emotions and not facets of other bigger emotions. One important thing I learnt is that all emotions are important. There are definitely days where I wish why do I have to feel like this? I don't want to feel like this, I have experienced such feelings when relationships break down. I find it comforting to know that all the emotions sever a functional purpose. There are two main purposes; for coping and for social functioning. Coping helps to direct our attention to what we need to be aware of and social functions allows us to communicate and interact with other emotionally, as well as being able to facilitate, create, maintain and dissolve relationships. This is so true without being able to express our emotions where would we be?

I found it interesting to learn that mood and emotion are two different things. Mood is our everyday long lived feelings while emotions are short lived and generally are produced from significant life events. So on the days where I was just having one of those down days I always thought this was just an emotion I was feeling but really I was experiencing mood. We can't feel a highly intense emotion for long periods of time because our body just couldn't handle it physiologically.

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week was another slow week with my textbook chapter. I have been concentrating on trying to get my e-portfolio up to date but as for the textbook chapter I have done some research into personality and its affect on motivation and have found some good articles. I just hope I can keep working on this and understand exactly where I want to go with my chapter as I am still unsure about which direct I would like to take. So hopefully more to update you with soon,

Week 10 - Aspects of Motivation[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week I learnt about the different aspects of emotion. There are three main aspects they are; biological, coginitive and social-cultural.

Aspects of Emotion

Biological Aspects of Emotion

The James-Lang Theory is a biological aspect of emotion. This theory goes against the traditional view of the production of emotion that says first we experience a stimulus then emotion and then our body reacts to this emotional expression. James' theory says that first there is a stimulus then our body reacts to this stimulus and from this change in our bodies our emotions are expressed. There are two assumptions that this theory is based on these are:

  • The body reacts uniquely to different emotion producing situations
  • The body does not react to non-emotion producing events

An emotional experience is a way of understanding the changes in our body and if these changes do not occur then the associated emotion would not occur. There are three main criticisms of this theory these are:

  • the general bodily reactions are actually just part of the body's general mobilizing flight/fight response and do not vary from one emotion to the other.
  • an emotional experience is seen to be quicker than bodily reactions in some circumstances
  • physiological arousal augments rather than causes emotion and believes its role is small, supplemental and relatively unimportant

A Contemporary Perspective of emotion puts forward the idea that there are distinct physiological differences evident for some emotions but that only a few emotions have distinct autonomic nervous system (ANS) patterns. The main emotions that have these patterns are ones with survival value and have proved to be adaptive. This perspective agrees that physiological arousal accompanies, regulates and prepares us for emotion but it does not directly cause them. Emotions are seen to recruit biological and physiological support to enable adaptive behaviours such as fighting, fleeing and nurturing. Contemporary researchers look for emotion-specific patterns in brain activity. Gray's findings in this area have showed three distinct neural circuits that regulate patterns of emotional behaviour these are;

  • A behavioural Approach system - this prepares us to seek out attractive environmental opportunities
  • A flight-or-fight system - prepares us to either flee or defend against events
  • A Behavioural Inhibition system - prepares us to avoid unattractive environments

These three neural circuits underlie four emotions; joy, fear, rage, and anxiety. Neural Activation is another contemporary aspect, different emotions are activated by different rates of cortical neural firing. Neural firing is the pattern of electrocortical activity (in the brain) at any given time. There are three basic patterns of neural firing; activity increase, activity decreases or activity stays the same. What the neural firing does depends on the environment.

Differential Emotions Theory is about different emotions serving different motivational purposes. This theory assumes;

  • ten emotions make up the motivational system for humans
  • each emotion has its own unique feeling
  • each emotion has its own unique expression (facial)
  • each emotion has its own unique specific rate of neural firing that activates it
  • each emotion generates its own unique motivational property and serves adaptive functions

The 10 emotions are; interest, joy, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, distress, contempt, shame, guilt. These emotions prepare u for dealing with life tasks and problems. Some emotions are not classed as basic emotions according to the biological perspective, the reasons for this are;

  • many non basic emotions are experienced based
  • many terms better describe moods
  • many terms better describe attitudes
  • many terms better describe personality traits
  • many terms better describe disorders
  • some non basic emotions are combinations of basic emotions
  • many terms refer to specific aspects of basic emotions

Facial Feedback Hypothesis suggests that emotion comes from three things

  • movements in the facial musculature
  • changes in facial temperature
  • changes in glandular activity in the facial skin

This theory suggests that emotions are sets of muscle and glandular responses located in the face. The facial feedback activates emotion and once it is activated it produces the emotional program and it is this program that then brings in the cognitive and bodily responses. There have been two tests conducted to test the validity of the facial feedback hypothesis; the strong version and the weak version. Strong version says that by moving your face into a pattern that corresponds to an emotion will activate that emotion. There have been mixed research about this version but one thing is agreed on, the change in facial muscles produces changes in physiological reactions. In the weaker version it is proposed that the facial feedback changes the intensity of the experienced emotions, it does not cause it. This idea has been shown to have support from different research and is saying the facial expressions feedback and intensify our emotions we are already experiencing.

Through cross cultural studies it has been found that emotions have an innate and unlearned component has people from different cultures could all identify different emotions. Emotions from a biological perspective believe that emotions cannot be controlled but from a cognitive perspective they believe there can be some voluntary control.

Cognitive Aspects of Emotion

Emotions can arise from not only biological processes but also from information processing. The interpretation of the event is what matters.

Appraisal is the main construct when understanding emotion from a cognitive aspect. Appraisal is an estimate of the personal significance of an event. So we ask ourselves, is this event relevant to us? Does it warrant my attention? Will it affect my well-being? Do I have the coping resources to deal with it?

This idea of emotion believes that without an antecedent cognitive appraisal of the event, emotions do not occur. Therefore the appraisal and not the event proceeds and elicits emotions. There are three focusing questions about appraisal, these are;

  • how does the perception of an event or object produce good or bad appraisal?
  • how does the appraisal generate emotion?
  • how does felt emotion express itself in action

The appraisal theory of emotion by Arnold is a simple model and is organised like:

            Situation --------------> Appraisal ---------------------> Emotion -----------------------> Action
           (Life Event)              (Good vs Bad/                    (Liking vs Disliking)            (Approach vs Withdrawal)
                                      Beneficial vs Harmful)

To go from situation to the appraisal Arnold looks at the neurological pathways in the brain. The liking or disliking directly follows from the appraisal going to the emotion and going from emotion to action, motivation is generated towards either approach or withdrawal behaviours.

Complex Appraisal was proposed by Lazarus, he put an emphasis on the cognitive processes that intervene between important life events and physiological behavioural reactivity. This theory of appraisal is much more specific about the appraisal pathways such as breaking the good and bad appraisals down even further into benefits, threats and harms. Individuals are seen to go through two cognitive appraisal processes these are;

  • Primary Appraisal - this is an estimate of whether you have anything at stake during an encounter such as; health, self-esteem, goals, financial states, and well-being of a loved one.
  • Secondary Appraisal - this is when a personal assessment of our coping ability is reviewed. This involves cognitive, emotional and behavioural efforts that manage an event.

This theory portrays emotion as a motivational concept as it believes we bring motives into situations such as goals and well-being and when these motives are threatened the emotions follow. The basics of this model are;

  • cognitions communicate importance of appraisal
  • motivational aspects communicate the importance of goals and well-being
  • relational communicates the emotional rise from our relationships to an environmental event

Emotional Differentiation can be explained through the appraisal theory of emotion. There are 6 different appraisal dimensions that can differentiate between 17 different emotions. The 6 appraisals are;

  • Responsibility (circumstance, others or self caused) - which can either be certain or uncertain
  • Coping ability - high or low
  • Goal/need state - appetitive or aversive

Emotional Knowledge is the number of different emotions we can distinguish between. As we gain more experience in different situations we learn to discriminate between different aspects of single emotions. Through this experience we construct a mental representation of each emotion and how it relates to other emotions and situations that produce them. So the greater our emotional knowledge is the easier we can deal with our life events with an appropriate emotional reaction.

Attribution theory is the assumption that we want to explain why we experienced a particular life event. Attributions are important because how we explain our outcomes results in an emotional experience. Our outcome-dependent emotional reaction is the primary appraisal of the outcome. Specific secondary emotion develops after this as a response to why the event happened. This is the secondary appraisal of the outcome. The attribution is centred around 7 different emotions, pride, gratitude, hope, anger, pity, guilt, and shame.

Social and Cultural Aspects of Emotion

Social interactions contribute to a social understanding of emotion. The sociocultural context that we live in contributes to a cultural understanding of emotion. This aspect of emotion believes that our emotions we express would change depending on which culture we live in. People from different cultures associate different meanings with different emotions. From a social perspective it is thought that if you change the situation you are in then your emotions will also change.

Our interactions throughout the day provide us with the majority of our emotional experience.

Social Interaction in our day-to-day lives is our most frequent source of emotion as we experience more emotions while we are with other people then when we are on our own. Emotions play a main role in creating, maintaining and dissolving interpersonal relationships. When we are exposed to the emotions of others we tend to mimic their emotions. This is known as emotional contagion which is the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronise expressions, vocalisations, postures and movements with those of another person and consequently to converge emotionally. Socially interacting puts us in a situation where we can realise or re-experience emotions we have previously experienced in the past and this process is known as the social sharing of emotion.

Emotional Socialisation occurs when adults tell children what they should know about emotion. This is known as teaching socialisation information and they teach them what causes emotion, how to express emotions and how to label their emotions.

Managing Emotions is important for people who interact frequently, closely and intimately with the public. They need to be able to cope with aversive feelings in a way that is both socially acceptable and personally adaptive. This can apply to physicians who deal with different patients every day.


There are three different aspects of emotion. The biological perspective first introduces the James-Lang theory of emotion and believes that first we experience a situation, and then bodily processes react and this causes the emotion. I can definitely agree with this theory to some degree as I just recently experienced a similar process. I was playing sport and got hit in the thumb by a ball (situation), straight away my body reacted by increasing my heart rate, my breathing and signalling pain. After this occurred I experienced emotion such as anger and distress. Although the contemporary perspective believes that this physiological arousal accompanies and regulates emotion but does not cause it so maybe this is true? The facial feedback hypothesis is another theory of emotion. It states that emotion is cause due to changes in facial muscles, temperature and glandular activity. I think this is true to an extent, there are some days where I experience sadness due to a significant event but then I have to go to work or uni and smile and act like everything is ok. After a while of doing this I actually begin to feel ok so I think the emotion expressed on your face can affect how you feel.

A cognitive perspective of emotion is based on appraisals, which is where we determine if an event as personal significance to us or not. If we don't think the event is significance to us then no emotion will be produced. This makes sense because it something happens and it is not related to us in any way why would we experience an emotional reaction. Emotional knowledge is an important concept and has been linked to intelligence. When thinking about my own emotional knowledge I think that my is fairly good, I usually will pick up on cues and understand some ones emotions and how they are feeling. Although I believe this could be situational well at last for me, I pick up most emotional cues and respond well in social situations involving emotions although there have been times where I have totally missed specific cues when I thought I should have picked up on them. So this makes me wonder why can I pick up on them sometimes and not others. I guess I will continue to search for the answer and wonder about this question.

The final perspective is a social - cultural one. Social interactions are where we experience the majority of our emotions as we are around others. During this interaction we also have a tendency to mimic another's emotions they are expressing at the time. I find this happens to me all the time. If you go to visit a friend you find if they are in a happy and upbeat mood you will leave feeling the same way. Being able to manage emotions is an important thing for me, as I work as a sales assistant and I find I have to keep a lot of my emotions to myself especially when I am feeling frustrated due to a rude customer.

Tutorial 4[edit]

I unfortunately missed this tutorial due to my own emotional experiences occurring at the time. From reading what happened online and talking to others who attended the tutorial I found out they sorted many emotions into groups during a q-sort activity. They also discussed positive and negative affect schedules.

The links to information on this tutorial are located here:

Tutorial 4 Notes

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week was spent working more on my textbook chapter and I am still changing my ideas of where I want to go with it. There is so many pathways to take but I was given advise saying choose some focus questions to help narrow down the information I wish to focus on. So by next week I hope to have some focus questions and more direction with what I wish to do.

Week 11 - Personality and Motivation[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our readings and the lecture I looked at how personality can affect both emotion and motivation.

Personality and Emotion

Introduction to Personality

This topic is of particular interest to me as this is what I have chosen to write my textbook chapter on. I think personality is extremely interesting. Why do we differ? Why are some people motivated by some things and others not? Why are some people more emotional than others? Even with the same upbringing and being in the same situation as someone else we still differ in both our motivational and emotional states. I have always wondered about these things as you can see from my first reflection and introduction to the motivation topic.

One major theory of personality is the trait perspective. This theory believes there are different traits that we all posses and they are based on a continuum. We vary in personality depending on where each trait is for us on the continuum. The varying degrees of these traits can cause us to react differently in different situations, cause approach or avoidance behaviour, and determine if we will react positively or negatively in situations and even the choice of situations we choose and how we alter these situations.

The most researched and commonly used trait perspective of personality is the Five Factor Model of Personality. This theory believes we all have five main superordinate traits, these are;

  • Extraversion - how much an individual likes to interact with the environment.
  • Neuroticism - how emotionally stable and adjustable an individual is.
  • Conscientiousness - whether an individual follows social norms and participates in goal directed behaviour.
  • Agreeableness - how cooperative an individual is towards others
  • Openness to experience - the acceptance of new ideas, thoughts and experiences

These traits are most commonly measured by the NEO or IPIP.

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

IPIP-NEO Short Version

Each of these five traits are made up of six different facets.

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

Individual Differences in Happiness, Arousal and Control

When we experience an emotion such as happiness we generally will find that our amount of happiness will vary according to different life events, although we will always seem to come back to the same level of happiness we had before the event took place. This is known as our happiness set point and research shows we also have a negative set point for unhappiness.

Extraversion allows for greater sensitivity to positive emotions especially in social situations.

The happiness set point is related to the personality trait, extraversion. Emotionally extraverts are happier than introverts and enjoy more positive moods. The main reason why extraverts are seen to be happier is because they are more sensitive to rewards. This means they have a greater sensitivity to positive emotions especially in social situations. Extraverts will eagerly approach potential reward situations and they have a greater capacity to experience positive emotions. This is related to a concept proposed by Gray called the Behavioural Activating System (BAS). This is a biological based system where there are different sensitivity levels in the brain relating to rewards. Extraverts have a stronger BAS system which explains their sensitivity to rewarding situations. BAS motivates approach orientated behaviour. All of these things lead to greater sociability, greater social dominance and greater venturesomeness. Although all of this does not mean introverts can never be extremely happy, it just means they are not as sensitive to rewarding situations that will provide positive emotions.

The unhappiness set point is generally related to the personality trait, neuroticism. Neuroticism is associated with being emotionally unstable so neurotics suffer emotionally. This is because they have a greater capacity to suffer negative emotions and also these negative emotions can last longer after an event which can leave them with troubling and pessimistic thoughts. Gray's theory of personality is also important has he proposed another biological based system know as the Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS). Neurotics have a stronger BIS and this means they are more sensitive to signs of punishment in the environment. This signal of punishment brings out negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. These feelings act as motivation towards avoidance behaviour. Individuals with a high BIS will eagerly avoid potentially punishing situations creating avoidance behaviour and emotional distress.


Arousal is a combination of processes that controls, alertness, wakefulness and activation. The motivational construct of arousal is made up cortical (activity in the brain), behavioural (skeletal muscular system) and autonomic mechanisms (ANS). There are four principles that explains how arousal contributes to motivation these are;

  • a person's arousal level is mainly a function of how much stimulation they are receiving from their environment
  • people engage in behaviour to increase or decrease their level of arousal
  • when under aroused people seek out opportunities to increase their level of arousal, this is because increases in environment stimulation is pleasurable and enhances performance
  • when over aroused people seek out opportunities to decrease their arousal levels because increases in environmental stimulation is aversive and undermines performance

Performance and Emotion can be understood through the inverted U hypothesis. This states that a low level of arousal produces relatively bad performance and as the arousal level increases to moderate the performance level also increases. But if we go past a certain point and become to highly aroused then this can have a negative effect on performance. Therefore to gain an optimal performance it is ideal to have a moderate level of arousal, this leads to feelings of pleasure while having a low level of arousal leads to feelings of boredom and restlessness. High levels of arousal are associated with feelings of tension and stress. This hypothesis helps us to understand when we will experience approach and avoidance behaviours.

Insufficient Stimulation and Underarosual is related to sensory deprivation. This is an individual's sensory and emotional experience in a rigidly unchanging environment. We all harbour motives for counteracting insufficient stimulation and underarousal. This was shown through a study conducted by Heron (1957) where college students were paid to lie in a room for as long as they liked with minimal stimulation. They wore gloves to prevent feeling and they had their vision and hearing impaired. While they were in this state participants reported having dreams, seeing and hearing things all while they were awake. This showed that when we do not receive enough stimulation the brain beings to create its own. The brain and nervous system prefer a continual and moderate amount of arousal through environment stimulation. Participants also showed impaired cognitive abilities when they were deprived of sensory stimulation.

Excessive Stimulation and Overarousal can upset our emotional states, impairing cognitive activity and accelerating physiological processes. Emotional disruption is seen through feelings of anxiety, irritability and anger. While cognitive disruption is shown through confusion, forgetfulness and impaired concentration. Finally physiological disruption is seen in the sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity such as high blood pressure. We also have motives to counteract excessive stimulation and overarousal.

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

Sensation Seeking is another personality characteristic related to arousal and reactivity. Zuckerman (1994) defined sensation seeking as 'the seeking if varied, novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences and the willingness to take physical, social, legal and financial risks for the sake of such experiences.' It is the extent to which a person's central nervous system requires change and variability. People high in this personality trait will search for new experiences and can not tolerate low levels of stimulation. This trait can determine how a person will react in situations and what situations and activities a person will choose. They need a higher level of stimulation and will generally engage in risky activities, prefer unusual stimuli and situations, choose things out of the ordinary and different and are more susceptible to boredom. There is a sensation seeking scale that tests your own level of sensation seeking based on four different subscales; adventure and thrill seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition and boredom susceptibility.

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

Sensation seeking can also be a predictor of addictions such as gambling and alcoholism. It can also be related to some positive effects such as higher creativity.

Affect Intensity is our capacity to become aroused emotionally. Affect intense people experience their emotions strongly and show emotional reactivity across many different emotion-eliciting situations. While affect stable people only experience their emotions mildly and show only minor fluctuations in emotional reactions in different situations.


There are two main components surrounding control beliefs, perceived control and desire for control. Perceived control is about differences in peoples' performance expectancies of processing the needed capacity to produce positive outcomes. To be able to perceive you have control over a situation or desired outcome it must be true that,

  • you must be capable of obtaining the available desired outcome.
  • the situation in which you attempt to exercise control needs to be at least somewhat predictable and responsive

The level of perceived control can have an effect on;

  • goal setting
  • task choice
  • effort
  • concentration
  • persistence in the face of difficulty
  • positive emotional states
  • problem-solving strategies
  • performance

Desire for control is the extent to which we are motivated to establish control over the events in our lives. We all want to establish control and restore lost control.


Reflecting back on this chapter I feel like personality can affect so much and only a little part has been touched on here. I understand the idea between extraversion and happiness but does it take it too far? I know a lot of people who would consider themselves introverts and they are extremely happy. They don't feel the need to engage all the time and they do not need to always look for rewarding situations. They are actually happiest when they just get to be themselves and interact with people whenever they feel the need. So this makes me think critically about this idea and whether we could generalise it everybody.

The inverted U hypothesis surrounding arousal is also an extremely important in sporting situations, as athletes want to achieve optimal performance so they need to know exactly how aroused they must be to achieve this. Finally to idea of control as a personality quality is quiet common as I have discovered while researching my textbook chapter. Similar ideas are locus of control which is how much perceived control we think we have on our outcomes. Also self-efficacy can be related to how much control we think we have and how much we would like to have.

To learn more on these topics see my textbook chapter where it goes into much more depth relating personality and motivation. Motivation and Personality Textbook Chapter

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week was extremely helpful for my textbook chapter. Learning about my topic in class helped me to focus on what I wanted to discuss in my textbook chapter and what direction I wanted to take with it. I have decided to concentrate on the trait perspective of personality such as the big 5, locus of control and sensation seeking and relate all these theories to different motivation aspects such as goal setting and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. More to come next week.....

Week 12 - Unconscious Motivation[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lecture and through our readings we learnt about our unconscious motivation.

Unconscious Motivation

Psychodynamic Perspective

Freud had a psychoanalytic approach to the unconscious.

This perspective believes the causes of our motivations and behaviours derive from biologically endowed and socially acquired impulses that determine our desires, thoughts, feelings and behaviours, whether we like it or not. The see motivation as something that happens to us not something we choose or create. Psychoanalytic is the traditional Freudian approach to the unconscious that discusses our own private subjective experiences and why unwanted desires and fears make their home there. Psychodynamic is the study of dynamic unconscious mental processes. Some processes are prejudice, depression, thought suppression, and defence mechanisms. You do not have to necessarily keep to a Freudian tradition when discussing these aspects.

Dual-Instinct Theory was proposed by Freud who thought impulse-driven biological forces regulated motivation. He thought all the energy we needed for life, both physical and mental came from biological drives or instincts, and these drives explained our motivation. He put all of our bodily drives into two categories, instincts for life and instincts for death.

  • Eros - instincts for life - these instincts maintain life and ensure our survival. Some of the instincts are for food, water, air, sleep and also for sex, nurturance and affiliation. They are all instincts for self-preservation. The main focus of the life instincts was surrounding sex.
  • Thanatos - instincts for death - these instincts motivate us towards rest, inactivity and energy conservation. A focus of these instincts was aggression towards the self (self-criticism, depression, suicide and drug addiction) and towards others (anger, hate, prejudice, murder, war, cruelty and revenge).

Drive or Wish? Sex and aggression are no longer seen as a physiological model of drive they are seen more as psychological wishes. The new 'wish model' that has evolved from the drive theory, states that it is a discrepancy theory of motivation. Motivation comes from a mismatch between the present state and the ideal state and this discrepancy is what causes the psychological wishes to arise and motivate us towards the ideal state. Contemporary psychoanalysts think that the psychological wishes and not the instinctual drives regulate and direct our behaviour and they now focus on helping people recognise, improve upon and possibly run away from problematic interpersonal relationships.

Contemporary Psychodynamic Theory contains four postulates;

  • The unconscious - much of our mental life is unconscious
  • Psychodynamics - mental processes operate in parallel with one another
  • Ego Development - healthy development involves moving from an immature, socially dependent personality to one that is more mature and interdependent with others
  • Object Relations Theory - mental representations of self and others form in childhood that guide the person's later social motivations and relationships

The Unconscious

There are three main portrays of the unconscious these are;

  • Freduian Unconscious - automatically appraises the environment. This idea surrounds people's dreams and the hidden messages, tensions and desires.
  • Adaptive Unconscious - appraises the environment, sets goals, makes judgements and initiates actions, while we are consciously thinking about other things.
  • Implicit Motivation - refers to all the motives, emotions, attitudes and judgements that occur outside a our conscious awareness. Automatically attend to emotionally linked environmental events. It is a combination of our explicit and implicit motives.

Subliminal Motivation is where we subliminally activate unconscious information. It is when a stimulus is presented at a very weak energy level (below threshold) to us and we do not process it at a conscious level but at an unconscious one. This type of informational processing has emotional effects but it has been shown that people will generally not act on the subliminal messages presented to them. It is when we take in sensory input without even realising it and we may only act on it if it is provoked.


Psychodynamics is the clashing of the conscious volition (will) and the unconscious counterwill. The clashes are:

         Conscious Volition (Ego/Will)                        Unconscious Counterwill (Id)
                  Idea                     ------------>               Counteridea
                 Desire                    ------------>                Repression
                  Will                     ------------>               Counterwill
                Excitation                 ------------>                Inhibition
           Cathexis (sexual attraction)    ------------>            Anitcathexis (guilt)

Repression is the process of forgetting information or an experience by ways that are unconscious, unintentional and automatic. It is the counterforce between the ego and the id and when the unconscious impulses try to arise we experience anxiety and this is what motivates us to represses the thoughts. Suppression is the process of removing a thought by ways that are conscious, intentional and deliberate. Thoughts can only be suppressed for a little while and we don't have as much control over them as we would like.

Do the Id and the Ego actually exist? Research has shown that the limbic system makes a pretty fair id, as it is the pleasure and unpleasure brain system. The neocortex makes a pretty fair ego, as it is executive control centre that perceives the world and learns to adapt to it. The interrelated neural pathways and the these structures of the systems show how they can all have an effect on each other.

Ego Psychology

Ego Development is a developmental progression toward what is possible in terms of psychological growth, maturity, adjustment, prosocial interdependence, competence and autonomous functioning (Reeve, 2009, p.405). The ego develops in the following way;

         Symbiotic ------> Impulsive ------> Self-protective ------> Conformist ------> Conscientious ------> Autonomous

Ego development is important to the study of motivation in two ways;

  • the ego develops to defend against anxiety
  • the ego develops to empower us to interact more effectively and more proactively with our surroundings

Ego Defence is needed as we are always in a state of vulnerability. Defence mechanisms are used to defend against potentially overwhelming levels of anxiety that comes from conflicts between the id impulses (neurotic anxiety), superego demands (moral anxiety) and environmental dangers (realistic anxiety). Conflict from these three things will produce anxiety, distress and depression if they are not defended against. The defence mechanisms to this as they are our protective functioning and without these, changes in our internal and external reality would generate a steady level of anxieties. There are 14 defence mechanisms these are;

  • Denial
  • Fantasy
  • Projection
  • Displacement
  • Identification
  • Regression
  • Reaction Formation
  • Rationalisation
  • Anticipation
  • Humour
  • Sublimation

Ego Effectance is our competence in dealing with environmental challenges, demands, and opportunities. The greater the ego's effectance motivation, the greater our willingness to use ego properties proactively by intentionally changing the environment for the better. It is like an "ego-offense" and with each successful interaction with the environment our ego's effectance motivation grows and the stronger this is the stronger our desire to seek out new and challenging interactions with the environment. White's Model of Effectance Motivation is a self-reinforcing feedback cycle, begins with our effectance motivation which leads to a willingness to exercise emerging and existing skills and capabilities, leading to an inevitable effect on or changes in the environment, moving to our voluntary attempts to produce intentional, goal-directed changes in the environment, to finally having a successful sense of competence increase which leads back to the start by strengthening our effectance motivation.

Object Relations Theory

Object relations theory studies how we satisfy our needs for relatedness through our mental representations of and actual attachments to social and sexual objects. The quality of these mental representations can be characterised by three dimensions;

  • unconscious tone (benevolent vs malevolent)
  • capacity for emotional involvement (selfishness/narcissism vs mutual concern)
  • mutuality of autonomy with others


  • Many of Freud's concepts are not scientifically testable
  • Motivational concepts arose from the case studies of disturbed individuals
  • Many points about human motivation and emotion was simply wrong (eg Freud's theory of superego development)
  • Methods of data collection
  • Psychoanalytic theory is woeful as a predictive device


Reflecting back on this chapter gives you many things to think about. The unconscious is such a hard thing to understand and yes it is very interesting to think about what actually happens in our unconscious. The psychodynamic perspective brings up some important points about the unconscious, Freud's drive theory is understandable but does take certain aspects a little too far in my opinion so the development of a psychological wish was very appropriate. I believe that yes some things we do are due to our drives and instincts but things like sexual behaviour and aggression is more a wish we would like to express rather than having to express it.

The most interesting part of the unconscious was the subliminal motivation has I think this can occur to an extent. We all take in sensory information that we are not aware of and you realise that when you process the same thing consciously and go where have I seen that before or why do I know that? You can't work why it is familiar but you know it is, I think this could possibly be where subliminal stimuli has been processed without your conscious knowledge. Whether we act on this information or not I'm just not sure but it is an interesting theory.

The two main parts of psychodynamics is repression and suppression. I think these two processes do occur, its like the times when you have a thought and as soon as you realise you are thinking it you go "no I shouldn't be thinking that, stop it." You try to suppress the thought but once you have thought about it, it becomes hard and you in a way you cannot stop thinking about it. Thinking about repression made me wonder when we try to repress unconsciously the things we are not meant to think about and then we have slips of the tongue and things similar to this, is that our repression mechanism failing? I seem to think from what I have read that it could be, which is interesting because slips are generally fairly controversial.

Finally the ego psychology side of things raises some interesting points. I can see how our ego develops, as we grow older we learn more and me learn what is acceptable within society and how to express what we wish to appropriately. You can see this, as children we would say whatever we thought and many of these things would be considered inappropriate but has we grow up and develop we don't do things like that anymore has we have learnt what is appropriate and our ego has developed. Ego defence mechanisms are important and I think we all use them. My own example would be, I stress a lot and when it is because I haven't done what I knew I should have such as studying instead of going out to a party. I begin to feel anxiety and worry and instead of letting myself feel like this I usually will take it out on someone else usually a partner or family member. So I show displacement because if took it out on myself (where the true anxiety came from) it could be harmful to my well-being so I do it to someone else who can cope with this.

Tutorial 5[edit]

This week in tutorials we looked further into personality and motivation and emotion.

First we were given a quiz on last week's lecture and reading on personality and emotion. This covered all aspects such as happiness and personality, arousal and control. On the quiz I got 18/20 which I was very pleased with as I am writing about this topic for my textbook chapter so I thought that I should do well. Also I am extremely interested in this topic and find it easy to learn about and take the information in. One of the questions I got wrong was difficult and there were a few people in the class that brought up issues surrounding it. The answer was that most people are happy and this is true almost irrespective of life circumstances, we all thought happiness was quiet reliant on the circumstances you are experiencing at the time but apparently Reeve explains this by saying that people generally happy no matter what circumstance they are, for example if they are rich or poor people are still generally happy.

After completing this quiz we discussed Zuckerman sensation seeking scale and took it to see what our own scores on the four subscales would be. My scores were all very low, I got 3 for thrill and adventure seeking, 4 for experience seeking, 3 for disinhibition and 1 for boredom susceptibility. These scores were fairly similar to the class score and we determined that our class size was not large enough to see the normal distribution of scores that we would expect to see. My scores confirmed what I already believed about myself, that I am not very sensation seeking at all.

The final part of the tutorial was where we briefly discussed our textbook chapters and how we were going and got to ask one on one personal questions to make sure we were on the right track to finishing. This was very helpful and made me feel better about my chapter.

Assessment Progress[edit]

This week was a huge week for my textbook chapter as it is due on Monday! I finally got a plan together and know exactly what I want to do with my chapter. I have planned on introducing my topic then go on to talk about the motivational concepts that relate personality to motivation such as; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, goal setting theory, expectancy-value theory, self determination theory, social needs and self-efficacy. After introducing all of these concepts I will discuss how different personality theories such as the five factor model, locus of control, Eysenck's theory of personality and sensation seeking relate to the motivational concepts I have introduced already. I will include some type of quizzes and links to the personality tests you can do online.

To see my textbook chapter developing click on this link Motivation and Personality Textbook Chapter

This week we were also shown how to record our multimedia presentation using the website screenr. Seeing this made me feel a lot better about this part of the assessment so this is the next thing to try after I finish the textbook chapter.

Week 13 - Growth and Positive Psychology[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lecture and readings I learnt about growth and positive psychology:

Growth and Positive Psychology

Holism and Positive Psychology

Holism asserts that a human being is understood as an integrated, organised whole rather than as a series of differentiated parts. Holism prefers a 'top-down' approach that focuses on general, all-encompassing motives and sees how the master motives govern the more specific ones. The master motives are the self and its strivings towards fulfilment. Humanistic psychology is about discovering human potential and encouraging its development and concerns strivings toward growth and self-realisation and away from facade, self-concealment and the pleasing and fulfilling of the expectations of others.

Positive Psychology goals is to show what actions lead to experiences of well-being, to the development of positive individuals who are optimistic and resilient, and to the creation of nurturing and thriving institutions and communities. It develops its attention to the proactive building of personal strengths and competencies and seeks to make people stronger and more productive and actualise the human potential in all of us.


Self-actualisation is a development striving. It is a process of moving toward courage to create, make realistic appraisals and achieve autonomous self-regulation. It refers to an even fuller realisation of our talents, capacities and potentialities. There are two fundamental directions;

  • Autonomy - moving toward an ever increasing capacity to depend on our self and to regulate our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours and moves toward self-realisation
  • Openness - move towards greater mindfulness, the courage to create and realistic appraisals
Love and belongingness are part of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Hierarchy of Human Needs was proposed by Maslow. Our needs can be arranged into five clusters; physiological needs, safety and security needs, love and belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs. There are three themes to this theory;

  • needs are arranged into a hierarchy according to potency and strength
  • the lower your need is in the hierarchy, the sooner it appears in development
  • needs in the hierarchy are fulfilled sequentially

Encouraging Growth is an important aspect of self-actualisation. There are six behaviours that encourage self-actualisation;

  • make growth choices
  • be honest
  • situationally position yourself for peak experiences
  • give up defensiveness
  • let the self emerge
  • be open to experience

Also engaging ourselves in relationships that supports both autonomy and openness.

Actualising Tendency

Actualising tendency is an innate, continual presence that quietly guides the individual toward genetically determined potentials. It motivates us to want to undertake new and challenging experiences. With the emergence of the self comes another motivational tendency towards self-actualisation. The organimic valuation process is an innate capacity for judging whether a specific experience promotes or reverses growth. It provides the interpretive information needed for deciding whether the new undertaking is growth-promoting or not.

The process of actualisation begins with our actualising tendency then moves to the emergence of self and the related concepts of a need for positive regard and positive self-regard, then depending on the parental attitude will determine which path we take. If they offer an unconditional positive regard then we move to a experience evaluated in accordance with organismic valuation process to finally the consequence of congruence and the fully functioning individual. If they offer conditional positive regard then we move to a experience evaluated in accordance with conditions of worth and finally to the consequence of incongruence.

Congruence and incongruence is the extent to which we deny and reject (incongruence) or accept (congruence) the full range of our personal characteristics, abilities, desires and beliefs. Conflict between experience and expression results in incongruence and harmony between these two results in congruence. The fully functioning individual lives in close and confident relationship to the organismic valuation process, trusting in inner direction. They are open to experiences, accepts the experiences and expresses these experiences.

Causality Orientations

Autonomy orientation relies on internal guides (needs and instincts). An individual with this type of orientation pays close attention to their own needs and feelings and is related to intrinsic motivation and indentified regulation. This type is correlated with positive functioning such as self-actualisation, ego development and openness to experience. Control orientation relies on external guides (social cues). Individuals with this type pay close attention to behavioural incentives and social expectations and relates to extrinsic motivation and introjected regulation.

Growth Seeking Vs. Validation Seeking

Validation-seeking is valuating yourself by societal conditions of worth and is someone who needs the approval of others to feel good about themselves. Positive outcomes relate to feeling rather accepted and validated, although some adjustment problems can arise from negative outcomes such as a lack of personal worth, competence and likability. Growth-seeking individuals centre their personal strivings around learning, improving and reaching personal potential. They see situations and relationships as opportunities for personal growth, learning and self-improvement. Vulnerability to mental health difficulties is predicted through the distinction between striving for validation and growth.

How Relationships Support the Actualising Tendency

The development toward congruence and adjustment depends on the quality of our interpersonal relationships. There are five characteristics that help us move toward psychological congruence they are;

  • warmth
  • genuineness
  • empathy
  • interpersonal acceptance
  • confirmation of the other person's capacity for self-determination

The Problem of Evil

There are two forms of discussion surrounding this idea they are;

  • How much of human nature is inherently evil?
  • Why do some people enjoy inflicting suffering on others?

Evil is the deliberate, voluntary, intentional infliction of painful suffering on another person without respect for their humanity or personhood (Reeve, 2009, p.439). Humanistic theorists' views on evil are;

  • evil is not inherent in human nature. Evil arises only when experience injures and damages the person.
  • both benevolence and malevolence are inherent in everyone. Human nature needs to internalise a benevolent value system before it can avoid evil.

Positive Psychology and Growth

Positive psychology looks at people's mental health and the quality of their lives to ask "What could be?" It seeks to builds people's strengths and competencies. The building of strengths helps foster personal growth and well-being and prevents human sickness from ever being in your personality. Three strengths are;

  • Optimism - is a positive attitude or a good mood that is associated with what one expects to unfold in his or her immediate and long term future. It is related to better psychological and physical health, more health promoting behaviours, greater persistence and more effective problem solving.
  • Meaning - is a need for discovery and accomplishment. There are three associated needs; sense of purpose, internalised values and high self-efficacy and these all motivate us towards a meaningful life. The act of creating meaning helps to prevent future sickness.
  • Eudaimonic Well-being - is self-realisation. Eudaimonic well-being can be lowered by the pursuit of wealth and materialism and it can be increased through relatedness and the pursuit of self-endorsed goals.


  • Pollyanna optimism - humanistic view emphasises only one part of human nature.
  • Unscientific concepts - humanistic theorists use a number of vague and ill-defined constructs.
  • Unknown origins of inner guides - how is one to know what is really wanted or what is really needed by the actualising tendency.


The first thing I notice from this week is how difficult it seems to be able to reach actualisation. There are so many different things you have to do before you can get there but at the same time there are a lot of helpful hints that try to point you in the right direction. I find it both interesting and slightly comforting to think that we all have an actualising tendency, that we all striving towards something to fulfil our lives. It gives us a sense of purpose and I think it makes life interesting by trying to be the best you can possibly be. The concept of congruence is one that comes up a lot when learning about motivation and emotion. So I believe in some way we must always be trying to be a peace with ourselves with no lasting conflicts.

Causality orientations is what we are guided by either internal or external. Thinking about my own influences I find it hard to think that I would have to fit into one or the other. I believe we could possibly be guided by different things in different situations. For example for a social psychology perspective we could possibly be guided by external influences when we are in situations that are shown to society but then when we are on our own we may be influenced more by our internal guides. I also have this belief when relating to growth and validation seeking. Why do we have to be one or the other? Through my experiences throughout life I definitely feel that there are different things that influence my motivations, emotions and as a consequence my behaviours.

The debate about whether evil is something inside human beings or is triggered through different environments and situations is such a hard question to take sides on. You could think about this all day and come up for many arguments for both sides but at this time I think we all do not have evil inside of us, I think it may occur by how we handle situations we are given. Finally positive psychology is an interesting topic that I think makes people feel empowered through the strengths they are shown to have, which is an important thing in today's society. Due to this I think we should continue to look into this area as it could possibly be a way of helping a lot of people.

Assessment Progress[edit]

My textbook chapter is done! A lot of hard work went into the assessment and although it was stressful at the time it feels very rewarding finishing it. Especially as the book will be published. This week was all about getting the multimedia recording done. I made my slides and wrote my script then began recording. After a few frustrating and I must admit funny stuff ups I eventually have one recorded and this can be viewed from my textbook chapter.

Week 14 - Summary and Conclusion[edit]

Lecture and Readings[edit]

This week in our lecture and readings we conducted the unit.

Summary and Conclusion

There are three main objectives to understanding and applying motivation:

  • Explain - why people do what they do
  • Predict - how conditions will affect motivation and emotion
  • Apply - motivational principles to solve problems (put theory into practice)

Explaining Motivation: Why we do what we do

To help explain motivation we must understand the theories of motivation. These help us to understand reasons for behaviour and how these motives when they are aroused, intensify, change and fade.

Predicting Motivation: Identifying Antecedents

To have the ability to predict motivation and emotion we must understand how:

  • environmental
  • interpersonal
  • intrapsychic
  • physiological

conditions affect these two components.

Applying Motivation: Solving Problems

The more we understand the principles of motivation and emotion the more we will be able to apply them to real life problems. There are two questions that define the effort to apply motivational principles these are;

  • how do I motivate myself
  • how do I motivate others

To be able to do this is involves nurturing, supporting and developing motivational resources. To solve motivational problems we need to;

  • amplifying strengths
  • improving functioning
  • repairing weakness
  • overcoming pathology

Motivating Self and Others

Motivating Self is about nurturing resources for life-long development of productive inner motivational resources. By growing approach-orientated needs, cognitions, and emotions can lead to experiencing strong, resilient and productive motivated states.

Motivating Others can be done through the person themself or outside forces. To help motivate others you need to have a supportive interpersonal relationship with them and not one that undermines them. This will help them solve their own problems, build their skills and initiate their own actions. The primary goal is to enhance the other's capacity for personal causation.

Feedback on how the effort to motivate our self and others is going depends on emotions (interest, enjoyment, optimism vs apathy, anger, pessimism), overt behaviours (intense effort, long persistence, short latency to begin high probability of occurrence) and well-being (changes in vitality and well-being). Feedback can only be useful if you pay attention to it.

Designing Motivational Interventions

To attain personal goals of a high level and positive effect there are two important things to have;

  • self-concordant goals - understand why you are pursuing them
  • clear implementation intentions - how you plan to reach your goals


So the semester is over and you can see from my fairly extensive weekly e-portfolio I have learnt so much. It has been a very interesting journey that I have enjoyed and will take a lot from.

Tutorial 6[edit]

This week was our final tutorial for the unit. We began with discussing some problems surrounding growth psychology. The first one was whether we think humans are evil or whether the environment influences them to be. We lined up in a row depending on how we felt about the issue. My thoughts on this question were, I don't believe humans have evil inside them but I do think there can be certain influences on a person that turn something inside them evil. We then discussed raising children and how learning should be fostered. In this part we discussed how google help their employees develop their own projects and this works as a successful motivating tool.

After these discussions we moved on to thinking about and comparing Maslow's characteristics of a self-actualised person and Rodgers' idea of a fully functioning individual. Maslow has 16 characteristics while Rodgers' has 9. From what I gathered it is a very difficult journey to become self-actualised and fully functioning and guess this is why Maslow says there is only approximately 1% of people who fully do.

I had to leave the tutorial half way through due to another circumstance at the time. But reading through the rest of the notes from the tutorial I see they discussed sense of meaning and coherence and completed a scale relating to this. There was also a practical activity where we could choose an exercise from the list and discuss it in our e-portfoilo's. So the one I have chosen to discuss is three good things in life. It is says, write down three things that go well during your day and identify the cause of each. So my three things and causes from yesterday are;

  • my boyfriends sister had a healthy baby girl - i guess the cause of this is because she took care of herself when she was pregnant and everything went well with the birth.
  • I managed to complete a lot of my assignment - caused through a lot of hard work on my part.
  • my friend felt better about her assessment she has coming up - caused because I helped her out with some notes that I had from a similar unit.

To see the tutorial notes on this tutorial see here Tutorial 6

Assessment Progress[edit]

So now my textbook chapter and multimedia presentation is completed, the only thing left is the e-portfolio. I have been working hard on this all week and I have really put a lot of time and effort into this assignment so I am just hoping it all pays off and I receive some good marks. Fingers crossed!!! So after this all the assessments have been completed for this unit.

Looking back on our assessment items, they did seem like such a big task at the beginning of the semester but now coming to the end they I felt very rewarded in completing them. I have learnt a lot of new skills especially using recording equipment and wikiveristy. I began as someone who had no idea about any of these things and have finished feeling extremely confident in what I am capable of. So I think overall this has been a very worthwhile and successful experience.


All the information this e-portfolio is based on are from two keys references:

Neil, J. T. Lecture Presenations for Motivation and Emotion Unit. Semester Two (2010).

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