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Here is the link to my Chapter on Flow:

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.



Introduction to Motivation and Emotion[edit]

Welcome and thankyou for taking a looking of my E-portfolio for my class in Motivation & Emotion. This journal documents a whole unit's and a whole semester's worth of learning. I have included many notes on what I've learnt (I feel that taking notes as I go along, allows me to retain the information better). I have also included notes on what I learnt during tutorial classes and what my personal summary of the whole unit was. Thankyou for taking an interest on my page.

Themes in Motivation:

  • Motivation benefits adaptation
  • Motives direct attention and prepare action
  • Motives vary over time and influence the ongoing stream of behaviour.
  • Types of motivations exist
  • Motivation includes both approach and avoidance tendencies.
  • Motivation study reveals what people want.

Reeve, page 1; “What does motivation and emotion mean to you?”. I see motivation as being a personal desire to achieve a particular goal. Of course the strength of desire and the goal itself would differ widely according to individual differences. Emotion I think is even easier to define, as it is a sensation everyone knows. It is simply a ‘feeling’ that may override common sense and thought when greatly heightened. As it has also been localized to certain areas of the brain, the existence of emotion further appears a reality, in comparison to that of motivation. I feel though that trying to define these concepts in so few words is rather futile, and this is exemplified by the size of the book I am looking at...

Fourteen motivational reasons to exercise (Table 1.1). Makes me feel guilty that my number of reasons to exercise is well 0. It’s interesting though to imagine how many different possibilities and sources of motivation can exist for such a simple example.

“Motivation and emotion influence more than just behaviour. They also influence our thoughts, our feelings, and our dreams and aspirations.”(pg 6, Reeve). I really quite like this quote. Sounds very mystic and inspirational. It emphasizes just how important the study of motivation and emotion is.

“Motives are internal experiences- needs, cognitions, and emotions- that energize the individual’s approach and avoidance tendencies. External events are environmental, social, and cultural offerings that attract or repel the individual to engage or not engage in a particular course of action.” (pg.8, Reeve). This quote nicely collaborates the four sources of motivation and demonstrates how internal sources appear to 'energize' us towards motives, whereas external sources are rather presented to us, and we react accordingly.

We are all hedonists (approach pleasure, avoid pain). I think this may be debatable, however I admire the ways in which motivation research aims to identify commonalities between people regardless of their culture or age. I believe that common goals between people help bring people closer together and help bring respect to one another.

To flourish, motivation needs supportive conditions. I find this remark very interesting and I would like to learn more about it. Coming from a single parent, family of five, I believe I have always had more motivation that what might be typical for someone having grown up in my circumstance. Also the youngest, I believe family order and parental influence on motivation would be interesting topics of research.

Historical & Contemporary Perspectives[edit]

The Will- as defined by Descartes, it involves the acts of choosing, striving and resisting. Although contemporary psychologists prefer concrete psychological process (i.e strategies, goals), I believe the term of 'willpower' is here to stay in the english language.

Instinct- I believe instinct is particularly disregarded (having completed quite a bit of environmental studies I have examined many examples of instinctual behaviour in animals). I think it might still exist in humans, just that is overpowered by alternative processes of the complex human mind. However, I do believe McDougalls remark that 'without instincts human would imitate no action' is a bit absurd.

Drive Theory- Gotta love the popularity of this Theory. In regards to the exclamation that bodily deficits resulted in the motivation to restore equilibrium, and hence this was the result of all behaviour, was overassumed. For example, rats still learn when rewarded with saccharin (no nutritive effects).

A quite admire the contemporary research of multiple perspectives (mini-theories) despite the belief that grand theories may present themselves again. I believe the mind is so complex, especially in such a broad domain as motivation and emotion and therefore mini-theories are needed in order to explain all such possibilites...

How to use Wikiversity[edit]

Tutorial 1[edit]

Define: Motivation. A source of energy that directs us towards a need or goal. Emotion: Internal sensation that affects our cognitive thoughts and behaviours.

What areas of motivation and emotion are you most curious about?

  • Achievement motivation- What individual characteristics determine success?
  • How emotion and motivation interact- What are the interacting principles between emotion and motivation in depression?
  • How emotion affects interpersonal relationships- How does the intensity of different emotions impact on our perceptions of others?
  • Motivation for new experiences- What motivates the need to travel or engage in new experiences even when they are frightening.
  • How emotion affects physical health- Can the concept of heartbreak be literal?

What needs to be considered for the textbook chapter:

The structure can include:

  • Questions
  • History
  • A definition
  • Content
  • A summary or overview

Learning activities:

  • Case study
  • Stop & Review
  • Definition of terms
  • Interesting facts
  • Links to you tube
  • Internal Link

I have chosen "Flow theory" for my textbook chapter. Unfortunately, all my original topic interests were taken, but after having done some research I came across the flow theory and decided it sounded quite interesting. Also, I believe it will be interesting to study such a mysterious sounding concept, especially as it is so greatly connected with motivation. I am actually looking forward to studying and formulating the research for my textbook chapter.

Brain & Physiological needs[edit]

This week we studied the motivated and emotional brain. This research included studying the various physiological properties and particular anatomical structures of the brain involved in motivation and emotion. Also examined were the physiological needs people must satisfy in order to enjoy a healthy and satisfying well-being.

I was looking forward to studying these areas because I find certain aspects of the physiological processes involved in psychology quite interesting. Especially such areas involved with hormones and neurotransmitters. As I am doing human biology as my major within psychology, I believe I can appreciate how complicated some of this research is (although I'm sure it's much more complex than even what I understand). I also enjoy the physiological research found within psychology that isn't ever mentioned in human biology such as research on the BAS/BIS system.

There are three general principles that guide research on the motivational/emotional brain:

  1. Specific brain structures generate specific motivations. By stimulating the brain in different areas, different motivation states can be activated.
  1. Biochemical Agents stimulate specific brain structures. Biochemical agents are neurotransmitters and hormones
  1. Day-to-day events stir biochemical agents into action. i.e. dieting, ghrenlin rises, leptin falls. Sleep deprivation also seems to produce the same affect.

I find it interesting that sleep deprivation can illicit the same effect as dieting (through increasing hunger). I believe this is because when the brain has had no sleep to recuperate it instead desires fast and easy glucose which is its main fuel source. I would be interested in studying further the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain.

The cerebral cortex and its functions are intrinsically involved in generating and regulating motivation and emotional states. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is intrinsically involved in motivation and emotion. They key limbic structures include the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, septal area, ventral tegmental area, and the fibers that connect these structures into the communication network.

There are three limbic structures that are approach orientated (hypothalamus, medial forebrain bundle, and orbito-frontal cortex) and two which are avoidance orientated (amygdala and hippocampus). The prefrontal cortex is associated with both approach and avoidance motivation while the reticular formation is associated with arousal.

I have always admired the limbic system as it is so underappreciated and overlooked by those who have not studied it and believe it is only the cerebral cortex that has any use in human intelligence. The limbic system itself has evolved from simpler origins; it develops from the area of the brain known as the rhinencephalon which is involved with olfaction (smell). This is perhaps why odors often trigger emotional reactions and memories. Furthermore, it is believed it may have evolved to manage flight or fight circuitry, which is essential to animal survival (and which also explains the basic emotions of anger and fear).

The following is a list of some of the more important structures of the brain involved in motivation & emotion:

The 3 approach orientated structures:

  1. Hypothalamus- 20 nuclei. Eating, drinking and mating. Able to regulate the body’s internal environment through the pituitary. Regulates bodies internal environment through endocrine and autonomic controls.
  2. Medial Forebrain Bundle- fibers that connect hypothalamus to other limbic structures. It is the “pleasure centre”. In humans, it does not produce intense pleasure but rather positive feelings.
  3. Orbitofrontal Cortex- processes incentive related information that helps people make choices between options.

The 2 avoidance orientated structures:

  1. Amygdala- Detects and responds to threatening and emotionally significant events, though each nuclei serves a different function. Regulates emotions involved in self preservation such as anger, fear and anxiety. It also allows us to learn new emotional associations. The amygdale sends projections throughout the brain but not much return, perhaps explaining why emotion may overrule cognitive thoughts.
  2. Septohippocampal circuit- involves the integrated action of several limbic structures. Forecasts the emotion associated with upcoming events in terms of both anticipated pleasure and anticipated anxiety. Nucleus accumbens experiences pleasure from natural reinforces as well as drugs. It generates a ‘liking’ to things, i.e. food. The hippocampus operates as a comparator that compares sensory information with expected (memory) events. The hippocampus can activate the septo-hippocampal circuit inducing an anxiety ridden state. Anti-anxiety drugs and endorphins work on these circuits to reduced anxiety.

Both approach and avoidance orientated:

  1. Prefrontal Cortex. Stimulations of the cerebral cortex can indirectly generate emotional states.
  • Medial prefrontal cortex (learning of response-outcome contingencies).
  • Right cortex: negative avoidance feelings (BIS)
  • Left- Positive approach feelings (BAS)
  • Some people have sensitive right or left cortexes.
  • i.e. extraversion, neuroticism, BIS/BAS systems

Arousal generating:

  1. Reticular Formation- plays a key role in arousal and awaking motivational and emotional concerns. Consists of ascending reticular activating system and descending reticular formation.

A great deal of limbic system output is relayed through the hypothalamus which in turn conveys information to the pituitary gland to produce hormone responses. It is no surprise that some people under ongoing stress experience visceral illnesses such as high blood-pressure and heart-burn. There are three hormones integral to motivation and emotion:

  1. Cortisol: Elevated cortisol has been associated with poor intellectual functioning, negative affect, and poor health outcomes.
  2. Testosterone- involved with sexual motivation and competitiveness
  3. Oxytocin- “tend and befriend stress response” seek counsel from friends when stressed.

In addition to hormones, there are also neurotransmitters which are motivationally relevant. Four of the more important ones include dopamine (good feelings towards rewards), serotonin (good mood & emotion), norepinephrine (arousal/alertness), and endorphin (inhibits pain, anxiety by generating good feelings). I will include some notes on dopamine due to its variety of affects and large importance.

  • Dopamine produces enhanced functioning, creativity and insightful problem solving.
  • The ventral tegmental area (VTA) releases dopamine. Pattern of release is predictable unless events unfold in ways that are better than expected, in which it increases (and vice versa). It is also released by anticipation of reward, it therefore participates in preparatory phases of motivated behavior, i.e. an erection or smell of cookies.
  • However, the experience of pleasure is only loosely correlated with dopamine activation. The dopamine is the reinforcer rather than the epiphenomenal experience of felt pleasure.
  • Dopamine activates voluntary goal-directed approach response. Dopamine pathway connects with the body’s motor system via the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine release is therefore a neural mechanism by which motivation gets translated into action.
  • Many drugs cause dopamine induced neural hypersensitization.

It is easy to see why dopamine is so critically important in psychological research. Many psychological illnesses such as schizophrenia and facets of behaviour such as addiction are connected to brain dopamine levels.

Physiological Needs[edit]

Need: A need is any condition within the person that is essential and necessary for life, growth, and well-being. Motivational states therefore provide the impetus to act before damage occurs to psychological and bodily well-being.

  1. Physiological needs: thirst, hunger, sex
  2. Psychological needs: autonomy, competence, relatedness
  3. Social needs: achievement, intimacy, power.

All needs generate energy. How one need differs itself from another is through its directional effects on behavior. Also, some generate deficiency motivation (Physiological needs) while others generate growth motivation (Psychological needs). Social needs may be either deficiency or growth motivated needs and this depends on the researcher who studies them.

Fundamentals of regulation

  • Clark hull- Drive Theory. Cyclic pattern involves seven core processes.
  1. Need: describes a deficient biological condition.
  2. Drive: It is the conscious manifestation of an underlying unconscious biological need.
  3. Homeostasis : Works to maintain a stable internal state (or equilibrium).
  4. Negative feedback: Physiological stop system. Drive activates behaviour, negative feedback stop it when the need has been satisfied.
  5. Multiple inputs/multiple outputs. i.e. one can feel thirsty for multiple reasons, after exercise, after eating salty foods, or donating blood (inputs). A person can respond to cold in a multitude of ways (outputs).In theoretical terms, drive is an intervening variable that stands between observable causes and observable behaviors (like pain).
  6. Intraorganismic mechanisms. Include all the biological regulatory systems within the person that act in concert to activate, maintain and terminate the physiological needs that underlie drive.
  7. Extraorganismic mechanisms. All the environmental influences that play a part in activating, maintaining and terminating psychological drive.


Physiologists endorse a ‘double depletion’ model of thirst activation. When intracellular fluids diminish, osmometric thirst arises. When extracellular fluids diminish, volumetric thirst arises.

  • Study on rats found that rats that received full replenishment of their extracellular fluids drank much more than did rats that received replenishment of their intracellular fluids. Therefore, osmometric thirst must be the primary cause of thirst activation, activated by dehydrated cells.
  • Animals drank water without water reaching stomach. After many swallows, drinking stops, but this is a weak mechanism. Drank 4x normal.
  • Water to stomach but no further: drank 2x normal.
  • Salty water: everywhere but intracellular. Still more than normal.
  • When factors such as a sweet taste offer high incentive value for drinking, human beings drink excessively and sometimes consume dangerously high amounts, biologically speaking.
  • Alcohol/caffeine addiction. Social/cultural influences.
  • Ecstasy can cause water intoxication and death.
  • Cultural prescription to drink 8 glasses a day. No evidence exists however to support this recommendation. Food provides 20% of total water intake.


More complex than thirst. Hunger regulation involves both short term daily processes operating under homeostatic regulation and long term processes operating under metabolic regulation and stored energy. Also affected by cognitive, social, and environmental influences.

  • Short term appetite model- blood glucose is constantly monitored. ‘glucostatic hypothesis’.
  • Long term energy balance, fat stores contribute a second regulatory role of hunger and eating.

Short term appetite

Rooted in glucostatic hypothesis that blood sugar levels are critical to hunger. Liver monitors glucose- sends signal to lateral hypothalamus which generates hunger. If stimulated continually, obesity will occur. The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is involved in termination of meals without VMH, animals become chronic overeaters. Gets stimulated by high glucose from liver among other factors.

  • Other intraorganismic mechanisms also regulate rise and fall of hunger. Orexins are powerful appetite booster. Ghrelin and orexins may be useful to stimulate hunger (.ie when in chemotherapy).
  • Leptin administration- develop resistance to and continue to experience hunger.
  • To postpone hunger causing insulin, some companies offer low gi goods while others offer special form of starch to keep blood sugar levels constant.
  • Apetite rises and falls in response to non-brain based cues.
  • “lipostatic hypothesis” when fat drops below homeostatic balance, ghrelin is released. When it is above, leptin is released to decrease food intake.
  • Spin off- set point theory. Each individual has a genetically determined body weight or fat thermostat.
  • Genetics also determines metabolic rates and number of fat cells and how extended they should be. However they do change over time.

In my biology class we had to choose a homeostatic mechanism within the body to examine research on. After having read the above material I decided to do mine on the set point theory (that each person's weight is genetically determined). Below is the graph I included in this research to illustrate how three of the bodies weight hormones work together in trying to maintain energy/weight balance.

Energy Balance.png

Environmental influences

  • Variety in food encourages eating. Variety of flavours in one type of food.
  • Food availability and large portion sizes.
  • Social occasion- eat often 50% more.
  • Bingeing is an acquired behavioural pattern under substantial social control.
  • Cheerleading teams. Small groups reinforce beahaviour.
  • Chances of obesity increase if your siblings or same-sex friends are obese.
  • Children prefer foods of those they admire.


Dieter attemps to bring eating under cognitive rather than physiological control.

  • Fasting- vulnerable due to major reduction in energy, decreased metabolism and fragile cognitive controls.
  • Counterregulation- paradoxical pattern displayed by dieters who eat very little when just nibbling but who eat much after counsuming high calorie preload.
  • Depression- when dieting, put on weight (due to restraint release), not dieting, person loses weight. Same for anxious people.
  • Conditions that threaten ego and alcohol also produce restraint release.

Cognitively regulated eating style

  • Dieters are highly vulnerable to bingeing when situational events interfere with cognitive inhibitions.
  • “unfortunately, little or no research supports the claim that weight loss produces health benefits, as the cure for obesity (weight loss) might very well be worse than the condition” ?
  • 3 motivations: self regulation of food intake, mindfulness over one’s environmental influences and exercise motivation can create weight loss control.

Settling point, not set point

  • Robert Bolles (1980). Based on overwhelming importance of extraorganismic influences on physiological appetite.


Influenced, but not determined by hormones. Men and women experience sexual desire differently. In men, correlation between physiological arousal and psychological desire is high. Men show triphasic sexual response cycle: desire, arousal, orgasm. In women, the correlation is low. Instead, secual desire is highly responsive to relationship factors, such as emotional intimacy. Sex begins with intimacy needs, and sexual desire leads to and enhances long term relationship intimacy.

  • The physical attractiveness of a ptotnetial partner is perhaps the most potent external stimulus that affects secual motivation.
  • Both men/women rate slim femals as attractive whereas women’s perceptions of males have little consensus. Main predictor- waist to hip ratio.
  • Study of people’s judgments of the attractiveness of facial characteristics is called facial metrics. This differs between cultures. Women- neonatal features, sexual maturity features, and expressive characteristics. For men, sexual maturity and expressive features.

Sexual script

One’s mental representation of the step-by-step sequence of events that occur during a typical sexual episode. When couples fail to coordinate their sexual scripts, sexual episodes will likely be fraught with distress, conflict and anxiety. People also have sexual schemas which may contain postitive or negative elements which affect sexual desire and arousal. Sexual arousal is always a product of competing excitatory (desire) and inhibitory (anxiety) tendencies.

Sexual orientation

One third of adolescents have participated in at least one homosexual act (with more boys having done so). Genetic/environmental/prenatal hormonal.

Evolutionary basis of sexual motivation

  • Men have shorter tem sexual motivations, impose less stringent standards, value sexual accessibility cues such as youth, and value chastity. Women value signs of a mans resources, social status and ambition and career potential.
  • In particular it seems ‘likes’ attract, women of high attractiveness prefer men of high status and vice versa. When people value in themselves other things besides status and attractiveness they prefer mates who are the same.
  • Multiple mating strategies. First consider ‘necessities’ and then ‘luxuries’ in mate preferences. Men and women possess ‘mating budgets’.

Failure to regulate physiological needs

  1. People routinely underestimate how powerful a motivational force biological urges can be when they are not experiencing them.
  2. People lack standards or they have inconsistent, conflicting, unrealistic or inappropriate standards. I.e. body type they would like to have.
  3. People fail at self regulation because they fail to monitor what they are doing as they become distracted, preoccupied, overwhelmed or intoxicated.
  • Mental control that focuses on realistic standards, long term goals, and on monitoring what one is doing generally leads to self-regulation success.

Psychological & Social needs[edit]

Psychological Needs[edit]

organismic approach to motivation

  • Organsmic theories of motivation acknowledge that environments constantly change and, hence, organisms need flexibility to adjust to and accommodate those changes. They also need environmental resources to grow and to actualize their latent potentials. The opposite of an organismic approach is a mechanistic one, whereby the environment acts on the person and the person reacts.
  • Organismic psychological needs provide the motivation that supports inititiative and learning by way of opportunities and affordances presented by the environment.


  • We have a need for autonomy. We desire choice and decision making flexibility. Autonomy is the psychological need to experience self-direction and personal endorsement in the initiation and regulation of one's behaviour.
  • Behaviour is autonomous when our interests, preferences, and wants guide our decision making process to engage or not engage in a particular activity.
  • perceived locus of causality- refers to an individual's understanding of the causal source of his or her motivated actions.
  • 'Volition' is an unpressured willingness to engage in an activity.
  • perceived choice- refers to that sense of choice we experience when we find ourselves in environments that provide us with decision making flexibility. The opposite is the sense of being pushed towards a source of action.

The conundrum of choice

Not all choices are the same and not all choices promote autonomy. autonomy satisfying choices leads to positive post-choice functioning in terms of enhanced functioning in terms of enhanced intrinsic motivation, effort, creativity, preference for challenge, and performance.

supporting autonomy

Environments, relationships, social contexts, and cultures influence autonomy. When they interfere with autonomy there are referred to as controlling.

Autonomy vs. Controlling motivating style

  • Controlling- when one person uses social influence techniques to achieve a targeted socialization outcome in another person.
  • How people go about creating autonomy supportive environments for others involves four essential ways of relating to others.
  1. Nurtures inner motivational resources: People with an autonomy supportive motivating style motivate others by nurturing their inner motivational resources (controlling style use outer motivational resources). A controlled technique i.e. incentives, rewards, deadlines, commands, threats, punishments.
  2. Relies on informational knowledge: People with autonomy supportive motivation treat poor performance and bad behaviour as problems to be solved. They rely on flexible, informational language whereas controlling people use pressuring, rigid communication style.
  3. Provides explanatory rationales: In boring activities, autonomy supportive people will communicate the value, worth, meaning, utility or importance of a task. The person being motivated may internalize these rationales and put forth the effort on their own behalf.
  4. Acknowledges and accepts negative affect:Negative affect (attitude, criticisms, resistance). autonomy people will work to solve the underlying cause of the negative affect with the other person.

Benefits from autonomy support

  • nurtures psychological need of autonomy
  • need for competence
  • Need for relatedness
  • intrinsic motivation
  • Mastery motivation
  • engagement, such as higher effort
  • more positive emotion
  • enhances importance aspects of development (creativity, self worth)
  • Learning
  • performance
  • psychological well-being.


Everyone wants and strives to be competent. Everyone desires to interact effectively with their surroundings. We all want to develop skills and improve our capacities, talents, and potential. "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, to seek out and master optimal challenges" They key environmental conditions that involves our need for competence are optimal challenge, clear and helpful structure, and high failure tolerance from others, and the key environmental condition that satisfies our need for competence is positive feedback and the perception of progress.

Optimal challenge and flow

Please see my chapter on Flow Theory for more information

  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied hundreds of people he presumed knew what it felt like to have fun and experience enjoyment. Later, he studied more representative samples. He found the essence of enjoyment could be traced to the 'flow experience'
  • It is a pleasurable experience that the person often repeats. It occurs when a person uses their skills to overcome some challenge.
  • When challenge outweighs skills, performers worry or experience anxiety that the demands of the task will overwhelm their skills, thereby threatening competence.
  • When skill outweighs challenge task engagement is characterized by reduced concentration, involvement and boredom. Being under challenged neglects competence.
  • Flow emerges when both challenge and skill are moderately high or high.

Flow theory demonstrates that given optimal challenge, any activity can be enjoyed.

  • Students enjoy homework and part time work than they do watching tv.
  • With very high challenge, people sometimes see in a task a potential for gain, growth and personal improvement.

interdependency between challenge and feedback

Confrontation of an activity might invite challenge but a person does not experience challenge until they receive feedback. structure The amount and clarity of information about what the environment expects the person to do to achieve desired outcomes. A highly structured environment nurtures the need for competence when it offers clear goals, and guidance, and consistent, sensitive, and responsive feedback. failure tolerance Optimal challenge and highly structured environments provide equal success of success but also failure. The dread of failure can squash the competence need involving qualities of optimal challenge. Dread can even motivate avoidance behaviours.

  • Before people engage freely in optimally challenging tasks, the social context must tolerate failure.
  • error tolerance, failure tolerance, and risk taking rest on the belief that we learn more from failure than we do from success.

supporting competence

Supporting competence is largely a function of offering informational feedback when people make progress and creating opportunities for people to enjoy the pleasure of optimal challenge. positive feedback feedback comes from:

  1. Task itself
  2. Comparisons of current performance with past performance
  3. Comparison of current performance with that of others
  4. Evaluation of others.

When these sources of information converge on an interpretation of a job well done, we experience positive feedback that satisfies competence.

Pleasure of optimal challenge and positive feedback.

  • Susan Harter
  • Found children experience the greatest pleasure following success in the context of moderate challenge.
  • "I liked the hard ones because they gave you a sense of satisfaction, but the really hard ones were just too frustrating"


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. We gravitate towards people who we trust to care for our well being .

involving relatedness: interaction with others

Interaction with others is the primary condition for relatedness, at least to the extent that those interactions promise warmth, care, and mutual concern.

supporting relatedness: perception of a social bond

To be satisfying, that social bond needs to be perceived that 1) they care about my welfare and 2) that they like me. But even more than these, the relationship that deeply satisfies relatedness is one where one's "true self" has been shown and deemed important by that other person.

  • Those who feel lonely, do not lack social contact, but rather they lack close, intimate relationships. quality is more important than quantity.
  • Marriages are not always satisfying
  • Emotions such as sadness, depression, jealousy, and loneliness exist as telltale signs of a life lived in the absence of intimate high quality relatedness satisfying relationships.

communal and exchange relationships

Relationships that do (communal) and do not (exchange) satisfy the relatedness need.

  • exchange relationships are those between acquaintances or those who do business together.


process through which an individual transforms a formerly externally prescribed regulation or value into an internally endorsed one. Internalization reflects the individual's tendency to voluntarily adopt and integrate into the self the values and regulation of other people (or society).

  • relatedness is a necessary condition for internalization and cultural transmission.

social contexts that support psychological needs

engagement is a term that captures the intensity and emotional quality people show when they initiative and carry out activities.

  • what makes for a good day? on our good days, the events in our lives work to involves and satisfy our psychological needs.
  • people had their best days when they had experienced higher levels of daily competence and autonomy (relatedness was not included in study).


  • one way people experience a good day is through a subjective experience of vitality. Psychological need involvement and satisfaction offers us the psychological nutriments we need to feel vital and well.

Tutorial 2[edit]

In the second tutorial of Motivation & Emotion we examined Needs; both physical and psychological.

What are needs? I believe needs can be defined as something in the environment we crave or wish to seek in order to remove discomfort or increase a feeling of satisfaction within ourselves.

Maslow defines those needs we seek to remove discomfort as deficit needs. These include physiological, safety, love/belonging and esteem needs. He views self-actualization as a growth need. Although I agree with him that we have both deficit and growth needs, I believe only physiological needs should be defined as deficit needs (because with our bodies in a state of discomfort; we are inflicted with pain or uncomfortability in order to motivate us to remove/or fix the problem causing such discomfort). I believe that all the other needs are growth needs because without them we are still going to live (although I realise this may be a little ambiguous in regards to safety needs). Little mind self-actualization, many people do not have the pleasure of even receiving safety, love/belonging or esteem needs. Once a person has fulfilled such needs I believe they feel a sense of accomplishment and growth (and therefore they should be defined as growth needs).

Next, we examined the motivated and emotional brain. We received a handout showing the anatomic positions of key brain structures involved in motivation and emotion. I found this diagram a little bit confusing in regards to where the lines were actually pointing to (had to fill in the blanks) but overall it got the point across in regards to where motivation/emotion areas were found. We also received a handout describing which structures of the brain were related to approach orientations (and how they were associated to motivational/emotional experience). We discussed these handouts as a group and later, as a class.

Neurotransmitters/Hormones and motivation: These two activities required identifying the motivational role of key neurotransmitters & hormones.


  1. Dopamine: Generates good feelings associated with reward
  2. Serotonin: Influences mood and emotion
  3. Norepinephrine: Regulates arousal and alertness
  4. Endorphin: Inhibits pain, anxiety and fear by generating good feelings to counter these negative feelings.


  1. Cortisol: “Stress hormone”: Associated with poor intellectual functioning, negative affect, and poor health outcomes
  2. Testosterone: Associated with high sexual motivation: Underlies the mating effort
  3. Oxytocin: Motivates seeking the counsel, support, and nurturance of others during times of stress: Bonding hormone “Tend and befriend stress response”

In our own small groups we quickly reviewed and discussed the key points from both the 'Psychological needs' and 'Social needs' chapters and lecture.

We then completed a questionnaire on self-determination theory. This theory is based upon fulfilling the needs of Autonomy, Competence (Control in the Q), and Relatedness (Interpersonal in the Q). If these needs are fulfilled, then a person experiences psychological growth and well-being. The results of my own questionnaire revealed I do best in situations that are involve competence, followed by relatedness and then autonomy. Although I would debate these results, all my result scores were fairly close together which leaves little point. I did however enjoy completing this questionnaire (due to the interesting situations you were 'placed within' when completing it).

Although we did not have time to go over the discussion question found within the handout, I will answer this question as it relates to my textbook chapter. Question: What are your favourite "flow" experience activities? What are the subjective qualities (e.g., emotions, cognitions) of your flow states? Discuss with your group, identifying the skill level and challenge level for these activities? Do you think your experience is consistence with the "flow theory" (optimal balancing of skill and challenge).

The first scenario that pops to my mind when I think of entering a Flow experience is through skiing. Growing up, I used to be a skiier, often driving down to the snow each weekend, and in highschool, entering the snowsports team. Having had so much experience I felt a great deal of competence but I also felt there were challenges still to be mastered (such as doing difficult tricks off of jumps or on the halfpipe). I remember always wanting to progress my own skills, not for anyone else, but only for myself (this is true, as I had no friends or family to show off to, and occasionally when not in class, I would practice on my own to try and progress). I also remember feeling a great deal of exhilaration and intense enjoyment after having sped down a slope or going high (getting 'air') off a jump. I believe for all these reasons I may have very well experienced Flow states.

One of the reasons I chose this topic for my chapter was to understand how I could motivate myself to enjoy studying more and become a more dedicated student academically (and not just in snow school). I still find the idea of experiencing flow through study a little beyond me (I am generally a very busy person and stressed often which may hinder this), however I do find studying psychology intrinsically rewarding for me (I have often read through topics or over textbooks during the holidays, or entered various things through wikipedia just to discover what they were about).

Lastly we worked on organising our textbook chapters to start thinking about how we would draft them and what we would like to include. My group each introduced which chapter they would be working on (and explaining it if others hadn't heard of it, such as my own topic on Flow). At this point, I did not have too much figured out on how I would plan my chapter.

Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivation & Goal setting[edit]

Intrinsic & Extrinsic motivators[edit]

  • People sometimes turn passive and look to the environment to supply motivation to them.
  • Any activity can be approached with either intrinsic or extrinsic motivational orientation

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.
  • Intrinsic motivation arises out of the spontaneous experiences of feeling autonomous, feeling competent, and feeling related to others.

What is so great about intrinsic motivation?

  1. Persistence: The higher someone's intrinsic motivation, the greater their persistence on that task.
  2. Creativity
  3. Conceptual Understanding/High-Quality Learning: intrinsic motivation enhances a learner's conceptual understanding of what they are trying to learn. It also promotes flexibility in one's way of thinking and promotes active information processing.
  4. Optimal Functioning and Well-being
  • pursuing intrinsic goals is associated with greater self-actualization, greater vitality, less depression, greater self esteem, higher quality interpersonal relationships. They are also more likely to speak of positive, optimistic expressions.

Extrinsic Motivation

Arises from environmental incentives and consequences. Instead of engaging in an activity to experience the inherent satisfactions it can bring, extrinsic motivation arises from consequences that are separate from the activity itself.

  • In casual observation, intrinsically and extrinsically motivated behaviours might look the same.
  • The essential difference lies in the source that energizes and directs the behaviour.
  • With intrinsically motivated behaviour, the motivation emanates from spontaneous psychological need satisfaction the activity provides, ; with extrinsically motivated behaviour, the motivation emanates from incentives and consequences made contingent on enacting the observed behaviour.

External regulation of motivation: Incentives, consequences, and rewards

The study of extrinsic regulation of motivation revolves around operant conditioning. S:R->C


An environmental event that attracts or repels a person toward or away from initiating a particular course of action. Incentive value is learned through experience.

What is a Reinforcer?

Any extrinsic event that increases behaviour. Each of the following has been used to explain why reinforces work to increase behaviour:

  1. It decreases drive
  2. It decreases arousal
  3. It increases arousal
  4. It is attractive to the person
  5. It produces pleasurable brain stimulation
  6. It provides an opportunity to do a high-frequency behaviour.

Managing behaviour by offering reinforcers

Considerations that determine a positive reinforcers effectiveness:

  1. Quality
  2. Immediacy
  3. Person/reinforcer fit: Can be different for different individuals, i.e. candy
  4. Recipients need for that reward: May be effective for person at one time but not another, i.e. coffee
  5. Intensity: Reinforcers vary in their intensity. i.e. money, 5c
  6. Recipient's perceived value of the reinforcer: The rewards administrators think will work best often do not correspond to what the recipients actually find reinforcing.


positive reinforcers. negative reinforcers: Escape behaviours are reactive against aversive stimuli; avoidance behaviours are proactive in preventing our encountering them again. punisher: decreases future probability of the future behaviour. Most people think of aversive punishers- however a second type is 'response cost' taking away something desirable. rewards: A reward is received in exchange for another's service. All positive reinforcers are rewards but not all rewards are positive reinforcers. Best seen as 'potential' motivators.

Do rewards work?

  • release of dopamine
  • increased neural activity of the BAS
  • Possibility of reward enlivens positive emotions and facilitates behaviour as it signals the opportunity for gain.

Do punishers work?

  • Research has shown that punishment is an ineffective motivational strategy.
  • It also generates negative side-effects: negative emotionality, impaired relationship between punisher and punishee, and negative modelling of how to cope with undesirable behaviour in others.
  • Children who are spanked are more likely to show aggression, antisocial behaviour, poor mental health, poor moral internalization, an impairment of the parent-child relationships, and in adults, aggression, poor mental health, adult abuse and criminal behaviour.

Hidden costs of reward

"If a person is involved in an intrinsically interesting activity and begins to receive an extrinsic reward for doing it, what happens to his or her intrinsic motivation for that activity?"

  • Most people would that that increased motivation would occur but it does not. The impositition of an extrinsic reward to engage in an intrinsically interesting activity typically undermines futures intrinsic motivation. called the 'hidden cost of reward'.
  • extrinsic rewards also interfere with the process of learning (i.e. trying to get a quick answer).
  • Also interfere with the person's development of autonomous self regulation. After being offered reward for a lifetime, reward recipients begin to have difficulty regulating their behaviour when the reward is not offered.
  • Preschoolers + drawing experiment. extrinsic motivational orientation caused children's decreased interest in drawing.
  • 2 factors explain which types of rewards decrease intrinsic motivation:

Expected and Tangible rewards.

  • rewards only decrease intrinsic rewards if the reward is expected.
  • Tangible rewards (i.e. money, awards, food) decrease intrinsic motivation where as intangible rewards (verbal, symbolic or abstract rewards) do not.


  • so many rewards are presented in an expected and tangible way, especially in the western world.
  • extrinsic rewards interfere with process and quality of learning
  • extrinsic learners are more prone to negative emotional tone.
  • extrinsic learners are relatively passive information processes.
  • put at risk flexibility of thinking and problem solving.
  • learners quit as soon as the reward is attained. When rewards are not involved, learners persist until curiosity is satisfied, interest is exhausted, or mastery is attained.
  • Rewards interfere with development of autonomous self regulation.

Benefits of incentives, consequences & rewards

  • External regulation is not always counterproductive.
  • use rewards that are expected & tangible.
  • If the person has little or no intrinsic motivation toward the task to undermine, then intrinsic motivation is not likely to be put at risk by the offering of a reward. ("mention statistics").
  • As long as the reward is attractive enough, individuals will engage in almost any task.

4 reasons not to use extrinsic motivators, even for intrinsically uninteresting endeavours:

  1. extrinsic motivators still undermine the quality of performance and interfere with the process of learning.
  2. Using rewards distracts attention away from asking the hard question of why another person is being asked to do an uninteresting task in the first place.
  3. There are better ways to encourage participation than extrinsic bribery.
  4. Extrinsic motivators still undermine the individual's long term capacity for autonomous self-regulation.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

  • The most obvious reason behind using an extrinsic motivator is in increasing a desirable behaviour.
  • However a second purpose exists: extrinsic rewards provide feedback that informs the person about their competence at the task.
  • Cognitive evaluation theory asserts that all external events have both a controlling aspect and an informational aspect.
  • Controlling aspects controls persons need for autonomy where as informational aspect controls persons need for competence.

Cognitive evaluation theory exists as three propositions:

  1. external events that promote internal perceived locus of causality (PLOC) (i.e choice) promote intrinsic motivation because these events involve or satisfy the need for autonomy. External events (reward) that promote external PLOC promote extrinsic motivation because these events neglect the need for autonomy.
  2. external events that increase perceived competence (praise) promote intrinsic motivation whereas events that decrease perceived competence (critism) undermine this motivation. The more an external events communicated positive effectance information, the more likely it is to satisfy need for competence and increase intrinsic motivation.
  3. The relative salience of whether an event is mostly controlling or mostly informational determines its effects on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Relatively controlling events undermine intrinsic motivation and promote extrinsic motivation. Relatively informational events increase intrinsic motivation.
  • Ask "why am I giving another person this external event- is my purpose to control his behaviour, or to inform his competence?"

2 examples of controlling and informational events: praise & Competition:

  • Praise: the motivational effect is not in the praise per se but in the way it is administered. "great job, you greeted the customer warmly" vs. "great job, you did just as you should have".
  • competition: when social context puts great pressure on winning, competitors usually compete with a sense of contingency, pressure, and doing others work.

Types of extrinsic motivation

Four types of extrinsic motivation (in order of most external to most internal):

  1. External Regulation: Compliance, external rewards and punishments. People motivated through external regulation show poor functioning and poor outcomes.
  2. Introjected Regulation: Self control, Ego-involvement, internal rewards and punishments.Involves taking in, but not truly accepting or self-endorsing other people's demands to think, feel, or behave in a particular manner. Rewards him or her- self for performing other-defined good behaviour and punished self for performing other-defined bad behaviour.
  3. Identified Regulation: Personal importance, conscious valuing.

Mostly internalized and autonomous extrinsic motivation. The person accepts the merits of a belief or behaviour because that way of thinking/behaving is seen as personally important or useful.

  1. Integrated Regulation: Congruence, Awareness, synthesis with self.

Involves the self-examination necessary to bring new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving into an unconflicted congruence with the self pre-existing ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Associated with the most positive outcomes.

Motivating others to do uninteresting activities.

Recognizing that external contingencies generally promote controlling forms of extrinsic motivation associated with poor functioning an unintended side-effects, researched have explored for other ways:

  • One way to promote identified regulation during an uninteresting activity is to offer a rationale explaining why it is important. Identified regulation (the desire to engage in a task not because it is interesting but because it is an important thing to do) motivates task effort. Rationale applies best to activities that are truly uninteresting.
  • There are ways to make a boring task interesting though- by setting a goal, embedding the task within a fantasy context or adding extra stimulation to the task (playing music, working with a friend).

Building interest

Interest is a topic-specific motivational state that arises out of attraction to a particular domain of activity. It enhances attention, effort and learning one directs towards an activity.

  • Situational interest: triggered by appealing external events
  • Individual interest: More stable and content-specific. Develops over time as an enduring personal disposition.
  • The more knowledge one has about a topic, the more interesting it becomes; and the more interesting it is, the more likely one is to attend to, process, comprehend, and remember information about that topic.

Goal Setting & Goal Striving[edit]


People have knowledge of both their present and ideal states and any perceived incongruity between the two makes people uncomfortable enough tot formulate and act on a plan of action to remove the incongruity so that the present state will change and become the ideal state. The incongruity acts as the motivational 'spring to action' ( provides energy), and the plan becomes the means of organizing our behaviour toward the pursuit of the ideal sate (provides direction).

  • TOTE model: test-operate-test-exit

Corrective Motivation

Most researchers no longer agree with the plan -> action sequence as they are to fixed, static and mechanical. Rather, plans are adjustable and subject to revision. From this point of view, any present-ideal incongruity does not instigate an automatic discrepancy-motivate action sequence. Rather, incongruity gives rise to a more general 'corrective motivation'. Corrective motivation activates a decision making process in which the individual considers many different possible ways for reducing the present-ideal incongruity: change the plan, change behaviour, or withdraw altogether. Actually carrying out the plan also encounters problems (situational constraints, personal inadequacies).

  • corrective motivation also involves emotion (faster than expected to ideal stat= joy, slower=despair).


Discrepancy is a synonym for 'incongruity'.

  • When the present state falls short of the ideal state, a discrepancy is revealed. It is the discrepancy- rather than the ideal state per se- that is motivational.

2 types exist:

  1. Discrepancy reduction: based on the discrepancy-detecting feedback that underlies plans and corrective motivation.
  2. Discrepancy creation: based on a 'feed-forward' system in which the person looks forward and proactively sets a future goal. Discrepancy creation corresponds to goal-setting motivation.

Goal Setting

A goal is whatever an individual is striving to accomplish. 'goal performance discrepancy' is the discrepancy between present level of accomplishment and ideal level of accomplishment.

Goal-performance discrepancy

People with goals outperform those without goals and the same person performs better when they have a goal than when they don't.

Goal difficulty

Refers to how hard a goal is to accomplish. As goals increase in difficulty, performance increases in a linear fashion. This is so because people exert effort in proportion to what the goal requires of them.

Goal specificity

Refers to how clearly a goal informs the performer precisely what they are to do. Goal specificity is important because specific goals draw attention to what one needs to do and reduces ambiguity in thought and variability in performance.

Difficult, Specific goals enhance performance.

  • Difficult goals energize the performer, and specific goals direct her toward a particular course of action.
  • People raise their level of performance up to their sought-after goal levels because difficult goals energize effort and persistence while specific goals direct on-task attention and strategic planning.
  • Performance also depends on factors that aren't motivational, such as ability, training, coaching, and resources. Because these factors contribute, no one-to-one correspondence exists between goals and performance.


Feedback or knowledge of results, allows people to keep track of any progress toward their goal. In other words, a performer needs both a goal and feedback to maximize performance. Without feedback, performance can be emotionally unimportant and uninvolving.

  • When feedback shows the individual that he or she is performing at or above goal level, the individual feels satisfied and competent, competent enough perhaps to create a higher, more difficult goal. Felt dissatisfaction contributes favourably to the discrepancy-reducing process.

Goal Acceptance

Goal acceptance is a critical variable when goal setting takes place within the context of an interpersonal relationship in which one person attempts to provide another person with a goal. Four factors determine whether an externally set goal will be accepted:

  1. Perceived difficulty of the imposed goal
  2. Participation in the goal-setting process (how much input the performer has into the goal).
  3. Credibility of the person assigning the goal (how trustworthy, supportive, knowledgeable and likeable they are perceived to be).
  4. Extrinsic incentives


  • Goal setting theory developed within the fields of business, is more about enhancing performance that it is about enhancing motivation per se.
  • On tasks that are inherently interesting and require creativity or problem solving, goal setting does not enhance performance.
  • Overly challenging goals ask performers to perform at a level that exceeds their capabilities and produce stress.
  • Failure feedback yields distressing consequences that are emotional (inadequacy), social (loss of respect), and tangible (financial).
  • Goals are sometimes administered in ways that are controlling, pressure-inducing and intrusive and can undermine creativity and intrinsic motivation by interfering with one's autonomy, cognitive flexibility, and personal passion for work.

Long term goal setting

To accomplish a distant goal, the performer first has to attain several requisite short term goals. As for persistence, long term goals may be forfeited due to a lack of positive reinforcement along the way. Having a series of short term goals provide reinforcement and provide feedback.

  • On uninteresting tasks, short term goals create opportunities for positive feedback and competence which enhance intrinsic motivation.
  • On interesting tasks only long term goals facilitate intrinsic motivation. Short term goals may be seen as superfluous, intrusive, and controlling to the highly interested performer.

Goal striving

The gap between goal-directed thinking and goal directed action can be a wide one. Mental simulations: focusing on action

  • experiment, thinking of goal, thinking of how to achieve goal and control.
  • thinking of goal interfered with goal attainment: Once a goal has been set, it does not inevitably and automatically translate itself into effective performance.
  • Mental simulations focus on planning and problem solving. This sort of mental effort is what produces productive foal directed action.

Implementation Intention

A key reason people fail to attain their goals is that they often fail to develop specific action plans for how they will attain their goals. Planning how to carry out a goal allows the performer to overcome the inevitable volitional problems associated with goal directed behaviour. Volitional problems include:

  • Getting started, despite daily distractions
  • Persisting, in spite of difficulties and setbacks
  • Resuming, once an interruption occurs

The study of implementation intentions is the study of how goals, once set, are effectively acted on. The motivational effect of an implementation intention is to link goal directed behaviour to a situational cue (time, place) so that goal directed behaviour is carried out automatically.

Goal pursuit: Getting started

Frequent and consistent pairing of particular situations with particular behaviour lead to strong links between the situation and the behaviour ( Sunday-church, gym-exercise, library- study).

  • Implementation intentions set up environment-behaviour contingencies that lead to automatic, environmental control of behaviour: Implementation intentions create habits.

Goal pursuit: persisting and finishing

Implementation intentions, once set, facilitate persistence and reengagement during goal pursuit. They facilitate by helping people anticipate a forthcoming difficulty and therefore form an intention of what they will do once the difficulty arises.

Putting it all together: creating an effective goal setting program

Sequential steps within the goal setting process

  1. Specify the objective to be accomplished.
  2. Define goal difficulty
  3. Clarify goal specificity
  4. Specify the time span when performance will be assessed

Sequential steps within the goal striving process

  1. Check on goal acceptance (transformed from externally imposed goal to personally imposed goal).
  2. Discuss goal attainment strategies
  3. Create implementation intentions
  4. Provide performance feedback

Control Beliefs and the Self[edit]

The Self & its Strivings[edit]

The Self

There are six dimensions of psychological well-being

  1. Self Acceptance
  2. Positive Relations with others
  3. Autonomy
  4. Environmental Mastery
  5. Purpose in life
  6. Personal Growth
  • Defining or creating the self shows how self concept energizes and directs behaviour.
  • Relating the self to society shows how identity energizes and directs behaviour.
  • Discovering and developing the potential of the self is also a motivational struggle, on that reflects agency. Agency means that an agent (the self) has the power and intention to act.
  • Managing or regulating the self shows how self-regulation makes competent functioning more likely.

The problem with self esteem

In the relationship between self-esteem and self-functioning, self esteem is not a causal variable. Self esteem is mainly a consequence of cumulative achievement-related successes and failures. Self esteem reflects how life is going, but it is not the source of motivation that allows people to make life go well. What needs improving is not self esteem but improvement of our skills for dealing with the world.

  • The chief benefit of self esteem is that it buffers the self against negative affectivity, such as depression.
  • People with inflated self views are significantly more prone to aggression when their favourable self views are threatened.


Self concepts are individuals mental representations of themselves. The self concept is constructed from experiences and from reflections on those experiences.


Self-schemas are cognitive generalizations about the self that are domain specific and are learned from past experiences (i.e. shy). Which self schemas are involved in the definition of the self concept are those life domains that are most important to the person.

Motivational Properties of Self Schemas:

  • Self schemas, once formed, direct an individual's behaviour in ways that elicit feedback consistent with the established self schemas. Shy people want to act in shy ways and thus receive social feedback that they are shy. When people behave in self schema consistent ways, they experience a comfort from the consistency and self-confirmation.
  • Self schemas generate motivation to move the present self toward a desired future self. Much like goal setting's discrepancy-creating process, an ideal possible self initiates goal directed behaviour.
  • Seeking possible selves however, is a goal setting process that invites self concept development (unlike the consistent self).

Consistent Self

Once an individual establishes a well-articulated self-schema in a particular domain, he generally acts to preserve that self-view. Once established, self-schemas become increasingly resistant to contradictory information.

  • People preserve a consistent self by actively seeking out information consistent with their self-concept and ignoring information that contradicts their self view.
  • Inconsistency and contradiction generate an emotional discomfort that signals that consistency needs to be restored. It is this negative affective state that produces the motivation to seek self-confirmatory, and to avoid self- discrimatory, information and feedback.
  • To ensure other people see us as we see ourselves, we adopt self presentational signs and symbols. I.e. appearance, dieting, weight-lifting, and possessions.
  • We intentionally choose to interact with others who treat us in ways consist with our self-view, a process referred to as 'selective interaction'.
  • In the face of discrepant self-schema feedback, the individual may ask if the feedback is valid, if the source is trustworthy, and how important or relevant this feedback is.
  • People also counter disconfirming feedback with compensatory self-inflation, self-affirmation, and a barrage of new behaviour to prove one's actual self-view.
  • Once invalidated, self-discrepant feedback can be ignored and the self-view preserved.
  • An individual's confidence that his or her self-schema is valid and true constitutes 'self-concept certainty'. When high, discrepant feedback rarely changes a stable self-schema.
  • Conflict between an uncertain self0schema and discrepant feedback instigates a 'crisis self-verification'. People resolve the crisis by seeking out domain-relevant feedback.
  • Before self-schemas change (1) self concept certainty must be low and (2) self discrepant feedback must be potent and unambiguous- difficult to discredit. However self concept change is the exception rather than the rule (the rule is self-verification).

Why people self verify

People self-verify because they seek to know themselves. Following concerns, self-verification ensures that perceptions of the world are predictable and coherent. People also self-verify to avoid interactions fraught with misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations.

Possible Selves

Self schemas sometimes change in response to social feedback, however a more likely cause is through a deliberate effort to advance the present self toward a desired future possible self. Possible selves are mostly social in origin, as other selves are modelled by others. The Role model becomes the future 'ideal self'. This discrepancy causes the individual to make an inference that he should become like the successful role model, the 'desired self'. The motivational function of a possible self therefore operates like that of a goal (or personal striving). A possible self provides the individual with an attractive incentive for which to strive. Possible selves are mental representations of attributes, characteristics, and abilities that self does not yet possess. When the self does not have feedback on the emerging possible self, two outcomes follow. An absence of supportive evidence will lead the self to abandon the possible self. The possible self may also energize and direct action so the attributes, characteristics, and abilities of the self begin to materialize.

Cognitive Dissonance

When beliefs about who the self is and what the self does are inconsistent, people experience a psychologically uncomfortable state referred to as 'cognitive dissonance'. When intense and uncomfortable enough, dissonance take on motivational properties, and the person begins to seek ways to eliminate, or at least reduce, the dissonance. They can do so in one of four ways:

  1. Remove the dissonant belief
  2. Reduce the importance of the dissonant belief
  3. Add a new consonant belief
  4. Increase the importance of the consonant belief

Dissonance-Arousing Situations.

Four dissonance-arousing circumstances:

  • 1. Choice
  • People often choose between alternatives. On some cases, the choice is not easy, as both offer advantages and disadvantages. Once such a difficult choice is made, people experience dissonance ('post-decision regret'). Dissonance is resolved by appreciating the chosen alternative and by depreciating the rejected alternative- viewing it more negatively. Post-choice decision makers are always more confident in their choice than those still in the choosing process.
  • 2. Insufficient Justification
  • Addresses how people explain their actions for which they have little or no external prompting. i.e. picking up rubbish 'I'm an environmentalist'.
  • 3. Effort Justification
  • Extreme behaviour breed extreme beliefs. Dissonance theory proposes that the attractiveness of a task increases as a direct function of the magnitude of effort expended to complete it.
  • 4. New information
  • Through life, you expose yourself to opportunities to contradict your beliefs. Seekers, thought flood would come. When it did not occur, they saw the disconfirmation as a test of their commitment to the cause (the world was saved because of our faith).

Motivational Processes Underlying Cognitive Dissonance

In the face of dissonance arousing situational events, like the four above, cognitive inconsistency and dissonance motivation arise and motivate changes in ways of believing or behaving. Being psychologically uncomfortable people implement various strategies for reducing dissonance. Dissonance can be used to accomplish productive social goals too. Researchers have been successful in changing people's attitudes and behaviour toward pro-social causes. 'Saying or doing, is believing'. For ex. If you attend friend's charity run, your effort needs to be justified.

Self-Perception Theory

Cognitive dissonance theory argues that people develop and change their beliefs in response to a negative emotional state born in cognitive contradiction (dissonance). Self-perception theory offers the alternative interpretation that people develop and change their behaviour based simply on self-observations of their own behaviour. The difference between the two theories is that cognitive dissonance theory argues that beliefs change because of negative affect from cognitive inconsistencies, whereas self perception theory argues that we simply come to believe whatever we do and say. Research concludes both theories are correct, but each applies to a different set of circumstances. Self-perception theory applies best when people's beliefs are initially vague, ambiguous, and weak. In such cases, people do draw inferences about themselves from their behaviour. Dissonance theory apply when beliefs are initially strong, salient, and clear.


Identity is the means by which the self relates to society, as it captures the essence of who one is within a cultural context. Cultures and social groups offer identities to their individual members, and it is within this cultural or social context that people play out a culturally or socially defined role. Once a person inhabits a role, the identity directs the person to pursue some behaviours, and to avoid other behaviours.


A role consists of cultural expectation for behaviour from persons who hold a particular social position. Roles may change as a person enters different environments (student, counsellor, mother). While assuming one role rather than another, people change how they act. Individual's have many identities, and they present to others the particular identity that is most appropriate for the situation. Deciding what to say and what to do is actually quite difficult when the identities of the self and others remain in question. Sociologists refer to this process of figuring out roles as the 'definition of the situation'. Once done, social interaction can proceed to the extent both interactants agree on their identities and the definition of the situation.

Identity-Confirming Behaviours

Humans possess a wide range of potential behaviour, but only a subset of those are appropriate and expected in any one particular setting. This is determined by the identity the person inhabits. Identities direct behaviour, and behaviours maintain and confirm identity.

Identity-Restoring Behaviours

If a person behaves in an identity-inconsistent way, she can restore the original identity either through restorative behaviours or restorative emotional displays. Both provide identity-relevant information of who that person is. Emotion displays act as public identity cues such as good people who act bad should show sorrow if they are truly good pople.


The self goes deeper than cognitive structures (self-concept) and social relationships (identity). Within the self is an intrinsic motivation that gives it a quality of agency. Agency entails action. Self as Action and Development from Within Intrinsic motivation is inseparably coordinated with the active nature of the developing self. It is the source of motivation that underlies agency as it spontaneously energizes people to pursue their interests, seek out environmental challenges, exercise their skills, and develop their talents.

Differentiation and Integration

These are two processes inherent within agency that guide ongoing motivation and development. Differentiation expands and elaborates the self into an ever increasing complexity. Integration synthesizes that emerging complexity into a coherent whole, thereby preserving a sense of a single, cohesive self. Differentiation proceeds as the individual exercises existing interests, preferences, and capacities in such a way that a relatively general and undifferentiated self becomes specialized into several life domains. Rich differentiation manifests itself in understanding fine discriminations and unique aspects of a particular life domain. There exists a synthetic tendency to integrate the self's emerging complexity into a single sense of self, into a coherent unity. Integration is an organizational process that brings the self's differentiated parts together. Integration occurs as the self's individual parts (self schemas, identities, interests, etc) are successfully interrelated and organized as mutually complementary. The notions of agency (via intrinsic motivation), differentiation, and integration argue that the self possesses innate aspects. Psychological needs and developmental processes provide a starting point for the development of the self. As individuals mature, they gain increasing contact with the social context, and some of these aspects of the social world become assimilated and integrated into the self system. The self is a recipient of social feedback and exists within an array of social relationships, but the self also actively develops via its inherent agency.

Internalization and the Integrating Self

With its inherent needs and emerging interests, preferences, potentials, and capacities, the self is poised to grow, develop, and differentiate. The need for relatedness however keeps the individual close to societal regulations, and the self therefore develops both toward autonomy as well as toward a relatedness- motivated internalization of society's values and concerns. So behaviours, emotions, and ways of thinking originate not only within the self but also within the social context and society. Intentional acts (agency) sometimes arise from the self, but intentional acts also sometimes arise from the guidance of others. The process through which individuals take in and accepts their own an externally prescribed way of thinking, feeling, or behaving is referred to as internalization. It may occur from the individual's desire to achieve meaningful relationships with others (need for relatedness) or it may occur from the individual's desire to interact effectively with the social world (need for competence). Self worth follows from being open to experience and from valuing the self for who one is. When people are open to experience, they are more honest and self disclosing during interpersonal interactions, they take more responsibility for their behaviours and are less likely to hide and distort information to deceive others, they engage in fewer activities to escape self-awareness (tv, and even work), they take fewer experience altering substances, they show less defensiveness, and they prefer interaction partners that fulfil innate needs rather than partners that promote extrinsic goals such as image/wealth. Controlling environmental conditions lead the self to ignore innate needs and instead, develop a self-structure around the goal of external validation. Hence, people who pursue external validation of a socially desirable self might choose a career for wealth or prestige. People organize their behaviour and self-worth around the needs of the core self when the environment supports autonomy and personal agency; and people organize their behaviour around external validation when the environment supports neither autonomy or personal agency and instead promotes extrinsic aspirations.


  1. How do people decide what to strive for in their lives?
  2. How does this personal striving process sometimes nurture the self and promote well being yet other times it doesn't.

When people pursue goals that are congruent with their core self, they pursue 'self-concordant' goals.

  • Following self-determination theory, intrinsic goals (strong interest) and identified goals (personal conviction or value) represent self-concordant goals.
  • Introjected goals (sense of social obligation) and extrinsic goals (desire for reward) represent self-discordant gaols.
  • Self-concordant goals generate and sustain greater effort, and increase the likelihood of goal attainment. Attaining self-concordant goals produces need-satisfying experiences to a greater degree than do self-discordant goals. Authentic need-satisfying experiences increase well-being.

Personal Strivings

These striving represent what an individual is characteristically aiming to accomplish in his day-to-day behaviour and over the course of his life. They are not goals per se, but instead exist as superordinate aspects of the self that organize and integrate the many different goals a persona seeks. Strivings may be positive or negative (avoidance of something). Personal Growth and Subjective Well-Being Those personal strivings that arenot endorsed by the self (i have to quit smoking) tend to generate conflict and pressure, whereas those personal strivings that cultivate self-concordant gaols, personal growth, and well-being (I want to quit smoking) are those that seek greater autonomy, competence, or relatedness in the person's life. Well-being does not depend on actually attaining one's goals or strivings, rather, it comes from the content of what one is trying to do.


Self regulation is the metacognitive monitoring and evaluating of one's ongoing effort to attain the gaols one seeks. Self-Regulation: Forethought through Reflection Self regulation is an ongoing, cyclical process. It revolves around Forethought, action, and reflection.

  • Forethought involves goal setting and strategic planning.
  • Following forethought, the individual engages in the task and begins to perform.
  • The person experiences goal performance feedback discrepancies.
  • The performer reflects on how it's going in terms of self-monitoring and self-evaluating.
  • The self reflection leads to more informed forethought prior to the next performance opportunity.

Developing More Competent Self-Regulation

Self-regulatory processes need to be acquired, especially when the performer pursues a goal in an unfamiliar area. Following a history of social guidance and feedback, the novice begins to internalize the standards of excellence endorsed by the model. The person becomes self-regulating in the domain when he no longer needs the expert model and can self-regulate in terms of self-monitoring and self-evaluating.

  • The person is unable to regulate his behaviour or carry out goal-setting.
  • Observation leads to imitation as the person participates and takes on the self-regulatory skills of the model.
  • Imitation leads to internalization (the roots of effective self-regulation)
  • The person is able to competently regulate his behaviour and carry our goal setting processes.
  • In practise though, developing more competent self-regulation takes a long time
  • Independent practice is very important, but self-regulation literature suggests people can acquire and master complex skills more quickly if they have a model.

Tutorial 3[edit]

In our third tutorial we examined the self and goals. Our first task was to discuss and complete a questionnaire on university student motivation. Firstly, it was brought to the classes attention that internal and external motivations are complex and often the situations we find ourselves in life are due to a mixture of both internal and external. For example, the class pondered and discussed why students go to university. The answers to this question revealed a host of both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons and even an explanation on avoidance (go to uni to avoid having to do nothing or work fulltime). There were a variety of themes discovered as predicted in the handout. Such themes include:

  1. Career/Qualifications - for the degree, so I can get a better job etc.
  2. Self-Exploration/Learning - for the learning, curiosity, knowledge-seeking etc.
  3. Social Opportunities - to meet people, make and explore friendships, enjoy social environment
  4. Altruism - to become better able to help people, help society, help the planet etc.
  5. Social Pressure - expectations of family, friends, society etc.
  6. Rejection of Alternatives - better option than doing nothing, working etc.

We then completed the University Motivation Survey and the University Student Outcomes survey. I received fairly average overall scores with my highest motive relating to acquiring qualifications and valuable skills while my lowest motive was due to social opportunities (not surprising as none of my friends from high school /college attended UC and that I don't spend too much time on campus). Everyone plotted their marks on the whiteboard against the average results of UC students.

From handout: According to a functionalist perspective on motivation, a good match between motivations and outcomes leads to satisfaction and retention (or intention to continue), whereas a poor match between motivations and outcomes leads to low satisfaction and risk of drop-out. The score between my two completed surveys was a difference of only one point, suggesting I should experience general satisfaction with my university experience after it is completed (phew!).

The take home message from this exercise are:

  1. Our motivation can be multiple and complex
  2. The match between our motivations and outcomes is theorised to predict satisfaction and satisfaction is theorised to predict our likelihood to continue.

The next part of our tutorial involved examining personal control and in particular, learned optimism. We all completed a questionnaire examining individual optimism. The results for mine suggested that I wasn't actually that optimistic (or at least less so than what I expected). I believe others in the class may have also felt this way about their results. I do question the validity of this questionnaire and whether all of the questions in it accurately measured optimism. I do acknowledge however that trying to formulate such a survey on optimism without being blatantly obvious (i.e. 'do you love life to its fullest?') may be a little difficult....

The last theoretical part of our tutorial involved examining the self, and in particular, life effectiveness. We completed a survey called the L.E.Q. From the L.E.Q: Life effectiveness is proposed to refer to a person's capacity to adapt, survive, and thrive; that is, it refers to how well one is equipped to handle the demands of life. The L.E.Q examines eight dimensions (Time Management, Social Competence, Achievement Motivation, Intellectual Flexibility, Task Leadership, Emotional Control, Active Initiative and Self Confidence).

All my results were moderately high except for 'I stay calm when things go wrong' which was more towards the middle. I believe this is reflective of me, I try to do my best and manage time well and although I don't seek to be a social leader, if I am put in such a situation I can handle the role well.

To finish up, we went a little bit further into detail in regards to the textbook chapter. At this stage, I have examined some research on the area of Flow and have explored how to use wikiversity and create styles and formatting.

No Lecture & No Tute1[edit]

Time to catch up on the textbook chapter!

Mid-semester break[edit]

Time to catch up on the textbook chapter!

Nature of Emotion[edit]

  • The worst of emotions exist for survival
  • Buddists thought organizes itself around recognizing and lessening destructive emotions, particularly the big three of craving, agitation, and hatred.
  • A lot happens in the split second that occurs between onset of a threat and the initiation of a constructive or destructive emotional response.

Five Questions

  1. What is an emotion
  2. What causes an emotion
  3. How many emotions are there?
  4. What good are emotions?
  5. What is the difference between emotion and mood?

What is an emotion?

  • At first glance, we all know emotions as feelings but feelings are only part of emotion.
  • Emotions are multidimensional. They exist as subjective, biological, purposive and social phenomena. They are also biological reactions, energy mobilizing responses preparing the body for adapting to whatever situation one faces.
  1. Feeling gives emotion its subjective experience that has both meaning and personal significance.
  2. The bodily arousal component includes our neural and physiological activation, including the activity of the autonomic and hormonal systems.
  3. The purposive component give emotion its goal directed character to take the action to cope with the circumstances at hand.
  4. The social expressive component is emotions communicative aspect. During the expression of emotion, we nonverbally communicate to others how we feel and how we interpret the present situation.

Definition of Emotion

Emotions are short-lived, feeling-arousal-purposive-expressive phenomena that help us adapt to the opportunities and challenges we face during important life events.

Relationship between emotion and motivation

Emotions relate to motivation in two ways. First, they are one type of motive. Like all other motives, emotions energize and direct behaviour. Second, emotions serve as an ongoing 'readout' system to indicate how well or how poorly personal adaptation is going.

Emotion as motivation

Some researchers believe emotion constitute the primary motivational system. Throughout the 100 year history of psychology, the physiological drives were considered to be primary motivators.

Emotion as Readout

Emotions read out the person's ever-changing motivational state and personal adaptation status. Positive emotions signal 'all is well', and reflect the involvement and satisfaction of our motivation states. From this point of view, emotions are not necessarily motives in the same way that needs and cognitions are, but, instead, reflect the satisfied vs. Frustrated status of other motives.

What causes an emotion?

When we encounter a significant life event, an emotion comes to life. Peoples mind (cognitive processes) and body (biological processes) react in adaptive ways. Understanding what causes an emotion, centres around this debate: biology vs. Cognition.

Biology vs. Cognition

Those who argue for cognition contend that individuals cannot respond emotionally unless they first cognitive appraise the meaning and personal significance of an event. Those who argue for biology contend subcortical neural activity or spontaneous facial expressions, activate emotion.

Biological Perspective

  • Infants respond to emotionally to events despite their cognitive shortcomings. A 3 week old infant smiles in response to a high pitched voice. Ekman points out that emotions have very rapid onsets, brief durations, and can occur automatically/involuntarily. Thus, we act emotionally even before we are aware of that emotionality. They are biological because the evolved through their adaptive value in dealing with fundamental life tasks.

Panksepp believes emotions arise from genetically endowed neural circuits that regulate brain activity. The rationale in supporting his perspective comes from 3 important findings:

  1. Because emotional states are often difficult to verbalise, they must therefore have origins that are non-cognitive.
  2. Emotional experience can be induced by non-cognitive procedures, such as electrical stimulation of the brain or activity of the facial musculature.
  3. Emotions occur in infants and nonhuman animals.

Tutorial 4[edit]

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the tutorial during this week.

Aspects of Emotion[edit]

Biological Aspects of Emotion

  1. Autonomic Nervous system
  2. Endocrine System
  3. Neural Brain circuits
  4. Rate of neural firing
  5. Facial feedback

Cognitive, Social & Cultural Aspects of Emotion

  1. Appraisals
  2. Knowledge
  3. Attributions
  4. Socialization history
  5. Cultural Identities

James-Lange Theory

Argued that bodily changes cause emotional experience: stimulus-> bodily reaction -> emotion. Rested on 2 assumptions:

  1. The body reacts uniquely to different emotion-eliciting events
  2. The body does not react to non-emotion-eliciting events

Received some criticism:

  • Critics argued that the sort of bodily reactions James referred to were actually part of the body's general mobilizing fight-or-flight response that did not vary from one emotion to the next.
  • Also argued that emotional experience was quicker than physiological reactions.

Contemporary Perspective

James Lange's insight continue to guide contemporary study. Study using professional actors found distinct physiological reactions in response to different emotions. The patterns of ANS activity emerged to recruit ways of behaviour that were adaptive (but only a few emotions: anger, fear, sadness, joy & disgust.) what about joy, hope?

  • "emotion mouse" Computer monitors data collected by mouse and analyzes data to infer user's emotional state.

Specific Neural Circuits. Neuro-anatomical findings document the existence of three distinct neural circuits, each regulates a distinctive pattern of emotional behaviour. These three neural circuits underlie the 4 emotions of joy, fear, rage & anxiety.

  1. A behaviour approach system
  2. A fight or flight system
  3. A behaviour inhibition system

Specific Brain Areas.

  • Amgydala generate different negative emotions
  • Left prefrontal cortex- joy
  • Right prefrontal cortex- fear
  • Dopamine pathways- positive affect.

Neural Activation. Different emotions are activated by different rates of cortical neural firing at any time. Whether the rate is increasing/decreasing/constant depends on environmental events.

  • Neural firing increases (surprise, fear or interest). Specific emotion depends on rate of increase.
  • Reaches & maintains high level (distress/anger).
  • Neural firing decreases (joy).

Differential Emotions Theory

Endorses the following:

  1. Ten emotions constitute the principle motivation system for human beings.
  2. Unique feeling: each emotion has its own unique subjective, phenomenological quality.
  3. Unique expression: Each emotion has its own unique facial expressive pattern
  4. Unique neural activity: Each emotion has its own specific rate of neural firing that activates it.
  5. Unique purpose/motivation: Each emotion generates distinctive motivational properties and serves adaptive functions.

Each emotion operates as a system that incorporates 2,3,4 &5.

Where are other emotions (hope, love, hate etc?). Paul Ekman offers 7 explanations:

  1. Emotion families exist such that many non-basic emotions are experienced-based derivatives of a single basic emotion (e.g. anxiety is a derivative of fear).
  2. Many emotion terms actually better descriptive moods (irritation).
  3. Many emotion terms better describe attitudes (hatred).
  4. Many emotion terms better describe personality traits (hostile).
  5. Many emotion terms better describe disorders (depression).
  6. Some non-basic emotions are blends of basic emotions (love blends interest, joy and sex drive).
  7. Many emotion words refer to specific aspects of a basic emotion. (what elicits emotion 'homesickness' or how person behaves- aggression).

Facial Feedback Hypothesis

Emotion stems from:

  1. Movements of the facial musculature
  2. Changes in facial temperature
  3. Changes in glandular activity in the facial skin.

Facial feedback does one job: emotion activation. After emotions is activated it is the emotion program that further elicits bodily participation. Facial action also changes brain temperature and breathing.

  • Facial Musculature. 80 muscles, 36 involved in facial expression.

Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis

Feedback from facial behaviour, when transformed into conscious awareness, constitutes the experience of emotion. Research has both supported and refuted FFH. One consensus is that a posed facial musculature produces reliable changes in physiological reactions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory rates. Most studies suggest there is at least a small influence on emotion.

Are Facial Expressions of Emotion Universal Across Cultures?

Much facial behaviour is surely learned. The finding that people from different cultures match the same facial expressions with the same emotions is evidence that facial behaviour is cross-culturally universal. This is evidence emotion related facial behaviour has an innate, unlearned component.

Can we Voluntarily Control our Emotions?

Difficulty arises when you consider emotion has four aspects: feelings, arousal, purpose and expression. It is difficult to conjure an emotion. Instead, you need an exposure to an emotion0generating event. Emotions are largely reactions. If emotions are largely cognitive phenomena (as opposed to biological) then it makes sense that a good deal of emotional experience can be voluntarily controlled.

Cognitive Aspects of Emotion


The central construct in a cognitive understanding of emotion is appraisal. All cognitive emotion theorists endorse the following interrelated beliefs.

  1. Without an antecedent cognitive appraisal of the event, emotions do not occur
  2. The appraisal, not the event itself, causes the emotion.

Change the appraisal, and you change the emotion (i.e. guilt 'if only I hadn't').

Arnolds appraisal theory of emotion:

  1. How does the perception of an objector event produce a good or bad appraisal.
  2. How does the appraisal generate emotion
  3. How does felt emotion express itself in action

From Perception to Appraisal

Arnold says that people categorically apprise stimulus events as positive or negative. The limbic system (amygdala) has been found to be the main centre of appraisal. Most stimuli are further appraised cortically.

  • From Appraisal to Emotion. When an emotion is appraised as good or bad the liking or dislike is felt as an emotion.
  • From Felt Emotion to Action. Through its effects on these biological system, emotions produce action (by deciding through memory, imagination on a course of action).

Complex Appraisal

Lazarus's complex appraisals. Lazarus pointed out that people evaluate whether the situation they face has personal relevance for their well-being. Given these appraisals of personal relevance, goal congruence and ego involvement, people appraise situations as harmful or beneficial. In addition, perceived coping abilities continue to alter how people interpret the situations they face. People first appraise their relationship to the life event (primary appraisal) and then appraise their coping potential (secondary appraisal).

Primary Appraisal. The following are potentially at stake:

  1. Health
  2. Self-esteem
  3. A goal
  4. Financial state
  5. Respect
  6. Well-being of a loved one.

Secondary Appraisal. Involves person's assessment for coping. Coping involves the person's cognitive, emotional, and behavioural efforts to manage the benefit, harm, or threat.

Appraisal Model of Emotion

Given an encounter with the environment- the person makes an appraisal considering its significance. If the event is not foreseen as a potential benefit, harm or threat it is perceived as irrelevant to well-being. Hence no ANS hyperactivity occurs, and the lack of ANS discharge signals that no coping is required. These events fail to generate an emotional episode. Activation of ANS signals coping strategies. If the coping responses are unsuccessful, ANS hyperactivity continues and the person experiences stress and anxiety.

  • Lazarus's portrayal of emotion is a motivational one. The individuals personal motives (goals, well=being) lie at the core of the emotion process.

Appraisal Process

Lazarus model only explains 15 emotions. Some cognitive theorists believe each emotion can be described by a unique pattern of compound appraisals. They also argue that there are additional dimensions of appraisal.

Emotion Differentiation. The strong suit of appraisal theory is its ability to explain emotion differentiation processes (people experience different emotions to the same event). Five reasons explain why appraisal theory cannot explain emotional reaction with 100% accuracy.

  1. Processes other than appraisal contribute to emotion
  2. Appraisals often function to intensify (rather than cause) the emotion
  3. While each specific emotion has a unique pattern of appraisals associated with it, the patterns of appraisal for many emotions overlap and create some confusion.
  4. Developmental differences exist among people such that children generally experience basic, general emotions whereas socialized adults experience a richer variety of appraisal-specific emotions.
  5. Emotion knowledge and attributions represent additional cognitive factors beyond appraisal that affect emotion.

Emotion Knowledge

The number of different emotions any one person can distinguish constitutes their emotion knowledge. Much of the diversity of of emotion experience comes from learning fine distinctions among emotions and the specific situations that cause them.


Attribution theory rests on the assumption that people want to explain why they experienced a particular life outcome. Attributions are important because the explanation we use to explain our outcome generates emotional reactions.

Social & Cultural Aspects of Emotion

If you changed the culture you lived in, your emotional repertoire would also change. Chinese infants are less emotionally reactive and expressive than American infants, probably because Chinese parents emphasize emotional restraint while American parents expect emotional expression.

  • Anger, sadness, fear and happiness: both cultures see essentially the same meaning within these experiences. However they do see differences in the meaning of emotion. Love is considered a negative emotion to the Chinese & shame is considered a basic emotion. Love: romantic love is a disruptive force that can separate a son or daughter from their parents.
  • Situations define what emotions are most appropriate and expected, and because people know which emotions are likely to occur in which settings they can 'construct' a particular emotional experience for themselves (go to a party to experience joy).

Social Interaction

Other people are typically our most frequent source of day-to-day emotion. Emotions are intrinsic to interpersonal relationships. They also play a role in creating, maintaining and dissolving interpersonal relationships as they draw us together and push us apart. Other people also affect us indirectly as through emotional contagion (the tendency to mimic and synchronize expressions, postures, and movements with another). Social interaction also puts ourselves in a context that provides an opportunity to re-experience and relive past emotional experiences, a process referred to as the 'social sharing of emotion'. It is during these times of sharing our emotions that we build and maintain the relationships that are central to our lives.

Emotional Socialization

Occurs as adults tell children what they ought to know about emotion. Most of what they learn falls under emotion knowledge, expression management and emotion control.

Managing Emotions

How people learn to manage their emotions can be seen in professionals who frequently and intimately work with others. I.e. Physicians. Medical students learned to manage thier emotions using these 5 strategies:

  1. Transform the emotional contact into something else.(like into a cold step-by-step procedure).
  2. Accentuate the positive
  3. Use the patient (shift awareness of uncomfortable feelings onto the patient, such as projection).
  4. Laugh about it.
  5. Avoid the contact (keep patient covered, look elsewhere, hurray procedure).

Personality, Motivation & Emotion[edit]


Most people are happy, and this is true almost irrespective of their life circumstances. Those who have won the lottery of suffered an accident return to their previous happiness levels before the event. It appears that people have a happiness 'set point'. Infact there may be 2 set points, one for positive emotionality (from individual differences in extraversion) and a second for negative emotionality(individual differences in neuroticism).

  • Some researchers ad ' It may be that trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller'.

Extraversion and Happiness

Extraversion has three facets.

  1. Sociability
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Venturesomeness

Extraverts are happier whether they live alone or with others. Extraverts are happier than introverts because they are more sensitive to the rewards inherent in most social situations. Because they have a greater sensitivity to positive feelings, extraverts eagerly appraoch potentially rewarding situations. This occurs because extraverts have a bigger BAS system. Studies on twins also suggest that extraversion is heritable.

Two types of Happiness

Are introverts doomed to an unfulfilled emotional life? No, because there are 2 types of happiness, hedonic and eudaimonic. hedonic well-being is the totality of one's pleasurable moments (represents a pleasant life). Eudaimonic well-being concerns self-realization; it involves engaging oneself in meaningful pursuits and in doing what is worth doing. It is the actualization of the self and it is realized through personal authenticity and growth.

Neuroticism and Suffering

Neuroticism is defined as a predisposition to experience negative affect and to feel chronically dissatisfied and unhappy. Neurotics experience greater stress, more negative emotionality, and a steady stream of mood states such as anxiety, fear, and irritability. Neurotics suffer emotionally because of their greater capacity to experience negative emotions and harbour disturbed and troubling thoughts. Neurotics have a strong BIS>

Extraverts are generally Happy, Neurotics are generally unhappy

When extraverts enter a situation, their BAS system makes them sensitive to its rewarding apsects and they experience positive emotions. When neurotics enter a situation, there BIS system makes them sensitive to its potentially punishing aspects and they experience negative emotions and avoidance.


Arousal governs alertness, wakefulness and activation. Four principles explain arousal's contribution to motivation:

  1. A person's arousal level is mostly a function of how stimulating the environment is.
  2. People engage in behaviour to increase or decrease their level of arousal
  3. When under aroused, people seek out opportunities to increase their arousal levels, because increases in environmental stimulation are pleasurable and enhance performance whereas decreases are aversive and undermine performance.
  4. When over aroused, people seek out opportunities to decrease their arousal levels, because increases in environmental stimulation are aversive and undermine performance whereas decreases are pleasurable and enhance performance.

Performance and Emotion

Inverted U of arousal. When moderately aroused- alert but not tense- performance tends to be optimal. When under aroused, a person will seek out opportunities for something new, and perhaps risk taking. When Over aroused person will feel stressed, frustrated and hassled. They are attracted to something calm (i.e vacation, reading the paper).

Insufficient Stimulation and Under arousal

Studies on sensory deprivation. These studies confirm the fact the brain and nervous system prefer a continual and moderate level of arousal generated by environmental stimulation.

Excessive Stimulation and Over arousal

Because stress and strain are aversive ways of feeling, people generally want to escape overstimulating environments. When unable to do so, daily functioning is characterized by negative affect, cognitive confusion, performance impairment, and health problems. Credibility of the Inverted-U Hypothesis Neiss levied criticisms against the inverted u-curve hypothesis.

  1. The first is that the inverted-u is descriptive rather than explanatory.
  2. Even if it is true, it is still trivial. It applies only when arousal levels are extreme. (however a study done on the everyday experience of caffeine, found positive findings contrary to Neiss's criticism).

Sensation Seeking

Humans differ in their genetic baseline level of arousal and in their reactivity to stimuli. Reactivity refers to one's arousal reaction when exposed to external stimulation. A high sensation seeker prefers a continual external supply of brain stimulation, becomes bored with routine and is continually in searchof ways to increase arousal through exciting experiences. A low sensation seeker prefers less brain stimulation and tolerated routine relatively well.

Search for New Experiences:

  • Sensation seekers report a greater number of sexual partners. Sensation seekers also report more alcohol and drug use, as well as deviant acts.

Risk Taking:

  • It is not that sensation seekers are attracted to risks, it is more that they see sensations and experiences being worth those risks.

Biological Basis:

  • Sensation seekers have low levels of monoamineoxidase (MAO). It is a limbic system enzyme involved in breaking down neurotransmitters such as dopamine (facilitates approach behaviour) and serotonin (inhibits approach behaviour). They also have high levels of dopamine but not serotonin.

Affect Intensity:

  • Affect Intensity concerns people's capacity to become aroused emotionally. Defined in terms of the strength with which individuals experience their emotions. Affect-intense individuals experience their emotions strongly and show emotional reactivity across many different emotion-eliciting situations. Affect-stable individuals experience their emotions only mildly and show only minor fluctuations in their emotional reactions.
  • For all bad events, affect-intense individuals reported worse negative emotionality than did affect-stable individuals. For good events, affect-intense individuals reported more positive emotionality.
  • It is almost as if affect-intense persons have a highly sensitive 'arousal thermostat'.


Perceived control: peoples preperformance expectancies of possessing the needed capacity to produce positive outcomes. Desire for control: the extent to which people strive to make their own decision, influence others, assume leadership roles and enter situations in prepared ways.

Perceived Control

In order to perceive that one has control over a given situation, one needs two things. First, the self must be capable of obtaining the available desired outcome. Second, the situation in which one attempts to exercise control needs to be at least somewhat predictable and responsive. When some barrier like task difficultly separates the person from attractive outcomes, individual differences in perceptions of control intervene, explaining when and why people willingly put forth the effort necessary to control their fate. Perceived control beliefs predict how much effort a person is willing to exert. When a person with high perceived control faces a structured situation, he seeks out and selects relatively challenging tasks & high goals. Such an engaged focus on the task leads to strong performance. When a person with low perceived control faces the situation, they pick an easy task, sets lower goals and has less fallback strategies. If things go wrong effort decreases and discouragement set in. Over time, such events lead people to become more pessimistic, to reduce expectations of future control and to quit making plans/strategies.

Self-Confirming Cycles of High and Low engagement: Perceived control beliefs influence the individual's engagement, emotion, coping, and challenge-seeking. Such patterns of engagement versus disaffection are important because they predict outcomes people attain. Attained outcomes, in turn, effect performers post performance perceptions of control. Hence, engaged effort produced positive outcomes and post performance perceptions of high control. Disaffection produces negative outcomes and post performance perceptions of low control. This is the so-called self-confirming cycle of higher versus lower engagement. Over the sense of years, the self confirming cycle explains how and why some people develop strong personal control beliefs while others do not.

Desire for Control

High DC persons approach situations by asking whether they can control what happens. They are motivated to influence life and what happens. They prefer making their own decisions, prepare for situations in advance and avoid dependence on others, and assume leadership roles in group settings. What makes desire for control differed from perceived control is that high-desire-for-control individuals want control over their fates irrespective of how much control they currently have and irrespective of how structured or responsive the situation appears to be. Desire for control relates to a variety of behaviours fundamental to personal control beliefs (learned helplessness, depression, hypnosis, stress etc. ).

Establishing Control:

  • High DC individuals speak loudly, explosively, and rapidly, they respond quickly and interrupt talk. Often, high-DC individuals want and expect control over events when, in fact, their outcomes are determined by chance (develop the illusion of control). High DC individuals also persist longer on difficult tasks (less likely to admit the task is out of their control).

Losing Control:

  • When the control of high DC individuals is threatened or lost, reactions such as distress, anxiety, depression, dominance, and assertive coping appear. (visiting the dentist is a low control situation as is crowding). When high DC individuals face an uncontrollable situation, they experience higher levels of post-task depression than do low DC persons.

Tutorial 5[edit]

In Tutorial 5 we examined Personality, Motivation & Emotion. Students received revision tests on what we had covered in our lecture and reading material on personality. As a class, we then discussed which areas we were unsure of or just had general opinions about. One of my peers noted that the assumption that extraverts are happier than introverts is perhaps misleading (because introverts can receive pleasure and happiness from doing 'introverted activities', i.e. reading). I do see this students point- but I believe introverts may experience a happiness that is more content in nature while extroverts happiness is more excitable (and therefore they just appear 'happier'). As more on the introverted side I believe I find happiness in many things extroverts overlook- i.e. a beautiful flower by the side of a path. From knowing my extroverted friends, they appear to find the most happiness in social situations which is typically predictive of an extroverted personality.. So perhaps it's not that extroverts experience more happiness but just a different type of happiness.

We then went on to discuss sensation seeking and complete the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS). The Scale had four factors:

  1. Thrill and adventure seeking (10 items) - desire to engage in sports or activities involving some physical danger or risk such as mountain climbing, parachute jumping, scuba diving, speeding in a car, etc.
  2. Experience seeking (10 items) - desire to seek new experiences through the mind and senses by living in a nonconforming life style with unconventional friends, and through travel.
  3. Disinhibition (10 items) - need to disinhibit behaviour in the social sphere by drinking, partying and seeking variety in sexual partners.
  4. Boredom susceptibility (10 items) - aversion for repetitive experience of any kind, routine work, or even dull or predictable people. Other items indicate a restless reaction when things are unchanging.

We then discussed the scale as a class. I found my total to be quite high (with most students results being further towards the high side). Perhaps this is to do with the general young age of most of the students who are typically in their early 20's. One of the older-age students said that she probably would of been more open to experience and risk at earlier age but that after having children (responsibilities) this was no longer the case. This makes me wonder whether this scale was designed to cross the lifespan as I believe this would be the case for many people as they grew older. In regards to the reliability of the scale, one of my peers noted that the questions in regards to 'boredom susceptibility' were all to do with repetitive activities, and a discussion grew as to whether repetition is the definition of boredom or just a subsector. I do agree with my peer who noted that boredom is not just repetition because I believe you can be bored in something you've never done/studied before. I find the whole concept of sensation seeking interesting and would like to examine it further when I have the time. We then went on to review our progress made on our textbook chapters.

Chapter Checklist:

  1. Have a title? Yes, Flow Theory
  2. Have an introduction? Not yet, as I generally do introductions last but I know how I will format it.
  3. Set up some focus questions or specific topics/structure? I think I will put some questions at the end as a method of revision.
  4. Explain relevant theory(ies)? Yes, I have covered intrinsic motivation, self-determination theory and psychological needs relevant to Flow Theory.
  5. Explain relevant research? I have found a lot of research by the founder of Flow Theory. Although there is some research done by other researchers, there was surprisingly less than what I thought there'd be.
  6. Provide some examples? I have definitions as to what Flow theory is and feels like etc.
  7. Provide relevant links? Not too much I can add here, however I have found a youtube link I am thinking of including.
  8. Illustrate the knowledge in an interesting way? Hope so.
  9. Provide a summary? Like the intro, this will be one of my last things to do.

Unconscious Motivation[edit]

Psychodynamic Perspective

Derives from biologically endowed and socially acquired impulses that determine our desires, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours whether we like it or not. Psychoanalytic Becomes Psychodynamic Psychoanalytic: practitioners who remain committed to Freud's principles Psychodynamic: Refers to the study of dynamic unconscious mental processes.

Dual-Instinct Theory

Freud saw the human body as a complex energy system organized for the purpose of increasing and decreasing its energies through behaviour. Some behaviours increased bodily energy (eating, breathing) and some depleted energy (working, playing). Some bodily energy was mental energy which it receives from the body's physical energy. The source of all psychical energy was biological drive (instinct) and was also the source of all motivation. Freud emphasized two general categories of biological drives: those are instincts for life (Eros) and instincts for death (thanatos). People did not just impulsively act on their aggressive/sexual tendencies, instead they learn from experience to direct their behaviour in need-satisfying aims. The individual learns defensive reactions for managing sexual/aggressive energies. One's learned manner of defence is what Freud meant by the ego.

Drive or Wish?

Few contemporary psychoanalysts understand motivation as a function of dual-instinct theory. Contemporary psychoanalysts now propose that psychological wishes rather than drives regulate and direct human behaviour (it overcomes the contradictory evidence that sex and aggression do not function as physiological drives).

Contemporary Psychodynamic Theory

Today, four postulates define psychodynamic theory.

  1. The unconscious.
  2. Psychodynamics. Mental processes operate in parallel with one another
  3. Ego Development. Healthy development involves moving from an immature, socially dependent personality to one that is more mature and independent with others.
  4. Object relations Theory. Mental representations of self and others form in childhood that guide the person's later social motivations and relationships.

The Unconscious

Freud believed the individual must express strong unconscious urges and impulses, though in a disguised form. It has been a 100 year debate, but the conclusion that much of mental life is unconscious is now largely accepted as true. The three views can be called the Freudian unconscious, the adaptive unconscious, and implicit motivation.

Freudian Unconscious

Conscious, preconscious, and unconscious.

  • Dreams provided an opportunity for accessing the unconscious' wishful core. Because the explicit expression of unconscious wishes could be anxiety provoking and ego-threatening, the unconscious expresses its impulses through the latent and symbolic in dreams.
  • Dreams express unconscious wishes, but dreams are also neuropysiological, cognitive, coping, and problem-solving events that have little to do with unconscious wishes.

Adaptive Unconscious

Man with amnesia showed marked improvement in motor skill. The adaptive unconscious runs on automatic pilot as it carries out countless computations and innumerable adjustments during acts such as typing your shoes, etc. It performs routing activities as well, such as engaging procedural knowledge, recognizing events as familiar or not, and knowledge we gain such as remembering music. Students make accurate statement on teacher from 4 sec video and people can make accurate judgment of others emotions from a micro-second exposure without telling you how they could do so.

Implicit Motivation

Implicit motivation refers to all those motives, emotions, attitudes and judgments that operate outside a person's conscious awareness and that are fundamentally distinct from self-report motives, emotions, attitudes, and judgments. 'implicit' described motivational processes that are indirect, implied, or not well understood. They are also linked to emotional experiences (needs reviewed in ch7 illustrated implicit motivations well, achievement, affiliation, intimacy and power).

  • Whether implicit motivational processes predict behaviour depends on the degree to which individuals exercise awareness of the events going on around them that affect their motivation and how they respond to these events in terms of thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. Mindfulness explains when implicit motives affect behaviour. With the activation of implicit motivation and openness to high mindfulness, people are able to regulate their behaviour in implicit and productive ways.

Subliminal Motivation

To subliminally activate unconscious information, a stimulus is presented at a very weak energy level to an unsuspecting research participant. Like the 'at popcorn' and 'if you steal, you will get caught' messages, the 'I love you' subliminal messages were not processed in a way that affected thoughts or behaviours.


Freud observed that people often engaged in behaviour that they clearly did not wish to do. He reasoned motivation must be more complex than that which follows intentional volition. Conscious volition must have to wrestle with an unconscious counter will. Then the conscious (ego's) will and the unconscious (id's ) counter-will are of equal strength, an internal civil war ensues. This clashing of forces is what is mean by the term psychodynamics. Today, psychoanalysts point out that wishes, fears, goals, emotions, motivates are never in harmony and that mental conflict is inevitably constant (as in job interview, marriage proposal).


When Freud defined psychodynamics the central concept was repression. People go out of their way to remain unaware of their motivation. This is because they cannot bear to know things about themselves that contradict either their self-view or public opinion. Repression is the process of forgetting information or an experience by ways that are unconscious, unintentional, and automatic.


No one can stop a thought. Instead, people try to suppress the thought once it has already occurred. However, suppression fails. Thoughts and emotions can be suppressed for only a while. Study on white bear. Difficult to not think of bear. When allowed to think of bear it preoccupied their attention (rebound effect). These results contradict common sense. People rely on thought suppression to control their thoughts and actions in all areas of life. Self-control as in the effort to abstain from certain food or addictive substances. They rely on though suppression to keep a secret or deceive another person. They use it for self-control over pain, and fear and to avoid making public the inner workings of their mind. Continued suppression over time creates a counterforce that drives the unwanted thought to an obsession (the dieter who thinks only of food).

Do the Id and Ego actually Exist?

Electric stimulation of the brain reveals some areas are pleasure centres while others are unpleasure centres. The limbic system makes for a fair id. The neocortex qualifies as the ego (learning, memory, decision making, problem solving). Neuroscientist have confirmed that the emotion-generating amygdala is present at birth while the memory generating hippocampus matures later. So early experiences can leave an emotional memory imprint (implicit learning) without a corresponding episodic (conscious) memory.

Ego Psychology

Freud postulated that all psychical energy originated as the id. The neo-Freudians saw more. Hartmann aw the ego as a process of maturation that made it increasingly different from its id origins. Learning provided the ego with information about itself and surroundings. The mature ego was mostly autonomous from the id.

Ego Development

From its infantile origins the ego unfold along the following developmental trajectory

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

Ego development is important to motivation study in two ways. First, the ego develops to defend against anxiety. Second, the ego develops to empower the person to interact more effectively and more proactively with its surroundings.

Ego Defence

The day-to-day existence of the ego is one of vulnerability. Through its defence mechanisms, the ego buffers consciousness against potentially overwhelming levels of anxiety originating from conflict with id impulses, superego demands, and environmental dangers. Defence mechanisms existing a hierarchical ordering from least to most mature, from least to most adaptive. Denial and fantasy are the most immature because the individual fails to recognize external reality. Second level-defence such as projection .Third level- most common defences including rationalization and reaction formation. Deal with short term anxiety but fail long-term adjustment. Level four- most adaptive and mature, include sublimation (painting, writing a poem) and humor.

Ego Effectance

Concerns the individual's competence in dealing with environmental challenges, demands, and opportunities. Effectance motivation begins during infancy as an undifferentiated source of ego energy. In the process of adapting and developing, the undifferentiated ego begins to differentiate into specific motives such as needs for achievement, affiliation, intimacy, and power. Thus begins development of a variety of separate ego motivation, but the core ego motivation is effectance motivation, or the desire to interact effectively with the environment. Successful effectance with the environment creates a sense of competence. The greater the effectance motivation, the stronger the desire to seek out new and challenge interactions with the environment.

Object relations Theory

Central to the object relations theory are the infant's need for attachment to the caregiver and the adults subsequent interpersonal connectedness to the important people in his or her life. Object relations theory studies how people relate to objects (others) to satisfy that emotional and psychological need for relatedness. It focuses on the nature and development of mental representations of the self and others and on the affective process (wishes, fear) associated with these representations. In particular, it focuses on how childhood mental representations of one's caretakers are captured within the personality and persist into adulthood. Object relations often stress the impact that parental abuse or neglect has on the infant's emerging representations of the self and others. Positive mental models of one's self predict adult levels of self-reliance, social confidence, and self-esteem.

According to object relations theory, the quality of any one's mental representations of relationships can be categorized by 3 dimensions:

  1. Unconscious tone (benevolent vs. malevolent)
  2. Capacity for emotional involvement(selfishness/narcissism vs mutual concern)
  3. Mutuality of autonomy with others.
  • Research on object relations theory underscores the fundamental motivation significance of people's psychological need for relatedness.
  • Attachment theory (stems from object relations). Parenting styles affect later romantic love attachment styles.


Freud's psychoanalytic contribution to the study of human motivation is plagued by at least two criticisms:

  1. His concepts are not scientifically testable. Some of Freud's ideas have indeed stood the test of empirical validation. But on many points, Freud was simply wrong.
  2. Although psychodynamic theory is a wonderful interpretive device for events that occurred in the past, it is woeful as a predictive device. A scientific theory must be able to predict what will happen in the future.

Growth Psychology[edit]

Research on Positive Psychology ads that inner guides like meaning, authenticity, and the passion to learn add reservoirs of strength and wellness and, further, that it is the effort to develop these personal strengths, rather than the effort to realize cultural priorities, that makes us happy.

Holism and Positive Psychology

Along with existentialism and gestalt psychology, holism asserts that a human being is best understood as an integrated, organized whole rather than as a series of differentiated parts. Holism values a top-down approach to viewing an individual.


Holism derives its name from ‘whole’ or ‘wholeness’ and therefore concerns itself with the study of what is healthy or unbroken. Humanistic psychology is about discovering human potential and encouraging its development. To accomplish this, the humanistic perspective concerns striving 1) toward growth and self-realization, 2) away from façade, self-concealment, and the pleasing and fulfilling of the expectations of others.

Positive Psychology

The goal 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. What sets positive psychology apart from humanistic psychology is its rigorous empirical testing. Positive Psychology looks at a person and asks ‘what could be?’ Mostly, however, it devotes attention to the proactive building of personal strengths and competencies.

Self Actualization

Self Actualization is a striving. It is “an underlying flow of movement toward constructive fulfillment of its inherent possibilities” (Rogers, 1980). The two fundamental directions that characterize self actualization as a process are autonomy and openness to experience. Through openness, one leaves behind timidity and defensive appraisals and moves toward greater mindfulness, the courage to create, and realistic appraisals. Through autonomy, one leaves behind a dependence on others and moves toward self-realization.

Hierarchy of Human Needs

Maslow’s understanding of motivation is that it can be organized into five clusters. The first set contain physiological needs where as all other clusters are psychological needs. It also conveys three themes:

  1. Needs arrange themselves in the hierarchy according to potency or strength. The lower the need is in the hierarchy, the stronger and more urgently it is felt.
  2. The lower the need is in the hierarchy, the sooner it appears in development. Young people experience only the lower needs in the hierarchy.
  3. Needs in the hierarchy are fulfilled sequentially, from lowest to highest, from the base to the apex.

Deficiency Needs:

  • Physiological needs and needs for safety, belongingess, and esteem are referred to as deficiency needs. Maslow characterized such deprivation as human sickness, a term he used to connote a failure to move toward growth and actualization.

Growth Needs:

  • Given satisfaction of all deficiency needs, growth needs surface and render the person restless and discontent. He feels a need to fulfill person potential. Self actualization is actually a master motive that coalesces 17 ‘metaneeds’ such as longing for a sense of wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, and meaning.

Research on the Need Hierarchy:

  • Maslow’s need hierarchy has been embraced in many workplaces, education and health professions. Despite its popularity, little empirical support has been found. Research found age did not predict need importance and that students rank the 5 needs in priority order other than Maslow’s. The only finding with some empirical support is in a dual-level hierarchy (deficiency and growth needs).

Encouraging Growth

Maslow estimated that only 1% of people reached self actualization. Like Maslow, all humanistic thinkers continue to emphasize that the process of self-emergence is an inherently stressful and anxiety-provoking process, because it always makes the person face the insecurities of personal responsibility.

Maslow offered six every-day behaviors to encourage self-actualization:

  1. Make Growth Choices
  2. Be honest
  3. Situationally position yourself for peak experiences
  4. Give up Defensiveness
  5. Let the Self emerge
  6. Be open to experience
  • In addition, Maslow stressed the importance of intimate and fulfilling relationships that support both autonomy and openness.

Actualizing Tendency

“The organism has one basic tendency and striving- to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing self”. Fulfillment of physiological needs maintains and enhances the organism, as does the fulfillment of needs for belongingness and social status. Furthermore, a motive such as curiosity enhances the person via greater learning and new interests.

  • Rogers stressed the holistic proposition that all human needs serve the collective purpose of maintaining, enhancing, and actualizing the person. Rogers like Maslow, believed the actualizing tendency was innate, guiding the person toward determined potentials. This forward moving pattern was characterized by ‘struggle and pain’ (such as the child learning to walk).
  • The actualizing tendency motivates the individual to want to undertake new and challenging experiences, and the organismic valuation process provides the interpretive information needed for deciding whether the new undertaking is growth-promoting or not.

Emergence of the Self

The most important motivational implication of the emergence of the self is that the actualizing tendency begins to express itself in part toward that portion of the organism conceptualized as the self. This means the individual gains a second major motivational force in addition to the actualizing tendency, namely the self-actualizing tendency.

Conditions of Worth:

  • Soon after birth, children begin to learn the ‘conditions of worth’ on which their behavior and personal characteristics are judges as either positive or worthy of acceptance. Due to the need for positive regard, the child internalized parental conditions of worth into the self structure. Through development, the self structure expands to include societal conditions.
  • According to Rogers, we live in two worlds- the inner world of organismic valuing and the outer world of conditions of worth. When the developing individual adheres to conditions of worth, he moves farther away from an inherent ability to make the behavioural choices necessary to actualize the self. To encourage actualization, parents should provide ‘unconditional positive regard’.
  • Self-actualization, when evaluated and directed via conditions of worth rather than organismic valuation, can paradoxically lead a person to develop in a way that is incongruent, conflicting, and maladaptive.

Conditional Regard as a Socialization Strategy:

  • To socialize children, parents and teachers sometimes use ‘internal compulsions’ to do what the adult wants them to do or believe. This conditional regard create negative emotions such as anxiety and anger that lead children and adolescents toward maladaptive functioning.


Congruence and incongruence describe the extent to which the individual denies and rejects (incongruence) or accepts (congruence) the full range of his or her personal characteristics, abilities, desires and beliefs. When people move toward identifying with external conditions of worth, they adopt facades (social mask a person wears, i.e. the unauthentic smile).

Fully Functioning Individual

When fully functioning, the individual lives in close and confident relationship to the organismic valuation process, trusting inner direction as well as congruence. Furthermore, the individual spontaneously communicates inner impulses both verbally and nonverbally.

Causality Orientations

Some people adopt an orientation that their inner guides and self-determined forces regulate their behavior (autonomy causality orientation) while others believe that social guides and environmental incentives regulate their behavior (control causality orientation). Causality orientations reflect self-determination in the personality. When people seek to change their behavior, they typically rely on either internal guides or external guides to do so. ON study of weight loss it was found that the more autonomy orientated the participants were, the more these participants relied on relatively autonomous reasons for losing weight such as identified regulation ('it is important to my health').

Growth-Seeking versus Validation Seeking

When people identify with and internalize societal conditions of worth, they do more than just adopt socially desirable facades. Quasi-needs emerge. A Quasi-need emerges to the extent that the individual needs social approval during social interaction. That is, valuing oneself along the lines of societal conditions of worth leads people into processes of validation-seeking. For the person who needs the approval of others to feel good about their self, fulfilling others' conditions of worth leads to validation.

  • Positive outcomes generally leave the validation-seeking individual feeling rather accepted and validation. The adjustment problems surface following negative outcomes because these problems imply a lack of personal worth, competence or likeability.
  • In contrast to validation-seeking individuals, growth seeking individuals center their personal striving around learning, improving, and reaching personal potential. They also receive positive outcomes from interpersonal interaction because the growth-seeking individual experiences a sense of progress. However, negative interpersonal outcomes fail to usher in adjustment problems because negative outcomes simply identify areas in need of improvement.
  • The goal orientation inventory measures validation-seeking and growth-seeking strivings as relatively enduring personality characteristics.
  • The distinctions between the two predict mental health difficulties. The more people strive for validation, the more likely there are to suffer anxiety during social interaction, fear of failure, low self-esteem, poor task persistence, and high depression.
  • Another name for validation seeking is the intentional, deliberate, and bend-over-backwards pursuit of high self-esteem. The costs of the pursuit of high self-esteem include costs to one's personal autonomy, sacrifices to learning, one's relationships, physical health, and mental health. Paradoxically, growth-strivings cultivates self-esteem as gain in self-esteem is a byproduct of making progress as one researcher says:
  • Seeking validation is the pursuit to restore one's deficiency needs at the interpersonal level whereas growth seeking . Seeking validation also stems from parent-child interactions characterized by critical, conditional parenting.

How Relationships support the Actualizing Tendency

The extent to which individuals develop toward congruence and adjustment depends greatly on the quality of their interpersonal relationships. Relationships may take on a controlling tone or at the other extreme a supportive tone which promotes autonomy and the actualizing tendency. A client moves toward health when his therapist brings warmth, genuineness, empathy, interpersonal acceptance, and confirmation of the other person's capacity for self-determination (that the other person is competent and capable). Within a humanistic framework, these 5 characteristics reflect the quality of interpersonal relationship.

Helping Others:

  • Helping does not involve an expert trying to fix things, rather helping involves letting the other person discover and then be, him- or herself. This communicates the conditions of worth.

Relatedness to Others:

  • One index of healthy psychosocial development is the extent to which the individual accepts social conventions, accommodates the self to the society, internalizes cultural values, cooperates with others, whose respect for others, and so on. What motivates the willingness to accommodate the self to others is the need for relatedness.

Relatedness refers to need-satisfying experience in which one feels emotionally connected to, interpersonally involved with, liked by, respected by, and valued by another person. In addition the relatedness but be one of unconditional worth to satisfy the need of autonomy (especially in child-caretaker relations).

Freedom to Learn:

  • Rogers did not like the idea of a 'teacher' because he felt the only learning that mattered was self-initiated learning. He preferred the term 'facilitator'. Learning involves having one's interests identified, facilitated and supported. Education cannot be forced, rather it must be acquired by the student though an investment of his energies and interests. Humanistic education centers around three themes:
  1. The facilitator functions as a structuring agent in an open classroom
  2. Students take responsibility for initiating their own learning
  3. Students learn cooperatively and in the context of the peer group

Self-Definition and Social Definition:

  • These definitions are personality processes related to how individuals conceptualize who they are. These processes are particularly instructive in the developing identities of women. Self0defined women are more autonomous and independent in their relationships and social roles. They take decisive and successful goal directed actions and self-determined aspirations including their own personal decisions. They are less invested in so-called traditional roles, such as house-wife and mother.

In contrast, Socially defined women prefer to work with and depend on others. They prefer traditional female roles both at home and work. Decisions and experience flow not from the self, but instead from the social support of others.

The Problem of Evil

Much of humanistic psychology follows the assumption that 'human nature is inherently good'. Freedom and self-determination are fine if human nature is benevolent, cooperative and warmhearted, but what if it is not?

  • Rogers conviction was that evil was not inherent inhuman nature. He argued that if caretakers provided enough nurturance and acceptance then people would choose good over evil. Human beings behave malevolently only to the extent that they have been injured or damaged by their experience.
  • Other humanists see more ambiguity. They assume benevolence and malevolence are a part of everyone. The actualizing tendency either pairs itself with life-affirming values and adopts constructive ways for behaving but under another value it pairs with malicious values. Thus, a person needs a value system to support and complement the organismic valuation process. If parents do not provide a benevolent value system the child will grab it where ever it is available. (suicide terrorist- had a set of values they saw as greater than themselves).
  • When people desire to act in ways that promote evil, they possess a malevolent personality.
  • Descent into evil. This view argues that evil springs out of a person's grandiosity and damaged concept of self to explain heinous acts. The cause seems to have its origin in en enculturation, not human nature.

Positive Psychology & Growth

The fundamental assertion on what positive psychology rests is that good mental health requires more than the absence of mental illness. Many people simply feel empty- not ill but floundering more than flourishing. Table on pg 441 describes human strengths yielding positive psychology. The building of the strengths yield two outcomes: 1) fostering personal growth and well-being and 2) preventing human sickness from ever taking root within the personality. For insight on how this might be so consider optimism, meaning, and eudaimonic well-being.


  • Most people are neither realistic nor accurate in how they think. Most of us think we are better than average in all sorts of domains. Most of us harbor a positivity bias and this positive light is associated with well-being and enhanced performance. Wishful thinking can do more harm than good, and it is often illusory. Still, empirical research suggests those who are optimistic lead more worthwhile lives. Optimism gives people a sense of hope and motivation.
  • Optimism can be taught and learned. Peterson (2006) argues that learned optimism is hard work and provides the example of the 'hot seat technique'.


  • Existentialism is the study of the isolation and meaninglessness of the individual in an indifferent universe. Meaning was a need of discovery and accomplishment that each individual strove for. From a motivational view, meaning in life grows out of three needs. Purpose, Values and efficacy. Collectively, a sense of purpose, internalized values, and high-efficacy to affect changes in the environment are the motivational means to cultivate meaning in life.
  • Creating meaning is an active process in which people interpret the events in their lives, find the benefit in these events, and discover the significance of what happens to them. Meaning arises as much out of the specific events in our lives as it does from the needs of purpose, values and efficacy.
  • As Frankl said, success is not our greatest achievement but, rather, it is facing a difficult life challenge with dignity and integrity. People create meaning by framing a bad event and explaining how it resulted in a positive outcome. Those who do not counter life's burdens with purpose, moral goodness, and efficacy (meaning) are more likely to suffer mental pathology after the wake of a bad event.

Eudaimonic Well-being:

  • Hedonic well-being: experience of pleasure, absence of problems, living the good life.
  • Eudaimonic well-being in contrast is the experience of seeking out challenges, exerting effort, being fully engaged and experiencing flow in what one is doing, acting on one's true values and feeling fully alive and authentic. Eudaimonic well-being is essentially self-realization. Motivational processes that lead to eudemonic well-being include the concepts of the fully functional individual, self-actualization, psychological need satisfaction, and positive self-functioning.
  • The psychological need that most reliably forecast eudemonic well-being is relatedness. The more people focus on material goods and fame and fortune, the lower their eudemonic well-being. In addition, the pursuit of self-endorsed goals foreshadows eudaimonic well-being. Self-endorsed goals are those that fulfill basic psychological needs and are aligned with one's true self.

Positive Psychology Therapy: Positive psychology does not yet have host of validated intervention techniques however some 'happiness exercises' have been recommended (also found in tutorial notes).

  1. Gratitude visit. Write a letter of gratitude to someone
  2. Three good things in life
  3. You at your best
  4. Identify signature strengths.


  1. It seems that the humanistic view emphasizes only one part of human nature.
  2. The humanistic perspective also uses a number of vague and ill-defined constructs. The critics recommend we drop these quasi-scientific concepts.
  3. Another criticism questions how one is to know what is really wanted or what is really needed by the actualizing tendency. Knowledge of right and wrong can be difficult to trace back to the origins of its true source. If standards are interjected from infancy, a person can be self-deceived into thinking that their preferences are their own rather than their parents'.

Tutorial 6[edit]

Whoa, the final tutorial has arrived, and it seems like no time has passed at all. Today, we're discussing Growth and Positive Psychology which I feel is a good way to end the unit. To start with we had some problems for discussion.

• Do you know a self-actualised and/or fully functioning individual? What gives you this impression? • Do you know someone in whom the actualisation tendency is particularly weak? (e.g., someone who consistently pursue external validation and adopts a facade when interacting with others?) What gives you this impression? • In general, does evil reside in human nature or is it a product of a sick culture? • As a parent raising a child who expresses a somewhat socially undesirable temperament, which option would you recommend - Explain/defend your answer: o raise the child in his or her natural temperament or o raise the child to conform to the more socially-desirable temperament? • Do you mostly agree or mostly disagree with the following statement by Rogers: Learning does not follow from teaching. Rather, learning follows having one’s interests identified, facilitated, and supported. • Explain the following concepts: o growth-seeking and validation-seeking. o Maslow’s distinction between growth and deficiency needs. o Rogers’ distinction between congruence and incongruence. o Autonomy and control causality orientations. • Discuss what types of social interactions o support growth-seeking, growth needs, congruence, and an autonomy causality orientation? o lead to validation-seeking, deficiency needs, facades, and a control causality orientation.

Positive Psychology sees human nature as being inherently good - that all people are not born bad or with bad desires. This put us on the discussion about the concept of evil and whether people are born inherently good as positive psychology attains or whether someone can be born evil- Examples were brought up such as the two children in England who murdered a younger toddler. I find the whole concept of inherently born evil quite disturbing (as I'm sure anyone does).

Next, we went on to discuss Maslow and his theory on Self-actualization. The following is a list of what a self-actualized person may possess. They do not require to have them all, just the general majority.

A. Priority of values like truth, love, and happiness

  1. Acceptance of self, of others, of nature--"not complaining about water because it is wet." Stoic style of calmly accepting even the worst.
  2. Identification with the human species--identification with all of humanity versus just their own family, friends, culture, or nation.
  3. Emphasis on higher level values--self-actualizing persons seem to spend less of their time concentrating on the lower values (safety, belongingness, etc. listed above) and more of their time being concerned primarily with higher values or metavalues.
  4. Perception of reality--greater perceptual accuracy of reality. Superior ability to reason and perceive the truth and understand people at a deeper level.
  5. Discrimination between means and ends, between good and evil--Clearer and more focused upon ends than most people; though they view their experiences and activities more as ends in themselves than most people.
  6. Resolution of dichotomies (conflicts). Resolved conflicts that plague most people, because of their highly developed, accepting philosophy of life.

B. Internally controlled

  1. Autonomy and resistance to enculturation.
  2. Detachment and desire for privacy--high enjoyment of privacy and solitude. Calm and at peace with themselves.
  3. Spontaneity, simplicity, naturalness--reflects integration of values and habits. Open, integrated values and habits.

C. High involvement, productivity, and happiness

  1. Problem-centering--easily forget self and easily absorbed in tasks they love and/or feel are extremely important.
  2. Creativeness--retain an almost childlike fresh, naive, and direct way of looking at life. May be partly a result of other factors such as problem-centering.
  3. Freshness of appreciation and richness of emotional reactions--ability to intensely focus on the present and highly involved in it. Very accepting of emotions.
  4. High frequency of peak experiences.

D. High quality interpersonal relationships

  1. (Intimate) Interpersonal relations--"deeper and more profound interpersonal relations than any other adults." However, these very close relationships are often limited to a very few people. They tend to be kind, patient, affectionate, friendly, and unpretentious; but can be direct and assertive when needed.
  2. Democratic character structure--a person's status is unimportant to them. They do respond to differences in values and character.
  3. Philosophical, unhostile sense of humor.

Now that we all clearly understood what a self-actualized person may possess, James asked us if we knew anyone who may suit such criteria. Presuming that 1/100 people are self-actualized most people should know someone who is. No one in the class spoke of knowing a person who may be considered self-actualized however. As for myself, I once knew someone who could possibly be self-actualized or if he isn't may someday will be (as age may possibly be a limiting factor; as we grew older we become better at accepting our selves- I'm only 21, but compared to when I was a teenager I no longer believe I'm even the same person due to the drastic amount I've changed).

As a class, we then compared and contrasted Maslow's characteristics of self-actualization with Carl Rogers' the fully functioning person. I believe if I remember correctly that the general consensus was that more people were comfortable with Rogers Theory. Perhaps this is because his model of the fully functioning person isn't as specific as Maslow's and is applicable to more people. I especially like how Rodger's theory examines development across the lifespan and how everyone aims to actualize themselves (nice and positive).

Next, we spoke on a sense of meaning as well as coherence. There was a book passed around class, written by Viktor Frankl who speaks on the topic of meaning (I haven't read the book myself, but as someone who loves reading, I'll see if I can pick it up from the library/UC during the holidays to have a look). On the topic of meaning however, I do believe it's important that everyone has meaning. Although this may be religion for some people, for others (as myself) I believe meaning can be generated by ourselves. In essence, I believe I have my very own religion; my religion consists of my own values and meanings. The only thing I would stress however, is that people don't overuse meaning (everything in moderation, like diet, is generally a good key). For example thinking about the meaning of life just generally gives someone a headache. But I think having meaning, especially in tough circumstances is a great tool to possess.

Moving on to Coherence, we were introduced to a man named Antonovsky and his sense of coherence (SOC).

SOC is “The extent to which one has a pervasive, enduring though dynamic, feeling of confidence that one’s environment is predictable and that things will work out as well as can reasonably be expected.” It has three components – comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness.

• A sense of comprehensibility:

  1. Do you feel that you can understand things, that things make sense and are not confusing?
  2. Do you feel that things are predictable or can be expected? In other words, do you feel like you know what’s going to happen next, or that you know what’s coming?

I scored close to average in regards to comprehensibility which sounds about right.

• A sense of manageability:

  1. Do you feel that things are manageable or within your control, that things can be handled or taken care of?
  2. Do you feel you have the skills or ability, the support, the help, or the resources necessary to take care of things?

I scored below average in regards to manageability. Although sometimes I feel stressed I always seem to manage everything in the end and generally complete all tasks I set my mind to (so I'm surprised I wasn't closer to average).

• A sense of meaningfulness:

  1. Do you feel that things are interesting or fascinating, a source of pleasure or satisfaction?
  2. Do you feel that things are really worth it, that there is good reason or purpose to care about what happens?

Again, I scored below average in regards to meaningfulness, and again I'm a little surprised at this result. At the time I completed this questionnaire I had a lot of things due and was very stressed. So I wouldn't be surprised if this was affecting my ability to feel pleasure/satisfaction (I'm the type of person who is quite vulnerable to stress; in fact on a couple of occasions I have become sick after stressful periods which I am almost certain were due to stress; I generally have a very good immune system).

To finish up, we were asked to do a practical exercise for homework. I decided to do mine on "The three good things in life".

  1. My bestfriend and partner- he has the amazing ability to make me feel happy whenever I am down. In a psychological sense, I would say he fulfils my need for relatedness.
  2. My casual job as a barista- although this one may sound silly I have a great passion for coffee and pouring latte art and love seeing the smile on people's faces when I know I've provided them with a great coffee (sometimes it's the smallest and most fleeting things in life that are the best). Again, within psychology, I would say this fulfils my need for competence.
  3. To pick a third is hard but I would say those moments of studying, that I discover something really interesting and so thought provoking I must jump onto the internet to research it further. I love learning new things so perhaps this is to do with the actualizing tendency Rogers speaks of.

Summary & Conclusion[edit]

Understanding and Applying Motivation

Explaining Motivation:

  • Answers to questions asking how and why people behave lie in understanding the source of motivation and how motives, once aroused, intensify, change and fade.
  • To explain why we do what we do, look towards theories of motivation.
  • To explain motivational states, it helps to have an empirically validated and familiar motivation theory at your side.

Predicting Motivation: Identifying Antecedents:

  • Motivation study pays close attention to the conditions that give rise to motivational and emotional states, asking questions such as 'which antecedent conditions energize and direct behaviour?'

Applying Motivation:

  • Solving motivational problems means empowering people toward more intentional action, optimal experience, positive functioning, and healthy development, and away from impulsive action, habitual experience, counterproductive functioning, and avoidance.
  • The 2 questions that define motivational principles are 'how do i motivate myself?' and 'how do i motivate others?' Motivationally empowering self and others involves amplifying strengths and repairing weaknesses. Amplifying strengths involves nurturing, supporting, and developing motivational resources so that people can use these resources to improve their functioning. Repairing weaknesses involves reversing motivational deficits that get in the way of, or outright hinder, positive functioning.

Motivating Self and Others

We want to promote effort, achievement, challenge seeking, and excellence in self, and we want to promote these same outcomes for those who are important to use. We also want to help self and others reverse and overcome pessimism, anxiety, doubt, worry, hesitancy, and helplessness.

Motivating Self

In terms of needs, energy and direction might arise from a perception of competence or a need for achievement but might fall from a perception of incompetence and the fear of failure. In terms of cognition, energy and direction might arise from self-efficacy beliefs, mastery goals, or an optimistic explanatory style but fall from doubt, a performance-avoidance goal, and a pessimistic explanatory style. In terms of emotions, energy and direction might arise from interest, joy, and hope but fall from fear, sadness and embarrassment. Cultivating inner motivational resources involves the developmental effort to build reflectance motivation, strong and resilient self-efficacy beliefs, a mastery motivation orientation, robust personal control beliefs, achievement strivings, a healthy sense of self and identity, sense of competence, an autonomy causality orientation, mature defence mechanisms, foal-setting capacities, self regulation abilities, interests and preferences, an optimistic explanatory style, and build and broaden one's capacity for positive affect. Developing inner motivational resources means growing optimistic, engagement-fostering and approach orientated needs, cognitions and emotions. The more one cultivates and develops strong, resilient, and productive inner motivational resources over the life span, the more frequently he or she will experience strong, resilient, and productive motivational states in a given situation.

Motivating Others

As one person attempts to motivate another, the person being motivated reacts in one of three prototypical ways- passively, aggressively, or constructively. With the third outcome, the person learns how to solve his or her own motivational problem, how to build his or her own skills, how to originate and initiate his or her own actions, but he or she does so with the help and guidance of another. In this way, he learns personal causation. Manifestations of passivity or aggressive reactivity are tell-tale signs the relationship is making the problem worse, not better.

  • Most attempts to motivate others take place within the context of a relationship that involves some interpersonal power differential between the motivator and the motivatee. Consequently, the person who is one down in the relationship is vulnerable to being controlled or bossed by the other. This generally produces motivation of aggression or passivity.
  • Those who productively motivate others focus relatively on the outcome to be attained, but relatively much on the quality of the relationship being offered.

It is helpful to ask 2 questions when motivating others.

  1. Who is motivating the person?
  2. Is the social context supporting the person's personal causation and inner motivation resources, or is it robbing this person of these vital assets?
  • Feedback on How the effort to motivate self and others is going
  • Ongoing changes in emotion, behaviour, and well-being make for excellent sources of feedback.

Designing Motivational Interventions

While it is crucial for a successful intervention to be well grounded within a theoretical framework, it is still true that designing effective motivational interventions typically takes the same amount and quality of time and effort as did the original theoretical development that preceded it.

Four case studies:

  • Develop hypothesis to explain why that person is experiencing that level/type of motivation.
  • Identify the key sources of the person's motivation.
  • Apply your knowledge of motivation to generate the energy and direction they need in every-day life to solve the motivational issue.
  • Make a plan of action as to how you will assess changes and improvements in the person's motivation, emotion, behaviour, and well-being.

Four success stories:

  1. Researchers asked college students over a semester to list several goals they planned to strive for. On their own, students completed 62% of the goals they set for themselves. They completed a significantly higher percentage of the gaols that were in high self-concordance (reflected their personal interests & values). They also reported strong positive affect and well-being upon accomplishing their self-concordant goals.
  2. At one school, students were attending infrequently and their academic achievement was poor. A team of researchers volunteered to spend several years to help out. Teachers received a worship and ongoing collaboration promoting students 'personal causation' (autonomy).

The effort to support students motivational development was a success, as shown by the children's greater personal causation, achievement motivation, attendance, and academic achievement. More of the students with participating students graduated high school. This story shows that motivation is often rooted in interpersonal relationships with others, and that researchers can translate their knowledge on hot to motivate others.

  1. Suppressing the urge to smoke. Nicotine receptors in the brain that release dopamine. Studying the brain found a way (nicotine patches) to ease the cravings. This is a success of understanding the motivated and emotional brain.
  2. Autonomy- Supportive Parenting. Parents in this story motivated their daughter by providing her with a relationship that supported and affirmed their daughter's capacity for self-determination and autonomous self-regulation.

Reeve lists 16 'pearls of wisdom' to understanding motivation & Emotion:

  1. Human nature can be discovered using scientific methods
  2. What we don't know about motivation and emotion exceeds what we do know
  3. The brain is as much about motivation and emotion as it is about cognition and thinking
  4. We routinely underestimate how powerful a motivation force biological urges can be when we are currently not experiencing them
  5. The quality of one's motivation matters as much as does its quantity
  6. To flourish, motivation needs supportive conditions, especially supportive relationships
  7. We share many of the same needs, while other needs are acquired through experience
  8. We do not do our best when we 'try to do our best; rather we do our best when we pursue a difficult, specific goal
  9. The cognitive pillars of motivated action are 'i can do it' and 'it will work'
  10. Boosting Self-esteem is a poor motivational strategy
  11. All emotions are good
  12. Emotions are biological, cognitive and social reactions to the important events in our life
  13. Happiness lies in our genes and in what we choose to strive for
  14. We are not always consciously aware of the motivation basis of our behaviour
  15. Encouraging growth is more productive than is trying to cure weakness
  16. There is nothing so practical as a good theory.

My own personal summary[edit]

What I learnt from this class:

I feel as though I learnt so much over the semester, it's hard to know where to start. I believe I learnt the most about motivation compared to emotion. Not only did there seem to be much more material in this area, my textbook chapter was also within motivation so I went through it quite a bit. At the start of the chapter we studied the motivated/emotional brain as well as physiological needs. This was probably the area I learnt the least in having already studied a lot of it (not only through biology classes but these areas have also come up quite a bit in other psychology classes). In regards to intrinsic & extrinsic motivators, like before, we've covered them in other classes, however in this case, I enjoyed examining them from a practical purpose as to how they could actually be applied (especially intrinsic motivation) through life. The week on Psychological/Social Needs I found quite interesting, in fact it was possibly one of my favourite parts. I had heard of all the needs before but I didn't understand much about them so I learnt a lot here. I also liked that I felt as though I could apply a lot of the knowledge learnt here to not only others, but myself as well. Next we studied control beliefs and the self- I think in this area, I enjoyed learning about goal setting the most because I've always liked to know how I can achieve more of my goals (in fact I think this unit has encouraged me to create more goals, I already have a few goals for the holidays). In the next half of the semester we moved on to emotions. I found the reading very interesting however I don't feel as though I have retained as much of the information (perhaps something to go over again for myself). I believe I also felt the theories and research in this area weren't as well ground as that of motivation. I think I would have also liked to have seen more on 'abnormal emotions' i.e. that of clinical depression. I'm also interested in why many people seem to vary in emotional intensity (neuroticism). I find neuroticism to be very negative towards emotion however I admire the way artists can capture such emotion to create beautiful art. I did however find the area on arousal and sensation seeking interesting. Next we studied unconscious motivation. I was surprised here because although I've read up on Freud and psychodynamics before I still learnt more. I hadn't actually heard of object relations theory before (although I've heard of others such as attachment). In the final piece of the unit we looked at growth & positive psychology. I've always enjoyed looking at positive psychology (partly the reason why I chose the topic of Flow for my textbook chapter), and again, I thoroughly enjoyed studying this area. I especially enjoyed the debate in class whether people can be born evil. In conclusion, this paragraph hardly sums how much I have actually learnt and how much studying this material has encouraged me more to become more of a motivated person.

What I enjoyed about this class:

I'm sure other people will agree with me when I say that although some of the learning curves for the assessment in this unit were tough, overall it was such a great way to study and learn. The textbook chapter was challenging due to all the extra learning of wikiversity required. However, I think it was a great tool, learning how to put our own material on the web and I believe that was very valuable to learn. The same for this E-portfolio, I think it was a great way to gather what we learnt and what our opinions were on what we learnt (which makes learning all the more enjoyable and more intrinsically rewarding). The video on our chapter overview I found a little intimidating and that it actually required more effort than what I imagined. However I also found this was a great tool to learn how to use, and screenr was nice and easy. In fact I think I will use it again in the future for just practising basic class speeches. I found James as a teacher very good, from the Flow perspective I thought he definitely fit the criteria of promoting intrinsic motivation and Flow very well. He allowed the students to develop their own autonomy in every assessment piece. Learning all the new tools involved with wikiversity also increased my competency (now I'm not so afraid of web-based publishing). I believe the textbook chapter in particular allowed everyone to feel as though they were contributing towards something individually (compared to essays where many people repeat the same topic), so once again, this is to do with autonomy and promoting intrinsic motivation. Overall, I found this one of the most challenging but rewarding classes I have done.

-- 20:30, 22 November 2010 (UTC)