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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.

Guide to Hamish's E-Portfolio[edit]

My purpose is to create an E-portfolio for the Unit Understanding Motivation and Emotion that incorporates the following goals:

  1. Describe what activities were carried out from week to week
  2. Act as an ongoing resource of information covering chapter content, lectures and tutorials
  3. Identify insights gained while connecting and interacting with other peers within the unit
  4. Analyse how these learnings apply to my current life experiences
  5. Integrate learning experiences for personal future growth

My story[edit]

The posting below is about some of the choices and decisions I have made in the past couple of years in my life. Although I wrote this in the later stages of this unit, it has been purposely placed here. The reasons for that are to not only demonstrate some form of reflection to the reader, but more so to remind myself that often it's not until enormous decisions are made, can one look back and fully appreciate the processes of growth and change.

This week has being a huge eye opener for me. While I knew what was happening this time last year, I couldn't explain it, not in the terms of academic language anyway. Six weeks ago, I had no idea what intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation was. I will try and keep this as short and simple as possible though forgive me if I sway from side to side. I was driving to work, I had my tie on, my business pants, and from the outside one could say "hey here's a guy that's motivated, he's well dressed, looks enthusiastic, obviously has a good job, security and is on his way to success". Yet quite the opposite was going on.

The day you find yourself driving to work hoping someone might crash into you, so you don't have to go, then arriving, doing two laps of the car park only to drive home and call in with "I'm not going to make it" is the day you know something has to change. At the time I asked myself why? I mean I did the right thing, I left school, abandoned my dream of going on the tennis circuit to complete a university degree in Information Technology. I worked my way into a high paying job, and after five years, questioned is this the best as life gets? Was I put here to live life in a box, spend eight hours a day in front of computer, go home, sleep then wake up and do the same thing over and over again. What kind of life is that?

I was guided by extrinsic motivation. The choices I made were guided by the roles of pleasing and fitting in with society expectations. When someone would ask me what do you do for work, I would respond with IT, Server Operations and hope the conversation would end there. While society might look highly upon my previous position, I knew it was overpaid and overestimated in difficulty. Regardless of the praise from the outside world, of "you've done really well" I still wasn't happy. I was under challenged and I needed out. The last thing I wanted "was to look back, have regrets and think, now you're seventy years old, are you satisfied with what you've done with your life"?

I started investigating spirituality, Buddhism, thinking that a person could be happy in any position within any circumstance. Perhaps that's true. I definitely don't deny the possibility, but I wasn't prepared to sit and watch life pass me by in hope of one day figuring it out.... So I left the IT industry for good, and went back to university, though this time to study psychology. This is something, I had passionately wanted to do for a very long time regardless of the risks involved. I started playing tennis again and coaching to make up for the money. I followed the interests that came from within (intrinsic motivation). The interests that were never really lost, just temporarily covered over with extrinsic rewards . While I am not making the same salary (concrete reward), I feel alive and reconnected with the world again. Being outdoors on the tennis court, seeing others get excited as they improve reminds of the many things I had forgotten. I gained a sense of autonomy which was almost completely lost from the routine and boredom of nine till five in a box. I gained competence in my self and abilities, and enhanced relatedness whereby my relationships are no longer restricted to a computer screen and procedural tasks. I am no longer limited to a shed with no windows, an office full of guys and an electronic pass that needs to be swiped through every room entered. I've formed new friendships through tennis and university by the choice of leaving an unhealthy environment that only provided artificial security, to a new environment that is positive, promotes learning and psychological growth.

Week 1 Motivation[edit]


Motivational forces are suggested to play a major role in determining reasons as to why one behaves the way he/she does . Questions arise as to why certain individuals are motivated to study, while others may be motivated to party, play sport, or seek out career orientated goals. The major goal of motivational psychology put in its simplest form is to determine why people behave the way they do. This has been one of the fundamental questions in the history of psychology, and while many psychological fields have emerged, many questions concerning root causes of human behavior remain.

The study of motivation concerns processes whereby behavior can be explained in terms of energy and direction. Energy is identified as the arousal aspect,the inner drive or force whereby someone is driven to carry out some form of behavior. Energy alone, is not enough for the act of behavior to occur. Direction such as a desired outcome, or goal is required in combination with arousal for activity to occur. For instance when someone is hungry (energy or arousal) they may eat (behavior) in order to obtain comfort (goal).

Intensity of Behavior[edit]

Intensity of certain behavior varies within each individual. These are often driven by my motivational forces.

As a tennis coach outside of university, I am often faced with challenges around motivating certain tennis players to try harder. This is inferred upon my observations whereby I can identify the antecedents (expressions of motivation) which are known to give rise to certain motivational states. For example, certain individuals following miss hitting several forehands in a row often get down on themselves, drop there intensity levels and predictably continue to hit the balls out.

In this case, a good motivational theory would provide possible solutions, enhancing the probability that such individuals would persist and actively engage with more effort.

On the other hand, those players who show higher levels of engagement and behavioral intensity through consistent effort, focused attention, and persistence often go on to become good tennis players.

Internal Motives[edit]

A motive is an internal process that energizes and directs behavior. These are commonly divided into: needs,cognitions, and emotions.

  • Needs are those necessary for the maintenance of life, for example food and water.
  • Cognitions refer to mental events, such as thoughts, beliefs, expectations and self concept.
  • Emotions can be identified as short lived, subjective, physiological, functional, expressive phenomena that coordinate our reactions to major life events.

Motives constantly fluctuate, vary over time and interact with one another. For example people who are worried about gaining weight might starve themselves in order to avoid the anxiety that accompanies the act of eating. Here it can be indicated that the need (food) is competing against an emotion (such as anxiety) which may be fueled by cognitions (self concept). This interaction shows how a cognitive motivator may over ride a physiological need which is necessary for survival.

Knowing this information will definitely serve me when writing my textbook chapter on the motivation behind anxious behavior. For instance, one aspect I intend on focusing my research on is Obsessional Compulsive Disorder in which compulsive behaviors are suggested to be driven by high levels of anxiety. From the leanings suggested here, it may be that compulsive behaviors are the result of competing motives involving cognitive beliefs.


Tutorial 1[edit]

In this weeks tutorial the class we were broken down into teams and asked to discuss what was mean by "Motivation and Emotion". My definition of motivation was " some form of uplifting state to achieve some purpose" , while my definition of emotion was "energy in motion" taken from the word e-motion. However the group introduced more thorough definitions, identifying motivation as an internal drive directing behavior, and emotion as something that could be expressed both internally and externally, as a reaction to stimuli, through facial expressions or through physiological responses such as skin conductance. James also asked us to develop questions for our textbook chapter. My chapter is on the motivation driving Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here I asked listed the following:

  • Where do intrusive thoughts come from?
  • Are intrusive thoughts the result of emotion (anxiety) or do they stem from cognitive beliefs, malfunctioning brain structures or past experiences?
  • Why do people engage in compulsive behavior such as checking locks numerous times when they internally know their behavior isn't rational?
  • Why do OCD individuals vary between the content of obsessions and why does OCD behavior stop and start?

These questions have long termed fascinated me, as I have always been curious as how thoughts enter the mind.

  • Where do thoughts come from?
  • What distinguishes a good thought from a bad thought?
  • Do thoughts become obsessions when they are only inappropriate in content eg. (fear of contamination) and is it the individuals response to the thought that makes the obsession stick and persist?
  • Can an OCD mind use the same mind to solve the problem of OCD ?
  • Can research into brain plasticity provide better approaches to treatment then counseling and drugs? What about eastern medicine?

Another huge question that I have wondered, is it possible to develop OCD after watching the movie "The Secret"? The movie states that we are all responsible for our own destiny and creation, and that its our thoughts that are creating our lives and everyday events. Obviously from this movie, severe dangers may arise, specifically if a bad thought enters conscious, then the viewer starts to ponder the idea that, thinking may actually be the same as creating such bad event. A term coined thought fusion.

The movie "The Secret" may put those with highly imaginative minds and good morals at risk, whereby the individuals takes on responsibility for events that may in fact be out of their control. This is interesting because OCD individuals are suggested to have beliefs that relate to inflated responsibility, and low competence concerning control.

Motivation psychology is also about developing solutions to improve and enhance lives, so it's plausible to consider all of the above.

Grand Theories[edit]

Grand theories are those that were developed earlier in history in attempt to explain all human motivated action into one cause. For instance a grand theory would not only explain why individuals eat and sleep, it would also explain why certain people fall in love and why others don't. Additionally it would provide reasoning for individual differences and preferences towards activities such as sports and hobbies. However, due to the complexity of human behavior these theories have yet provided full scientific explanations. The theories mentioned include :

Descartes proposed that a motivation force existed that controlled an individuals actions. This was identified as the Will. This particular force was suggested to leave the individual no choice over behaviors exhibited and the events that took place within their lives. The idea of the will was abandoned, when people were shown to resist temptation with delayed gratification.
According to instinct theory, individuals are believed to behave the way they do through pre-wired genes and past evolution. Charles Darwin's work 'The Selfish Gene' involved concepts of the instinct. Reasons for why males are attracted to women with physical beauty and similarly reasons as to why women are attracted to men with money could be linked to the instincts of survival and replication passed down from our ancestors. The concept of instinct may be useful for my chapter on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as it intrusive thoughts may be rising from unconscious motives involving protection. Particularly when considering the content of OCD individuals deals with violence, religious, and health concerns. Additionally, perhaps that technology has risen at such a fast rate, and the external demands have changed so rapidly that the machinery of our mind just hasn't evolved at the same rapid rate.
Drive theory proposes behavior occurs due to the function of biology, where by an individual acts in the goal to service the bodily needs. For example in the case of OCD, the compulsions may be driven from internal anxiety, an uncomfortable feeling sending an indication to the individual that something is wrong, and certain action needs to be taken in order to regain a sense of comfort. This may manifest in the form of compulsion. Even though this doesn't make logical sense, towards serving a bodily need to reduce anxiety, the compulsion does in fact assist. Another way at looking at this, could come from a perspective that the body may be low in serotonin, and the feelings of anxiety are indicating the individual that a biological need is in jeopardy and help may be required. In this instance the emotion is guiding the individual in a beneficial way.

Week 2 Assessment Items[edit]

The assessment items for this subject are very different to any other subject experienced to date. We are required to write a book chapter for a specific topic concerning motivation or emotion. My book chapter is on Motivation and Anxiety Disorders. This should be interesting, however I am currently unaware of how, exactly the two components will fit together. Upon investigating other Motivation and Emotion Textbooks I am yet to find one that deals with a whole chapter entirely on Motivation and Anxiety Disorders. Rather, anxiety tends to spread entirely throughout the books with one line sentences. This will be an uprising challenge, for both the topic and learning how to write in textbook format. The other assessment items involve creating a multimedia presentation for the textbook chapter and creating an online E-Portfolio. Both of these items incorporate elements of creativity which should be fun.


My initial thoughts involving the textbook chapter and task engagement stem from identifying the motives that guide anxious behaviours. I will use Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as my main disorder for focus. However, this topic seem complex in the case that OCD doesn't involve one behaviour, it involves many. It's not as specific as eating or sleeping, rather it deals with varying compulsions, various intrusions which surround different themes. The other challenge that I face is that it's not tied down to one or two specific theories. Rather, deals with evolutionary, social learning, and biological components. Linking Motivation and Anxiety Disorders into one chapter will require thorough investigation.


Tasks involve creativity Certainly will involve large components of learning which aren't limited to the field of psychology. For example will need to :

  • learn how to write in textbook format
  • learn how to write wiki code
  • learn how use technology equipment in the case of video recording

This subject definitely adds challenges outside of those previously faced in other subjects

  • No exams. I tend to enjoy exams as I often find myself spending too much time on written forms of assessment and easily get caught up in the little details. Exams also have a yes/no answer usually and once the 2-3hrs is over, its gone for good.

Week 3 The Motivated and Emotional Brain[edit]

The Motivated and Emotional Brain[edit]

The emotional and biological brain is swimming in a world of hormones and neurotransmitters which continues to influencing our behavior. Much of this is going on at an unconscious level. Personally, I start asking myself to what extent can I alter the activity of these neurotransmitters. Can this be achieved through drugs, nutrition, exercise, meditation, interactions with friends, passionate and meaningful relationships or through simply observing nature? What are the ingredients that will give me the biggest and most rewarding experiences this life has to offer?

Neurotransmitters & Hormones In the Body[edit]


This is the feel good chemical. How can dopamine be increased? (Possibly through amphetamines as Andre Agassi may suggest, according to his biography involving his tennis career). More sensibly, exercise, nutrition, and actively engaging in the activities an individual finds pleasurable. Anticipation of a good event can also bring on dopamine, for instance an up coming tennis tournament, release date of unit results, and seeing someone special. According to research, dexamphetamine is a stimulant medication believed to increase dopamine levels in the brain, to stimulate executive functioning when performance is lacking. This is linked to the pre-frontal cortex. Specifically the brain component involved in decision making. Interestingly, executive functioning is of concern when considering OCD, as often one disorder may actually be the prime motivator for another. Research has shown that individuals with OCD sometimes have an underlying condition such as ADHD. On occasions when the ADHD is treated, OCD actually clears up on its own accord. This is an area of knowledge that, often general medical practitioners may be unaware of.


This is a key neurotransmitter in feeling good. This may temporarily be increased by chocolate and carbohydrates. However exercise is also suggested to increase levels of thid neurotransmitter. OCD individuals are suggested to be low in this neurotransmitter. The research indicates that SSRI's are a main form of treatment for anxiety disorders. This is one specific section I shall investigate when writing my textbook chapter. Low levels of serotonin may act as motives for OCD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Brain Structures

The Amygdala

When an individual is exposed to fear provoking stimuli, increased activity occurs within the amygdala. The amygdala functions in the storage of highly emotionally charged events, specifically those concerning fear. When an individual is experiencing levels of high anxiety, the amygdala is highly aroused. This may provide insight into the explanation of symptoms of hyper vigilance, fear and constant worry.

Constant Worry & Brain Circuitry

The orbital cortex functions as the error detection circuit. This component of the brain is responsible for stimulating pathways concerning worry. These pathways run between the caudate nucleus, the cingulate gyrus, and the thalamus. Research suggests that the caudate nucleus is responsible for changing from one thought to another. The persistence of intrusive thoughts are suggested to be the result of a malfunctioning caudate nucleus.

The Striatum

The striatum is the key component allowing the intrusive thoughts into awareness. The striatum acts as an automatic transmission and filtering system. When the striatum isn’t functioning correctly, the sensory information coming from the external world isn’t being filtered effectively. This allows the old evolutionary circuits to pass through possibly resulting in the intrusive thoughts.

Physiological Needs[edit]

Physiological needs include water, food and sex. These are the basic needs that are necessary to live, and stem from biological factors. When food and water requirements aren't met, other bodily functions can deteriorate. This includes the brain, and the many processes that occur within. This actually reminds me of a personal and frightening experience a few years ago. I had being involved in long strenuous exercise sessions over several months in the summer. Running anywhere between 16-30km a day, combined with tennis lead me to the emergency room at the hospital with a conditioned identified as hyponatramia. My brain had lacked salts. Patients who are hospitalized have sodium levels of less than 130 mEq/L usually, while coma related cases are generally around 115 mEq/L or less. My levels were at 118 mEq/L. The experiences that occurred were severe thought confusion, muscle spasms, and lapses in reality. When someone would speak to me, I didn't know if they had just spoken to me, if I had imagined it, or if the conversation took place several hours before hand. I couldn't read, nor know how to open a door. This was terribly frightening. This just goes to show how important our basic needs such as food and water are, especially concerning brain activity.

Week 4 Psychological Needs[edit]

Psychological Needs[edit]

Psychological needs can be identified as a preprogrammed innate source that generates the desire to interact with the environment in order to advance personal growth, psychological development, and well being. Psychological needs fall under Self Determination Theory. Once the physiological needs are met and equilibrium to some extent is established, psychological needs are the next stage for growth and well being. This follows Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs model. Psychological needs persist over the lifetime, even when they are met. Often the rewards that arise from meeting these needs lead to the desire for more.


Autonomy suggests that you have some control over your decisions and what goes on in your environment. Behavior is autonomous when it’s guided by an individuals interests and preferences. This approach considers the personal aspect rather than focusing on a particular outcome to some degree. Furthermore, it is nurturing and encouraging in origin.

The textbook chapter exercise for this unit definitely shows aspects of autonomy from my perspective. The students have the choice over which topics they can choose. This allows us to pursue our interests. Additionally what I like best is that it has been made quite clear, help is easily accessible either via the lecturer, or other class mates within tutorials or Wikiversity. The major point that mostly stands out from this is that students are not so much in competition with each other for a change. Rather we are encouraged to work together for the better of all. This increases our learning opportunities, the possibility for new relationships and higher levels of achievement. I really like this concept as I feel that while competition has its purpose, there are more meaningful aspects to life which need to be addressed and brought forward. The exercise chapter, tutorials and the online components of communication does a good job at that.


Competence suggests that an individual has the skill to be capable in the environment in which they are working. This is something that we can all relate to as a psychological need. For instance when we don't feel competent in a particular environment we may be motivated to carry out some form of avoidance behavior or motivated to step up to the challenge and increase the likelihood for future successes. Competence involves components of optimal challenge and flow (combination of skill and task level). These are best when evenly matched. In the case that the task is too hard, stress may result. Alternatively when the task is too easy it can become tedious. This comes from the work carried out by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Optimal Experience and Flow. I researched some of his work, and was fascinated by it. I came across one of his books in the Dymocks book store "The classic work on how to achieve happiness" and ended up purchasing it. I am still yet to finish reading it because of the current uni work load, though, so far it's incredible. In one of Mihaly's conferences a music composer description of flow is :

“You are in an ecstatic state to such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist. I have experienced this time and time again. My hand seems devoid of myself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there watching in a state of awe and wonderment. And the music just flows out of itself” ---- Mihaly Csikzentmihaly

Critical and positive feedback is an essential component regarding the individual’s requirement to feel competent. Feedback may come from the task itself. For instance when you enjoy the tasks you’re doing, often you will experience the joy. This likely would increase your motivation to continue tasks in similar nature. This is likely coming from intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic motivation. Feedback isn't limited to emotions felt and may also come from others. For instance friends, workers and those around you.

Competence in the workplace can be enhanced through some sort of structure or training program. Resources should be readily available, and failure tolerance should be acceptable. For an individual to grow and develop, the environment needs to promote engagement, learning opportunities, and allow for individuals to make mistakes. Often true growth comes from mistakes and without mistakes one could easily argue that, progression throughout life wouldn't be possible. For instance, a baby falls over many times before learning to walk. This section is relevant to my textbook chapter for motivations behind anxiety disorders as the research suggests that OCD sufferers may have cognitive beliefs involving perfectionism. This suggests individuals with OCD may place greater blame on themselves when they make mistakes, possibly acting as a motive towards the disorder.


Relatedness identifies the need to relate with others and bond. Interacting with others opens up opportunities for close relationships, whereby the likelihood of experiencing positive emotions increases. Relatedness comes under three categories.

  • Exchanging - Counting what you put in and what you get back. For example work.
  • Communal relationship – Carrying out an act of kindness where keeping count is not an issue. For example a marriage relationship.
  • Internalization – Relationships where an individual carries out an act of kindness for another, because there is an internal wanting to do so.

After reading the notes on relatedness, I can see how this is a particular area that is relevant to many of our daily interactions. For instance, what is it that motivates me to coach tennis? Obviously, I am getting paid for it, so it can be considered exchanging, however I also have an internal wanting to do so as it gives me satisfaction watching people improve. In this aspect it could be considered partly internalization.

  • Above all relatedness could be thought of as something that either directs us towards certain people and away from others.
Social Needs [edit]

Social needs are those that stem from an individuals learned experiences. They are not built into us, though enter our awareness through daily events, interactions, and culture. They include achievement, affiliation, intimacy and power. All of these form aspects of personality. These needs influence our choice of hobbies, whether or not we choose to enter commitments such as marriage, follow career paths towards positions of power and exerting control over others or develop behaviors directed towards seeking other peoples approval.

These social needs may be relevant for the textbook chapter on motivation and anxiety disorders. For instance lets take the case of approval seeking behavior. When an individual seeks anothers approval, likely there's the feeling that he/she lacks approval. This in turn can create anxiety, guiding the individual towards behaviors that are needy and reassurance seeking. Others may find these behaviors off putting and push the anxious individual away. In such case, this could give rise to cognitive beliefs of failure, increasing the chances of future avoidance behaviors encouraging the existence of an anxiety related condition.

Maslow's Hierachy of Needs

Week 5 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation[edit]

Peace dove blue sky.png
Intrinsic Motivation[edit]

Intrinsic motivation is closely linked with self determination theory. When autonomy, relatedness and competence are met, an individual is most likely to be in a position where he/she is able recognize intrinsic motivation and utilize this. One of the major goals of motivational psychologists is to increase intrinsic motivation. This is because we are far more productive and happy when intrinsic motivation is followed. The behaviors that arise from intrinsic motivation tend to foster autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This also has performance benefits such as enhancing concentration, and decision making. People are more likely to continue the activity when they’re intrinsically motivated rather than be distracted by the extrinsic reward. I think this concept is vital in today society especially when concerning careers, long time hours in the office, and overall internal goals involving life satisfaction. Money is important in today’s world there's no doubting that, though it’s also important to step back occasionally and ask "Would I be prepared to stay in this job for the rest of my life, even if offered a million dollars?" If the answer is no, than perhaps it's time to investigate other avenues. Personally I myself find that my best work occurs when I am interested in the tasks, whereby I lose track of time, and get really involved. The impacts are accumulating, not only in the work, they stem to my conservations with friends, relationships, performance on the tennis court, eating habits and psychological health. When I follow my passions the positive emotions increase. When I don't they slide backwards. Intrinsic motivation involves pursuing your own interests which come from within. Doing it because you want to do it, doing it because it’s rewarding for self, and not doing it for some external reward, (concrete – money) or (social recognition, praise, recognition, or avoid embarrassment). The reward is something you feel within yourself. It's important to point out that intrinsic motivation has nothing to do with being selfish or pushing others out of the way to get what you desire. Intrinsic motivation is beyond selfishness, and stems from healthy and kind motivators. My personal opinion is that intrinsic motivation stems from the heart of our very soul.

Extrinsic Motivation [edit]

Extrinsic motivation is guided by the environmental response returned. It ranges from least autonomous to most autonomous. Examples of external incentives include grades, and money. However they're maybe better ways to strike individual motivation as the rewards don't always contribute to psychological growth, though rather attempt to control. I have noticed this in coaching young children tennis. There's no point in giving them prizes week after week. What can actually happen is the process backfires, with the children leading to expectations that its a right to get a prize rather than just enjoying the game and competition. As I have since found there are better ways to motivate the children to try, by saying "I know you can hit this ball over the net, I have seen you do it before!" in an enthusiastic tone. It's amazing what you can learn from experiences like these. Discover a way to prompt intrinsic motivation within an individual and then roll with it is better than attempting to control.

Incentives [edit]
  • Environmental events that attract or repel someone toward or away from initiating a particular course of action
  • Where there's no intrinsic motivation to do something, incentives, consequences, rewards and punishments can work. For example road behavior, recycling. However this is not necessary the best way to increase motivational behaviors.
Consequences, Rewards and Punishment[edit]

Punishments are ineffective due to the wide range of side effects. The side effects usually aren’t worth the short term benefits. Furthermore they can impair relationships, particularly those involving family members. Parental punishment can have severe psychological and sexual effects on a child. Particularly if the punishment is spanking. For instance if the child is sexually aroused when spanked, this may have later development issues and conflicts between love, pain and sex. Punishments are based on negative modeling, which can become a viscous cycle replicated whereby victims may become bully's. However I am a little hesitant about the degree of truth in the "victims become bullies" attitude. Occasionally, I think that's just a cop-out for some weak individual to assault someone. Some individuals can get smashed violently even worse than the majority and go on to never hurt anyone or become violent. Positive rewards can be effective for trivial activities when there's no intrinsic motivation. However questions arise as to what happens when people provide rewards for activities in which an individual is already intrinsically motivated to do. There are hidden costs to giving people rewards, for what they're already doing. These hidden costs can actually take from the intrinsic motivation, where people become more distracted and focused on the external reward. While the intended effect of the external reward was to increase the intrinsic motivation, it actually does the opposite which affects the individuals approach to the task.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory [edit]
  • Used to understand how an extrinsic event may effect intrinsic motivation. External reward or punishment will either control the persons behavior or inform the individual on how they are going and how they can improve there competence.
  • Locus casualty is the individuals belief in what causes their behavior. The person will form ideas about whether it is themselves (internal) or (situation) something external. While it is possible to provide an extrinsic reward that increases that local causality, the outcome is better when the reward is non-tangible (social confidence boost). Whereby the reward aims at an individuals sense of competence which leads back to self determination theory (autonomy, competence, relatedness).
Motivating Others [edit]

Motivating others can be done through attempting to regulate emotions through contingencies, reinforcements and punishments. However sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between intrinsic behavior and extrinsic behavior with individuals. For example two people may be doing the same thing, though only they would themselves know internally why they are engaged in the particular activity. Often in most cases it's a mix, which further enhances the consideration for hidden costs. Motivating behavior can be achieved through principles of operant conditioning, rewards, reinforcements and punishments. However the most effective approach is through: prove reason rationale and looking for some aspect where there's slight interest, and then use that as a starting point to increase intrinsic motivation.

Goal Setting and Goal Striving [edit]

Goal setting links in with components of Mihalys work on flow and optimal experience. His research suggested that when and individuals goals are above their level of capability they may become anxious. On the other hand, if the goal is below their level of capability they we can become bored. To be able to set goals that are realistic, while promoting a sense of challenge can be an interesting task in itself. What is really fascinating about this concept of goal setting and striving forward is that, when the optimal level is reached, a peak state can occur whereby the goal in a way becomes effortless. That's not to say, that the task doesn't involve high levels of skill, though more so to emphasise that the task is so enjoyable the process of engagement goes beyond the final result of having achieved the goal. I find this incredibly interesting because to me this indicates that real creation comes from some source or possible higher self that goes far beyond the outersurface of the superficial mind, and extrinsic motivation from the external world.

Week 6 Personal Control Beliefs[edit]

Personal Control[edit]

Individuals have motivation to exercise personal control. This includes control over the environment and the events within ones life. Engaging in personal control allows people to maximize positive outcomes, leading to a more fluent and productive life. In order to do so, the person must have a certain level of belief in themselves. Having a powerful perception of being able to control outcomes internal and external, can act as a predictive indicator that he/she is more likely to adopt behavior approach motivational styles. This involves taking action. There are two main components.

  • Expectancy how likely it is that a certain event will occur. "Can I do it?"
  • Will it provide me with the outcome that I expected? "Are there any consequences?"

To expand on this, lets say that there's a state wide tennis tournament coming up, and the prize money is $1000. I could ask myself, am I capable of winning this? Assume the answer is yes. However, will the outcome provide me with that which I expect, say the money. Well, "Yes" it will provide me with the money, though the downside is that it will also place added pressures onto me. For instance I will be expected to win the tournament after that, and the one after that. Whether these are self imposed by myself, others or from past experience, the beliefs are still there.

Self Efficacy[edit]

Self efficacy involves cognitive beliefs in how well we can cope over time. They revolve around our belief, that we will be able to perform the skill regardless of the difficulty of the situation. This process involves translating ability into performance. Bandura came with the theory of Self Efficacy, where the best prediction of success comes from the individuals own belief in the task. For example, a tennis player may be able to perform incredibly well in a practice session, though when they're put out on the court in knockout tournament conditions can they step up and win. A good indication may simply involve asking the individual, under these circumstances do you think you can win. This concept helps explain why some people approach certain situations and why others don't. When the individual has self efficacy greater than self doubt, then the outcome will likely result in approach motivation. Whereas, if the individual has greater self doubt than self efficacy then likely he/she will engage in avoidance behavior

Sources of Self Efficacy[edit]
  • Past behavior (past learning experiences may form cognitive beliefs related to ability)
  • Learning through observation (seeing someone else succeed may influence your willingness to approach the task)
  • Verbal persuasion (encouragement from others who have faith in you may increase the likelihood of approach)
  • physiological activity (optimal arousal may lead to approach which links back in with Mihaly's work on flow and optimal experience)

Having a positive self efficacy can predict the amount of effort and length one may put into the task. Individuals with high self efficacy tend to find solutions through difficult circumstances, and experience positive emotions. However its important to note that having high self efficacy doesn't necessarily the individual actually has the skills to achieve. For instance, James noted in the lecture that an individual can't just think they're way to success. Empowerment is also needed.

Mastery Beliefs[edit]

Mastery beliefs are closely linked to autonomy and coping strategies. When things get difficult people with good coping strategies can find various ways through difficult times as opposed to giving in and throwing in the towel. This includes moving towards rather than away from the problem. For instance facing the situation at hand. Often I think that many of the problems we face are really just stories, that have been rehearsed over and over again within ones mind, to such extent that a limited view on the world arises and that's all we can see. When a person lets go of the emotion attached to the story or the concept of the story or even some feelings of being proud of the story itself, the problem can often fade away and be seen from new and different angles. My personal experience has shown me this. When solving problems, some people may act on their own, while others seek help from other individuals. Coping action can be done either through indirect or direct means.

Learned Helplessness [edit]

Learned helplessness can be considered the opposite to mastery. Individuals tend to have a distorted unhealthy view of the self. In such cases when an individual faces failure, the result is likely to be magnified within him/herself where by their mastery beliefs seem to be forgotten. Reasons for failure are seen as intrinsic to the individual rather than environment. This could be thought of as "only seeing the world in certain shades" where there is no perception of control available. For this to happen there has to be learning from past experiences to have occurred along with memory encoding, as well as behavioral components that reinforce and sustain this way of being. Consequences can arise from this such as learning problems, lack of motivation, apathy, and depression.

The self [edit]

The self involves many components such as self concept, identity, agency, and self regulation. This topic is so large, that it wouldn't be realistic to try and summarise this in several paragraphs. My interpretation from the material suggests that individuals are constantly taking all the pieces of information from events, experiences, social interactions, and regulating emotions in cognitive processes in the overall goal of adapting to the environment while becoming the best possible person that he/she can be.

Week 9 & 10 Emotions and Perspectives [edit]

Manga emotions-EN.jpg

Emotions can be identified as short lived, feelings of arousal or under arousal. They tend to act as feedback mechanisms to enable us to adapt and cope with the various situations we face. It’s also important to note that emotions themselves can act as motivation forces. Emotions accompany four components: feelings, body arousal, social expression and sense of purpose. Feelings are dependent on the individual, interpreted by cognitive processes. For instance a pounding heart upon sight of an attractive girl to some may indicate anxiety, while for another it may indicate excitement and joy. From this it can easily be seen interpretation of the emotion plays a role. Bodily arousal is the individual's biological response to prepare for coping actions based on the emotion. Social expression deals with our ability to communicate emotion through gestures, voice tone and behavior. However, this can often be over played and underplayed to some extent and acted. For instance, one may smile when in fact they are sad or one may stay quiet and appear aloof when in fact they know exactly what is going on. Mental illnesses such as depression in some cases may be overplayed. In saying this, I acknowledge that there are many serious true cases where the illness is in fact so bad that one can’t even stand up to get out of the corner of their room and would do anything to cry but has forgotten how to. However on the other hand one has to be cautious when an individual is depressed and constantly talking about their condition to all of their friends as the main topic of conversation. Discussing the latest pills they have tried, and when the next psych appointment is, as if that’s become part of their identity or life story. Sense of purpose involves using the emotion as a guide to take action. For example when I am happy I will go and play tennis, or visit friends.

Main Emotions[edit]

There are different theories that suggest numerous types of emotion. Though, the main basic emotions can be identified as:

  • Sad
  • Fearful
  • Happy
  • Angry
  • Uncertain
  • Love
  • Suprise.
Causes of Emotion[edit]

Emotions are suggested to be caused by either biological components or cognitive components. The biological perspective involves brain circuitry, genetic makeup, and unconscious processes. The cognitive perspective involves how we interpret the emotion. For instance we can acknowledge an emotion as good or bad, and then magnify this through reacting a certain way. I guess what would be ideal is to let go of the negative emotions when they really aren’t serving us in a beneficial way, such as excessive fear of a future imagined event that is unlikely to happen. On the other hand it would be ideal to increase the positive emotions. Perhaps this also can be accompanied by letting go of the happy emotions experienced. From this perspective I’m suggesting that when you’re trying to hold onto a good emotion, there’s actually some kind of opposing force suggesting that you’re going to lose it because otherwise there would be no need to try and hold onto it.

Week 11 Personality Motivation and Emotion[edit]

The Trait Perspective[edit]

Personality traits are suggested to be stable over time. These traits play a role in our everday interactions, the places we choose to visit, the friends we associate with and the way we cope with difficult situations. The five main traits expressed throughout the research generally include the following:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Agreeableness
  • Extroversion
  • Neuroticism

The research associates happiness with extroversion. This makes obvious sense when considering that the psychological needs autonomy, connectedness and relatedness closely link with being able to exercise control of your environment, form close relationships, connect with one another and freely explore the world. From the personality test conducted in "Personality and Individual Differences", my highest trait was shown to be openness. This suggests that I am open to new experiences, new possibilities and various ways of looking at the world. However, I also tended to be high on agreeableness, which has a downfall of suggesting that perhaps they're maybe some form of approving seeking behavior involved. However, I am hesitant towards this idea of "approving seeking behavior" because at the end of the day when there's confrontation, I have to ask myself, on the wide scale of everything, is this really that important? These personality traits can influence approach motivation behavior or avoidance motivation behaviors. This stems on from previous sections already dealt with. My own criticism, however towards personality traits, is that I disagree with the idea that they are stable over time. I like to think that nothing is concrete; everything changes, including our perception of others and what's important. There's no amount of research that could convince me otherwise. Then again, perhaps that’s just my "openness" kicking in.

Week 12 Unconscious Motivation and Emotion[edit]

Sigmund Freud[edit]

Freud observed that people often engaged in behaviour that wasn’t necessarily beneficial or warranted. This led him to believe that unconscious forces must be occurring underneath the surface of the mind whereby, internal forces were directing and guiding behavior. He theorized the mind contained two opposing forces, the instinctual drive to satisfy the self (Id), and the competing force of societal expectations (Superego). These were suggested to be balanced by the (ego). The ego’s main role involved utilizing defense mechanisms, in which inappropriate thoughts (e.g. similar to those observed in OCD patients) were pushed down into consciousness. However, as time went on it was suggested repression could only go so far. It could be likened to bottling up a pile of emotions into a coke bottle and shaking it, where by sooner or later the bottle will burst. I find Freud’s work to be interesting, and certainly has its merits, whether it can be proven scientifically or not a large part of me believes components to be true. I disagree with his views on sexual development, however regardless of whether repression and ego mechanisms kicked in during those sexual stages and a person developed into a oral fixated type, or anal type doesn’t tend to really matter that much, but more so the fact that, earlier events in life played a role. This is undeniable as shown in Bolwby’s work on attachment theory. However thought suppression, certainly is relevant in OCD, as OCD patients try to push intrusive thoughts out of consciousness only to have them appear and reappear stronger than ever.

Week 13 Growth Motivation and Positive Psychology[edit]

Positive Psychology[edit]
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Holism is a top-down approach to understanding an individual. This comes from humanistic psychology which aims to learn about human potential, and seek out its development. Humanistic psychology however has its limits due to the lacking of scientific reasoning which has lead towards the field of positive psychology. Positive psychology attempts to place science into a field that is somewhat both philosophical and psychological in nature. The aim of positive psychology is to build upon an individual’s personal strengths, abilities, allowing for a more fulfilling life. This has certain advantages when concerning mental illnesses, prevention and treatments. I got the indication from the lecture, that its possible when our nurturing requirements have being fulfilled and met, some illnesses may actually fade away. I interpret this to be an indication that illnesses may be similar to emotions in the aspect for providing feedback that something is wrong so adjustments can be made. For instance an anxiety disorder may actually be the body’s way of letting the individual know that they’re diet is overly rich in caffeine foods such as coffee, redbull and coke. Positive psychology takes on the perspective that emotions such as anxiety don’t necessarily need to be feared, but rather embraced. When difficult situations arise, we always have a choice. We can either resist, and push the discomfort felt from the situation away or we can see it as an opportunity for personal growth and change. At the end of the day, trying to push bad emotions away only fuels them more, so why bother. Welcome the negative emotion or the crisis as best as you can, even if that’s only a little. When I say this I am not implying some form of positive thinking, brainwashing or affirmations which from experience, is just like adding more junk on top of junk. I am just saying acknowledge the situation for what it is. This all comes down to acceptance. This is my personal view when dealing with difficult situations, and I believe that it links in perfectly with positive psychology.

Carl Rogers[edit]

I really agree with some of Carl Rogers work involving self actualization and the idea that that every human being is motivated towards self actualization. The other aspects that are fascinating are the ideas that we actually have the built in ability to heal ourselves. This concept has always being of interest to me. I mean when we fall over or hurt ourselves, intellectually we don’t know how to heal the skin and regenerate new cells, yet the body takes care of it. Even though the body doesn’t take care of say a mental illness, I certainly believe that the resources exist within ourselves do so. Carl Rogers suggests that people are all by nature, resourceful, trustful and capable of making decisions and living fulfilling lives. He also places a large emphasis on empathy when concerning treatment. Actually after investigating just a small component of his work I am starting to wish I carried out my textbook chapter on this. The views tend to be very uplifting. Carl Rogers

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs [edit]

Within the field of positive psychology, self-actualization may be similarly linked with Eastern views of “Enlightenment”. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs act as a guide to achieving self-actualization. Self actualization actually is hidden below the other needs, and remains relatively quiet and relatively unnoticed in today’s society. However I believe that, self-actualization is the most vital need of all. My experience tells me that one hasn’t truly lived, unless they’ve experienced some form of self-actualization. This may seem farfetched coming from an undergrad student in 3rd year, though while I may have experienced aspects of this state, I have not being able to sustain it. This state has occurred through long activities of running around the Canberra lakes, observing the water, ducks, trees, sky and clouds. While this is debatable on whether the state arose from endorphins, neurotransmitters, exercise and being outside is questionable. Regardless, it was the best experience of my life involving complete freedom, security and joy.

Week 14 Conclusion[edit]

This has been an incredible learning experience for me. This subject has certainly, to this date being the most interesting and challenging of all. I say this in complete honesty. Regardless of the grade obtained, the learning’s from this go beyond psychology and will be beneficial in the future. The technical skills gained in wiki code, format, layout and the extensive components involving long written assessments have definitely helped improve my language and writing skills. The assessment components were far beyond the normal, and have exposed me to new areas. While I can look back and see certain components in my textbook chapter that I could definitely improve on, like a quiz, glossary, and a firm statement of coverage, and lapses within my media presentation, the overall subject and lecture materials provided can only be given praise. This has definitely an enjoyable experience.

Hamish Mcleod


Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2008). Self determination theory : A macrotheory of human motivation, development and health. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182-185.

Hewitt, S.N., Egan, S., & Rees, C. (2009). Preliminary investigation of intolerance of uncertainty treatment for anxiety disorders. Clinical Psychologist, 13(2), 52-58.

Moulding, R., Kyrios, M., Doron, G., & Nedeljkovic, M. (2009). Mediated and direct effects of general control beliefs on obsessive compulsive symptoms. Journal of Behavioural Science, 41(2), 84-92.

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. United States of America: Wiley.