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

Motivation & Emotion.png

About Me[edit]

My name is Rachelle and I am currently in my final semester of the undergraduate science degree Psychology at the University of Canberra. I initially grew up on the South Coast of Australia, and moved to Canberra to study. I am hoping to complete this year and along with becoming a mum, I also wish to pursue my career of becoming a clinical psychologist.

My current interests/hobbies include:

I am planning on using this wikiversity as part of an assignment for Motivation and Emotion in which I will be including an e-portfolio (see below) and an online textbook on alcohol consumption and sexual motivation.

Week 1[edit]


The first week of Motivation and Emotion contained an introductory insight into what we will be studying through the semester and a general overview of what motivation is. In my own mind I always thought that motivation consisted of a goal-seeking behaviour which one strive to reach or achieve over a set period of time. A further reading on motivation (Wikipedia) led me to believe that I was partially correct, however, neglected to think about energy and direction as an important component. The lecture also reflected its importance by defining that without energy, motivational behaviour is relatively weak, and lacking persistence. It also highlighted that when we also neglect to focus on the direction aspect of motivation it is often difficult to strive or aim toward a particular goal.

Two perennial questions which were examined in the lecture were what causes behaviour? and why does behaviour vary in intensity? I believe this is a common question which we will all ask ourselves at some point in life. James Neill put perspective on these questions by allowing us to look at the answer in terms of internal and external motivations.

Nipping the Nape.png

This leads to thinking about the nature vs nurture (Wikipedia) debate in terms of whether or not our behaviour is an inborn predisposition or is shaped by the environment in which we grow up in. These questions, among many others have led many psychologists into studying the origins of behaviour, how it is sustained, its direction and why it can suddenly stop. I have always been interested in why people act in certain behaviours that may vary greatly from someone else in the same situation. Specifically I have always had a keen interest in the difference among males and females and their behavioural patterns.

Looking at the table of contents page, I have decided to choose a topic based on being able to compare both genders and how their emotions compare before, during and after a sexual interaction. I will be breaking this plan down more narrowly through the weeks, but from what I have always heard and been told, males and females differ greatly in what they get out of a sexual experience and their emotions towards it. One theory I want to look at specifically is the idea that females are always more 'emotionally' involved in any sexual encounter then their male counterparts.

Week 2[edit]

How to use Wikiversity[edit]

For this week, I thought I would fiddle around with different techniques for editing in wikiversity. To start with, I placed a table of contents, with sub-headings as well as an about me section and my first reflection for week one. I added a motivation & emotion picture up the top of the page (compliments of Wikimedia commons) so people would know what this wiki was related too.

I found the lecture to be really helpful with basic editing techniques as I was a bit nervous about the assessment and beginning my wikiversity page.

I noted some basic wiki formatting which I will note on this reflection for future use:

Editing Tips
# Numbers: 1, 2, etc
~~~~ Automatically signs your logged-in name to a wiki page
[[ ]] Links to other wikiversity pages
== == Big Heading
* Round Bullet Point
[[w: ]] Link to wikipedia page
| Can rename a link with this line

Creating this table in itself was quite difficult, so I utilized the Help:Table page where I utilized the examples of tables, and created my own from this. I also decided to work out how to choose my own colours for the table, for this I found the Help:Colors very helpful.

Tutorial 1[edit]

Tutorial 1 was different to most other psychology tutorials. Personally, I find anything that isn't statistics can be a big waste of time. You go into the tutorial, have 1/2 hour of explaining what you are doing there, who you are, what year you're in and some type of fact about you, and then do completely irrelevant activities to what we should be learning. This was not the case in Motivation and Emotion, and I actually found this tutorial not only stimulating, but helpful. We did class activities (thumb sizes to be exact), and I found out that I was the girl with the biggest thumbs, now I had no idea this would have been the case. We then broke up into smaller groups and had a chat about what we defined motivation and emotion to be, as well as discuss our textbook chapter ideas and receive feedback for these. The people in my group were great, we all had keen interests in psychology and managed to facilitate conversation long enough for us to never have that awkward moment where we find ourselves staring around the room pondering many thoughts. One particular activity was to come up with a question, not just a topic that we were interested in learning about in this unit, specific to either motivation or emotion. For my textbook chapter I am going to be looking at emotion and sex. I found it really beneficial to think about different questions which I hope readers can answer by the time they finish reading through my online chapter. My question I managed to derive was: What is the difference between males and females and their emotions towards sexual activities (including before, during and after). Initially I had the question is there a difference between males and females but chose to simplify this to what is the difference in order to gain more then a yes/no question and expand into deep theory and research. My plan for the upcoming weeks is to start a draft for my textbook chapter outline incorporating:

  • which learning resource I will employ (e.g. review questions, case studies etc)
  • what possible headings I will come up with
  • how many words each of these sections will have
  • possible questions to start out my research
  • a suitable heading to define my overall topic of interest

I will begin doing this next week and reflect back on what ideas I have drafted as well as how well I think I am coming along, in my weekly e-portfolio.

Week 3[edit]

Brain & Physiological Needs[edit]

I have not been able to have time to write up my week three reflections until now. I have been focusing extensively on researching my chosen textbook chapter and have come to a stand-still with what to write. My chapter is on emotion and sex and I have found there to be little to no research on these two great topics. As I search through countless amounts of journal articles and even textbooks, it seems that there is a main focus on the relationship between motivation and sex, and almost nothing on emotion and sex. This creates a problem, as I have started to come up with some relevant research questions which I will have to re-think and collaborate new ideas for. I am pondering changing my textbook chapter before it is too late, but need advice as to whether or not this would be a wise decision. I am very much interested in alcohol use and sex, and would be interested in looking at that in terms of sexual motivation and whether or not it changes when alcohol has been introduced. I have looked through the textbook table of contents, and haven't seen if anyone has already chosen this specific topic, although there are a lot of people interested in motivation and sex (and there relevant sub-categories). I will keep it updated as to whether or not I will change to looking at alcohol, and will have a definite answer by the end of week four.

The two perennial questions for this week's lecture were:

  1. What causes behaviour?
  2. Why does behaviour vary in intensity?

Michael Morris, author of the journal article Causes of Behaviour (1986) suggested the causes of behaviour were part of one's beliefs and desires. To some extent before even reading the set text for this week, or attending the lecture, I perceived this to be an almost accurate description of how I would assess the causes of behaviour. We all have desires and beliefs which attribute to our daily activities in life, and so at the root of everything, these two concepts direct our behaviour. There is also the idea of different physiological states causing behaviour, but I feel this to be a very broad aspect. I found a good depiction of these physiological states to be effectively conceptualised in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, see Pyramid below.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.png

The lecture touched on Maslow conceptualising these needs, but a focus was mainly driven on the physiological component. In terms of physiological causes of behaviour, I believe that we act upon a certain desire or belief based on these needs. Maslow claims simple needs like breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion and sex (which is debatable) as a part of these physiological needs. If we have a desire to be sexually intimate with someone, usually we will try our best to fulfill that need or find other means in order to gain that same sexual release. On the other hand, if we were to think back to when the Nazi's took a lot of Jewish people as prisoners, and gave them near to no food or water, often the Nazi's would throw food scraps at the Jewish prisoners and watch them fight even kill each other for it. If we think about the simple question: why did they kill each other for the tiniest food scraps we can see that as conceptualised in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, hunger is a physiological state. In the case of the Nazi's, their innate desire to laugh and be entertained by humans fighting for food was the cause for their behaviour. This is a very dramatic, yet truthful case of how we need to fulfill these physiological states and will alter our behaviour in any given situation to be able to attain our greatest needs. I found the debate on whether or not sex is a physiological need to be quite interesting, and wanted to explain why I believe that it is a physiological need. Although we do not need to have sex in order to survive (men could probably debate this), we need to have sex in order to reproduce and continue making life. If no one was to have a desire to have sexual intercourse, not many of us would be in the position where we did it just to produce offspring. Another way of looking at this idea, is that in some cases, those who are deprived of sexual contact, may develop a sexual disorder or an unhealthy addiction to sex. This can be seen in cases of pedophilia, rape cases and sexual assault. For an interesting website on sexual disorders see sexual dysfunction.

This idea about the causes of behaviour ties into the second question of why behaviour can vary in intensity. I think it is highly dependent on how strong our desires or beliefs are as to why our behaviour varies in intensity. If we are in the middle of the desert and run out of water, and know that the closest water fountain is in the opposite direction of your planned trip, the need for water in order to quench our thirst as well as in order to survive will override any other goal-directed desire, and our behaviour to keep walking for as long as needed in order to reach the desire of obtaining water would be the most important focus. It is possible that there are other copious amounts of reasons as to why behaviour can vary in intensity, but I believe that it is primarily driven by the strength or weakness of our desires and beliefs.


Morris, M. (1986). Causes of behaviour. The Philosophical Quarterly, 143, 123-144.

Week 4[edit]

Psychological & Social Needs[edit]

This week had a focus on what psychological and social needs were.

Three Psychological Needs according to the Self Determination Theory

Reeve (2009) summarised that there were two core assumptions that underlie physiological needs and motivation (in an organismic approach). These were:

  1. People are inherently active
  2. In the person-environment dialectic (the relationship between person and environment is two-way as the person acts on the environment and the environment acts on the person),the person uses inherent psychological needs to engage in the environment and the environment sometimes supports but other times neglects and frustrates these inner resources

He furthered this by stating that acquired physiological needs include both:

  1. Quasi-needs (situationally induced wants and desires that arise out of needing to meet a high environmental demand) and
  2. Social needs (which arise from the individual's personal experiences and unique histories; cognitive, developmental and socialization)

This was easy to understand, and the way I interpreted it was that it is hard to acquire and 'feed' our psychological needs without having either social or quasi needs (or both). The most interesting thing I got out of this weeks lecture was putting into perspective my autonomous actions. Slide 11 supporting autonomy focused on two types of support: control and autonomy. Autonomy support is believed to be an interpersonal sentiment and behaviour to identify, nurture and develop another's inner motivational resources. It takes the other person's perspective into account and values personal growth opportunities (Reeve, 2009). Control on the other-hand is said to be an interpersonal sentiment and behaviour to pressure another toward compliance with a prescribed way of thinking, feeling and behaving. It pressures the other person toward a prescribed outcome and targets only the outcome, not the person involved (Reeve, 2009). The lecturer put forward the statement that when in a work situation, control can often be more valued then supporting autonomy. This increases the want to quit or stop working for that particular company, as it is a high de-motivator. I decided to reflect on this idea as I have had almost 5 part time jobs in the space of 2.5 years, and have only now found a job which I find to be an intuitive environment caring about how they treat their staff. My first job I got when I moved to Canberra saw me working in Woolworths Liquor department at Charnwood. I thought the induction, training process and ability to go further (i.e. to become a supervisor or manager) would fulfill my ideas and needs concerning growth and development. In a job I enjoy having challenges on a day-to-day basis as well as long-term. This becomes my main motivator and instead of doing the same thing day in and day out I would have set goals and personal achievements to gain. I never really got anywhere working in Woolworths, and it wasn't until someone was stabbed outside the Charnwood shops and killed (while I was on the night-shift) that I decided how important safety was. The liquor store had been held up many times, but Woolworths did not see any need for extra security measures to protect their staff members. I refuted against this after the murder and tried to explain how dangerous it was for a girl my age (at the time 18 almost 19) to be working in the liquor store on my own. They neglected to help me push for a security guard to be on (mainly on the busy nights) and disregarded my strenuous plea. I was told that it could not be afforded in the budget, and saw Woolworths as a place where they valued their money and not their staff members. I no longer felt safe in this place and left. Three months later I returned as a customer in the store to notice a security guard had been hired. When asking one of my old co-workers why they finally decided to hire a security guard, they told me because one of the supervisors was held at gun-point and bashed (almost to death). I was horrified, and could not believe it took one of our own getting severely injured before the company would realise the importance of human life over money. Another example (of which I wont disclose the name of the company) was when I was working in a fashion retail store in Civic. I loved that job from the moment I got it, working with customers to choose the perfect outfit, getting to make dozens of sales and of course trying on all the clothes and buying buying buying! I first realised this place was not all that great when I was told I was not allowed to wear anything but their clothes (which not being a super skinny size made it hard to do). I understood the importance of promoting their fashion, but I did not feel comfortable showing my bum anytime I would bend over or having my breasts fall out of my tops anytime I walked. I tried to avoid saying anything and tried to only wear the clothes which would protect me and made me gain confidence, not loose it. The second thing that happened was I was told by some of my fellow colleagues that when a certain group of young individuals who looked 'dodgy' came in (so they didn't have the latest fashion or spoke nicely) to follow them around and refuse service to them, as they were bound to be shop-lifters. I didn't agree with this, as I found myself automatically stereotyping young people who couldn't afford majority of the clothes we were selling. I refused to do this on many occasions and treated all persons equal, which led to me getting an infinite amount of written warnings and having the co-workers bitch about me because I was also probably scum. The day I decided to leave, however was when I found out the business really didn't care for it's staff members, only them bringing in money. I was getting an item of clothing down off the top shelf for a client and the entire railing fell on my head and knocked me fair out. By the time I regained consciousness I was unable to really talk and had a thumping headache and blood from my head. Instead of calling an ambulance or getting me to a doctor, they told me I should stay at work and they would give me 'extra' money for working. This to me was a pay-out. If I had of gone to the doctors (which I ended up doing after not being able to see) they would have questioned how the incident happened, and told me I was liable for workers compensation for the time I would need to take off work to recover. My greatest thought was that I think the company was afraid I would sue them. Having brought the issue up of the bar seeming unstable many times, it would often be left and forgotten about. Once again, this company cared for not loosing any profits instead of having the duty of care to protect and keep motivated their staff members. Due to the control over my actions in the workplace these companies had over me I lost all motivation to work for them, and hence ended up leaving. I am really looking forward to this textbook chapter as like work, I have felt like there is so much control in regard to university items and this way by giving us the opportunity to choose an interesting topic and develop our skills, instead of being delegated one is the best way to encourage students motivation at university.

Tutorial 2[edit]

Tutorial 2 mainly focused on small group discussions about where we were at with our textbook chapters and gaining feedback from our other group members about our plans. Having stated last week that I was keen to change after having lack of information regarding sex and emotion, I decided to definately change to sexual motivation and alcohol consumption. Many of my group members seemed to have a good concept of what it is they will be discussing in their chapters, but I was yet to have a definite guideline, due to changing right before the tutorial. We discussed as a group why I decided to change and possible focus questions I could utilize, I will however not put them up until I have properly decided on what it is I want to mainly focus on (as it is quite a broad topic). I have many journal articles I am yet to go over, but I am hoping they give me a general idea on what would be best to look at in my chapter and by next tutorial share it with the rest of my peers. Aside from an extensive review on where everyone is up-to on their chapters, we also discussed the past two weeks main concepts. We started by trying to label (as a group) the different parts of the brain and how they contribute to motivation/emotion. I struggled a lot with this exercise as I am not at all good with the neurological side of the brain. I did find it very interesting though to know what parts of the brain can be attributed to certain parts of motivation and emotion. I will place a table up later of the different brain structures and their associated motivational or emotional experience/s. I found this the most beneficial exercise as I am hoping to discuss in my textbook chapter how different parts of the brain can help create or exacerbate feelings of sexual motivation when one consumes alcohol. By briefly identifying what each of the brain structures do, I have noted two possible structures which can be related, these are:

  1. Hypothalamus- Pleasurable feelings associated with feeding, drinking and mating, and;
  2. Septal Area- Pleasure center associated with sociability and sexuality.

Of course I need to do some more extensive research on these two structures to make sure they do relate, while also not forgetting to include the other structures to make sure that I do not exclude any part of the brain central to my textbook chapter.

Motivational & emotional states associated with brain structure: Approach-Orientated
Brain Structure
Associated Motivational or Emotional Experience

Pleasureable feelings associated with feeding, drinking and mating

Medial Forebrain Bundle

Pleasure and reinforcement

Orbitofrontal Cortext

Learning the incentive value of events & making choices

Septal Area

Pleasure centre associated with sociability and sexuality

Nucleas Accumbens

Pleasure experience of reward, & hotspot for liking

Anterior Cingulate Cortext

Mood, volition, & making choices

Cerebral Cortext (Frontal Lobes)

Making plans, setting goals & formulating intentions

Left Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext

Approach motivational & emotional tendencies

Medial Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext

Learning response-outcome contingencies that underlie perceived control beliefs & mastery motivation

Motivational & emotional states associated with brain structure: Avoidance-Orientated
Brain Structure
Associated Motivational or Emotional Experience
Right Prefrontal Cerebral Cortext

Withdraw motivational & emotional tendencies


Detecting & responding to threat & danger (e.g. via fear, anger & anxiety)


Detecting & responding to threat & danger (e.g. via fear, anger & anxiety)


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

Week 5[edit]

I-E Motivation & Goal Setting[edit]

Before listening to this weeks lecture I noted extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to be two separate components, quite separate and different from one another. After listening to the lecture, I noticed that both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation have quite a consistent overlap with one another. Despite this, it was pointed out that due to this overlap between both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, it is often hard to determine what is underlying an individual's motivation. This was also said to be hard to evaluate as people may be employing both forms of motivation, yet have a desired preference for one over the other. An important question regarding both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was that of 'rewards'. Reeve (2009) defines rewards as: any offering from one person given to another person in exchange for his or her service or achievement. With this in mind, would it be safe to assume that rewards facilitate desirable behaviour? When looking at both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation separately, Reeve (2009) stipulates that it only facilitates behaviour in one of these motivations. He claims that an extrinsic reward enlivens positive emotion and facilitates behaviour because it signals the idea of personal gain. Even when the individual is not aware of an extrinsic reward being offered, the idea of an unexpected extrinsic reward is said to set off a release of dopamine (a pleasurable feeling) in association with gaining a reward. Reeve does not conceptualise intrinsic rewards as having the same effect as their counterparts. He conceptualizes that when a reward is offered for an already innate intrinsic motivation (such as brushing your teeth before bed), people will often become more distracted and no longer do that 'once' intrinsic motivation, unless there is a reward being offered. This in turn would lead to the intrinsic motivation becoming extrinsic. To further understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, we will look at these terms in a separate manner.

Intrinsic Motivation

Defined by Reeve (2009) as the inherent desire to engage one's interests and to exercise and develop one's capacities.

Latex example math referencing.png

In more simplistic terms, intrinsic motivation is undertaking a task or interest simply because you are interested and want to do it. This can be because you feel rewarded in yourself where the behaviour could be interesting, fun, enjoyable or satisfying.

A great example of this is an intrinsically motivated individual completing a numerical equation simply because they find it enjoyable. It could be that the equation is challenging for the individual and 'unlocking' the answer may provide a sense of pleasure. Whatever the reason for performing the task is, the intrinsically motivated person does not complete it in order to gain a reward (such as a great math grade or a prize) but purely because it is enjoyable.

Extrinsic Motivation

Defined by Reeve (2009) as an environmentally created reason (e.g. incentives or consequences) to engage in a particular action or activity.

Fail Barnstar.png

In simpler terms, extrinsic motivation is an activity one undertakes in order to receive something that gives them pleasure. This is usually in the form of a reward, which usually provides satisfaction and pleasure when the task undertaken to receive it may not grant this. An extrinsic motivator may mean that the task itself provides little or no interest, but is completed for the satisfaction of the reward. A great example of this (which we can all often relate too) is the idea of an extrinsically motivated student who may dislike an assignment, yet complete the task at hand on the hope of a pass or good mark. This itself, is enough to keep the student motivated to put in the effort until the task is complete.

Goal Setting The second half of this week's lecture focused on goal-setting & goal striving. Reeve (2009) defines goal setting as: whatever an individual is trying to accomplish. He furthers on by stipulating that goal-setting has a direct end-point and a target to aim for; usually being an external object. In plainer terms, goal setting is a process for people to specify and work towards their own individual targets. Latham & Budworth (2007) state that creating goals can affect an outcome in four ways:

  1. Choice- goals can narrow attention and direct activities to goal-relevant tasks, away from undesirable actions
  2. Effort- goals can lead to more of an effort being made, in relation to tasks without a clear goal
  3. Persistence- goals can provide a sense of 'wanting' and 'ability' to work through any potential problems or setbacks that one may encounter
  4. Cognition- goals can ultimately lead to an individual's ability to develop cognitive strategies and potentially change their behaviour

Reeve pushed on to further assess what is entailed in goal setting, and indicated the importance of feedback. For a basic overview on w:feedback click the Feedback link created above. Reeve indicated its importance in goal setting as having an important role to play as an emotional process. When feedback is left out from goal-setting, an individuals performance can be emotionally unimportant. Essentially, feedback documents the performer's progress towards the goal attainment and often acts as a main reinforcer (or punisher) for the goal. Feedback can be seen as a punisher when it is given to an individual in a deconstructive or inappropriate way, which often leads to decreased intrinsic motivation towards that goal. Hattie & Timperley (2007) also discuss the importance of feedback in goal-setting, but do strenuous that it is very powerful and can be extremely helpful or harmful based on the context and way in which it is provided.


Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Latham, G. P., & Budworth, M-H. (2007). The study of work motivation in the 20th century, in Koppes, L. L., Historical Perspectives in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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

Week 6[edit]

Control Beliefs & The Self[edit]

This weeks lecture essentially had two main components: Personal Control Beliefs and The self and it's strivings. We will look at these two independently of one another by starting with personal control beliefs.

A breakdown was made in the lecture of personal control beliefs containing four identifiable components:

  1. "motivation to exercise personal control"
  2. "self-efficacy"
  3. "personal control beliefs"
  4. "reactance theory"

Motivation to exercise personal control When thinking about this heading, my initial understanding of what this means is the idea that as individuals, we all strive to make a positive outcome more likely, and a negative one less likely. The lecture furthered this assumption onto the idea that we only exercise our personal control when we have the belief that we are readily able to influence the outcome and how easy this is for us. This idea then draws us to what it is that we hope to achieve (expect), which was defined in the lecture as: a subjective prediction of how likely it is that an event will occur. Expectancy is believed to have two main components: efficacy and outcome. Efficacy expectations relate to if the individual believes that he/she can do a task. A prime example for this is exercise, whereby we ask ourselves the question of "will I be able to partake in 30 minutes of exercise four times a week, for six months?". The strength of this is derived from the second expectancy component of outcome. Outcome expectations are the individuals thoughts of whether or not the event or task will work. Following on from the previous example, the outcome expectancy will be either: "do i feel healthier as a result of this exercise?" or "will I loose 5kgs as a result?". These outcomes are usually highly positive and try to deter from negative outcomes.

Self-Efficacy Bandura (1994) defines self efficacy as: people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. These beliefs are said to determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Reeve (2009) furthers this statement by suggesting that the opposite of self efficacy is self-doubt. Both Reeve (2009) and Bandura (1994) have argued that there are four main sources of self-efficacy.

  1. Vicarious experience (modeling)- Seeing people similar to oneself raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities required to succeed
  2. Personal behaviour history- If people experience only easy successes they come to expect quick results and are easily discouraged by failure
  3. Verbal persuasion (pep-talk)- People who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given activities, are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than if they harbor self-doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when problems arise
  4. Physiological activity- Individuals interpret their stress reactions and tension as signs of vulnerability to poor performance

Self-efficacy beliefs are said to have a high impact on empowerment: a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives (Page & Czuba, 1999). Reeve (2009) goes onto explain that empowerment involves processing the knowledge, skills and beliefs so one can gain control over their lives. Through empowerment, positive experiences can be achieved for many individuals.

Personal Control Beliefs When trying to achieve an outcome, the need for devising a plan to overcome any obstacles in the way is necessary. This is where coping strategies come into action; if and when they then arise, the individual will feel more comfortable about dealing with them successfully. Reeve (2009) claims that there are 7 effective coping strategies (highlighted in the table below):

Way of Coping Illustration
Approach versus Avoidance taking action and moving toward and interacting with the problem vs. Walking away from the problem
Social versus Solitary Taking action with a team of others versus working alone
Proactive versus Reactive Taking action to prevent a problem before vs. After it occurs
Direct versus Indirect Taking action oneself versus enlisting the help of an intermediary who takes the direct action
Control versus Escape Take charge approach vs. Staying clear of the situation
Alloplastic versus Autoplastic Taking action to change the problem vs. Taking action to change oneself
Problem focused versus Emotion Focused Taking action to manage the problem to causing the stress vs. Regulating one’s emotional response to the problem

Learned helplessness is the state that results when an individual expects that life’s outcomes are uncontrollable (Reeve, 2009). Following on from the lecture, learned helplessness contains three main components:

  1. Contingency- The objective between a person's behaviour and the environment's outcomes
  2. Cognition- Subjective personal control beliefs which incorporate: bias, attribution and expectancies
  3. Behaviour- Listless, demoralised or coping behaviour

Further, learned helplessness is also said to have three main deficits:

  1. Motivational- Decreased willingness to try or bother
  2. Learning- Acquired pessimistic set that interferes with one’s ability to learn new response-outcome contingencies
  3. Emotional- Energy depleting emotions (e.g. listlessness, depression, apathy)

The importance of learned helplessness has been studied by psychiatrists and psychologists since the 1960's, with a strong focus on personal control emphasizing it's strength (Peterson, Maier, & Segliman, 1995).

Reactance Theory Reactance theory, first proposed by Brehm (1968), is the consequences that occur when individuals perceive their freedoms to be threatened or lost. Reeve (2009) goes on to further explain this through our own psychological and behavioural attempt at reestablishing ("reacting against") an eliminated or threatened freedom. Forgarty (1997) believes that integral to this theory is the notion that the threat to free behaviors excites a motivational state, which aims at recapturing the affected freedoms and preventing the future loss of others.

The second half of the lecture focused on the self and its strivings and was broken down into 5 main parts:

  1. The Self
  2. Self-Concept
  3. Identity
  4. Agency
  5. Self-Concordance

The Self In a quest to define or understand the self, we wonder about who we are, how others see us, how similar and unique we are from others, and whether we can become the person we ideally want to be. In terms of placing 'the self' in society, we often contemplate how we want to relate to others, what place we wish to occupy in the social world and what roles are available to us. When trying to understand the complexity of this, we can investigate the following four topics:

  • Defining or creating the self
  • Relating the self to society
  • Discovering and developing personal potential
  • Managing or regulating the self

(Reeve, 2009)

Self Concept


A set of beliefs an individual uses to conceptualise his or herself. All experience we accumulate over a length of time create a story about who we are, or who we used to be. The idea of 'self-schemas' comes from self concept, whereby they are cognitive generalizations about the self that are domain specific and are learned from past experiences. There are 4 main benefits of self schemas (as taken from Reeve, 2009):

  • Process information about the self with relative ease
  • Confidently predict our own future behaviour in the domain
  • Quickly retrieve self-related behavioural evidence from the domain
  • Resist counter-schematic information about him/herself

The two main motivational properties of self-schemas are the possible self(Self-schemas generate motivation to move the present self toward a desired future self) and consistent self (Self-schemas direct behaviour to confirm the self-view and to prevent episodes that generate feedback that might dis-confirm that self-view). Cognitive dissonance pertains to the self by A state of tension that occurs whenever an individual simultaneously holds two cognition's (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent with one another. In order to reduce cognitive dissonance, strategies have been implemented which have been deemed as effective through:

  • Removing the dissonant belief
  • Reducing the importance of the dissonant belief
  • Adding a new consonant belief
  • Increasing the importance of the consonant belief

Identity Identity is defined by the means in which the self relates to society, by capturing a the essence of who the self is within a cultural context (Reeve, 2009). To fully investigate identity formation in a cultural context, we used the framework of Affect Control Theory (people that behave in ways that minimise affective deflection), which stipulates that there are two motivation and/or emotion behaviours involved in this process:

  • Identity confirming behaviour (fundamental sentiment confirming)
  • Identity restoring behaviours

Agency The idea of agency reflects the self as action and development from within, as innate processes and motivations. Reeve (2009) goes on to suggest that human beings posses a core self, one that is energised by innate motivation and directed by the inherent developmental processes of differentiation and integration. He furthers this by saying, although we may posses a core self, many a times our self-structures may not be reflective of this, instead they may reflect and reproduce the society. This idea ties in with the notion of self-concordance.

Self-Concordance Defined as people deciding to pursue goals that are congruent or concordant wit their core self, self concordance poses two likely questions that we should often ask:

  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 go awry and diminish it?

These questions have high importance, and if I reflect the self-concordance model on my current goals, I can answer the follow questions with ease.

  1. I know what to strive for in my life based on my past experience and childhood. Growing up with a Vietnam war veteran definatley had its impact on our family roots, and still, to this day, affects my father a great deal. The main passion of me becoming a psychologist is to be able to work with people who suffer from a major trauma (PTSD) and possibly even learn something about myself and my family in the process.
  2. I believe that the root of me studying and becoming what i want to be is going to help others in my fathers and my families situation, but I can also see how it can diminish my well-being. If i learn something which I may not agree with, or if I have a client who consistently bags out her father or her family for being like it is, this could easily hinder my role in helping them because I would become too personally attached to the situation. This is something I need to be consistently on the lookout for.

Tutorial 3[edit]

Tutorial 3 focused on Intrinsic-extrinsic motivation, personal control and self (life effectiveness).

Intrinsic-Extrinsic Motivation We were asked to complete a mini university student motivation questionnaire in order to understand our motivations behind why we attend university. In our tutorial, as a group we discussed possible reasons for attending university:

  • career advancement
  • alternative to work -> avoidance related motivation
  • expand our knowledge/skills
  • societal expectations/influences/pressure
  • social opportunities
  • altruism (some acquire the necessary skills to help society)

After completing the questionnaire, results were given which stated that third year research students found (in order) the following main causes of attending university and motivation:

  1. Career
  2. Learning
  3. Social opportunities
  4. Altruism
  5. Social Pressure
  6. Rejection of alternatives- avoidance motivation (often difficult to distinguish).

The questionnaire had two components.. The component of motivational reasons and what we are actually receiving at university (outcome). My scores can be noted in the graph displayed.

Chart for uni motivation.png

We were asked to calculate the total of both our 'motivational' and 'outcome' scores and tally them together and work out the difference between them. I calculated my scores and got a -1. This indicated that i am slightly dissatisfied with university as my outcome outweighs my motivational expectancies.

Personal Control (Learned Optimism) For this section of the tutorial we were once again asked to complete a questionnaire known as 'Seligman's ABCDE Test'. This was a really confusing test, not in terms of understanding the questions, but more so in terms of scoring up the results and always wanting to put a different answer to what was available. The test basically assessed 6 areas:

  • Permanent Bad/ Permanent good
  • Pervasiveness bad/ pervasiveness good
  • Personalization bad/ personalization good

It was really tricky to calculate my responses and so i wont go into much detail, but my overall score was B"Bad events"=14 where I am crying out for change as I am not nearly as optimistic as I could be.

Self (Life Effectiveness) In this part of the tutorial we discussed as a group what constitutes as a 'self-construct'. We came up with the ideas of self value, self worth, self confidence, self esteem, self belief, self efficacy and self identity. We did a final questionnaire and focused on how we perceive our life effectiveness. We did not do much with these results, except be able to identify how well we handle the demands of life.


Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).

Fogarty, J. S. (1997). Reactance theory and patient noncompliance. Social Science Medical, 45, 1277-1288.

Page, N., & Czuba, C. E. (1999). Empowerment: What is it. Journal of Extension, 37(5).

Peterson, C., Maier, S. F., & Segliman, M. E. P. (1995). Learned helplessness: A theory for the age of personal control. Oxford University Press.

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

Week 9[edit]

Nature of Emotion[edit]

Going from looking at motivation to now focusing on emotion, five new questions were raised in the first lecture about emotions, each of which I will look at and reflect on separately.

  • What is an emotion?

Wikipedia has a good definition and examples of what an emotion is, so instead of reiterating what it says, I will simply post the link for easier comprehension (see Emotion. Emotions can be broken down into four sub-categories (as derived from Reeve, 2009): Feelings- cognition's, subjective experiences Bodily arousal- physiological activations, preparation of the body for action, motor responses Social expressive- communication, facial and vocal expression Sense of purpose- goal directed, functional aspect

  • What causes an emotion?

Emotions are generated in the subconscious mind, whilst the physiological changes they cause, originate from the unconscious process which occur in the brain (Erupting Mind, 2010). Reeve stipulates that there are two perspectives on what can cause emotion, the biology and cognitive perspective. The biology perspective maintains that Biology lies at the casual core of emotion. Theorists who have taken on this perspective are: Izard, 1989, Ekman, 1992, and Panksepp, 1982 & 1994. This theory reiterates that emotions are a function of sensory and motor areas of the neocortex (Evolutions Voyage, 2005). The cognitive perspective stipulates that emotions are meaningful ‘takes’ on the world and our current position within it. That is, they provide a legitimate and rational account of a situation that may or may not be in accord with the conclusions derived from any cold logical examination of the facts (Dalgleish & Bramham, 1999). Theorists that have taken on this perspective can be seen in the work of Lazurus, 1984 & 1991, Scherer, 1994 & 1997 and Weiner, 1986. A good summary of how emotion is a chain of events that aggregate into a complex feedback system can be seen in the figure by Reeve (2009) below.

As adapted from Reeve, 2009
Manga emotions-EN.jpg
  • How many emotions are there?

Both the biological perspective and the cognitive perspective see that there are different amounts of emotions. The biology perspective claims that there are at least 8 primary emotions (e.g. fear, anger) which is in contrast to the 9 primary emotions (with a focus on the secondary or acquired emotions also). I believe that neither one is correct, and it is too complex to put an exact number on how many emotions there are in our world. I believe we should choose our own emotions and what we think of them, that way there is no right and wrong and we can think if emotions in terms of our society and culture.

  • What good are the emotions?

All in all, emotions are a good way of regulating behaviour. Reeve (2009) points out that there are two ways that this is done: through coping functions and social functions. Coping functions can be described in the following way:

Anger (emotion) ---------> Obstacle (stimulus situation)------------> Biting, hitting (emotional behaviour)-------------> Destruction (function of emotion)

This means that for every emotional situation we come across, through viewing it in the coping way, we can make sense of our behaviour and it's outcomes. Different to this, Reeve points out 4 social functions of emotion:

  1. Communicating our feelings to others
  2. Influence how others interact with us
  3. Invite and facilitate social interaction
  4. Create, maintain and dissolve relationships

Both of these functions serve as part of the feedback system to regulate behaviour. It is highly dependent on the situation as to which one is utilized.

  • What is the difference between emotion and mood?

A mood is a relatively long-lasting emotional state. Thayer (1989) stipulates that moods differ from emotions as they are less specific, less intense and less likely to be triggered by a stimulus or event. Moods generally have a positive or negative affect which can be seen as independent ways of living. Positive moods are often reward-driven, and pleasurable, differing to this, negative moods are often unpleasant, result in withdrawal behaviours and can be punishment driven.


Dalgleish, T. & Bramham, J. (1999). Cognitive Perspective. In David Levinson, James J. Ponzetti, Jr., & Peter F. Jorgensen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, pp. 118-121. New York: Macmillan.

Erupting Mind. (2010). What causes emotions and feelings?. Retrieved from [[1]] on 08/11/2010.

Evolutions Voyage. (2005). The biological and neurophysiological approach to emotion. Retrieved from [[2]] on 08/11/2010.

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

Thayer, Robert E. (1989). The biopsychology of mood and arousal. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Week 10[edit]

Aspects of Emotion[edit]

This lecture explored 'part two' of emotion. As mentioned in the previous lecture, there are three central aspects of emotion: biological, cognitive and social-cultural. I will be looking at each of these three factors to breakdown the aspects of emotion.


  • James-Lange Theory

This theory was initially proposed by William James and Carl Lange (James, 1884), which stated that in human beings, due to the response of experiences in the world, the autonomic nervous system creates physiological events such as muscular tension, a heart rate rise, perspiration and dryness of the mouth. Emotions, then, can be noted as the feelings which come about as a result of these changes, instead of being their cause (for a full review see the James-Lange Theory on Wikipedia). This can be shown in the sequence:

Event ==> Arousal ==> Interpretation ==> Emotion

An example of this sequence could be:

I see a shark ==> My muscles tense and I begin to have palpitations ==> I feel afraid

This theory proposed two hypotheses:

  1. That the body reacts uniquely to different emotion stimulating events
  2. That the body does not react to non-emotion-stimulating events
  • Contemporary Perspective

There are two primary contemporary perspectives on the James-Lange theory of emotion:

  1. That distinct physiological differences (e.g. temperature) are evident for some emotions (e.g. anger, sadness); but only few emotions have a distinct ANS pattern (the ones with survival value)
  2. Emotions can recruit biological and physiological support to enable adaptive behaviours such as fighting, fleeing and nurturing.
  • Differential Emotions Theory

This theory provides a structure for understanding the role of emotions in depressive symptomatology (Izard, 1972). According to this theory the 10 fundamental emotions (interest, enjoyment, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shyness and guilt) each have motivational characteristics. Carey, Carey & Kelley (1997) state that each emotion has its own neuromotor program and emotional expression is activated by neurochemical changes. This means that as an emotion is experienced, it may become associated with other emotions, whereby they may influence the expression of other emotions.

  • Facial Feedback Hypothesis
    Orbicularis oris.jpg

This hypothesis states that facial movement can influence emotional experience. Reeve (2009) points out that emotion stems from feelings aroused by:

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

The facial feedback hypothesis claims that the skeletal muscle feedback from facial expressions plays a role in regulating emotional experiences and behaviour (Buck, 1980). An example of this idea is that of a women attending a party where she does not wish to be (or is not enjoying) the women then smiles (however fake it may be) and as a result feels more content then she did previously.


  • Appraisal

An appraisal is an estimate of the personal significance of an event (Reeve, 2009). It is also the central construct in a cognitive understanding of emotion. Without an antecedent cognitive appraisal of the event, emotions do/will not occur.

Based on Reeve (2009)

This model is adapted from Arnold's theory, and is a great summary of how appraisal is connected to emotion. There are two types of appraisal:

  1. Primary Appraisal- involves an estimate of whether one has anything at stake in the encounter (is it important to my well-being?)
  2. Secondary Appraisal- involves the person's assessment of his or her capacity for coping with the possible benefit, harm or threat.

Complex appraisal theories are about 65-70% accurate when predicting people's emotion. The question was raised in the lecture about why it may not be 100%. We discussed that it could be due to other processes which may contribute (e.g. biological factors), over-lapping of emotions, developmental differences and one's knowledge of emotion and attributions (which we will soon look at).

  • Emotion Knowledge

Emotion knowledge can be defined as the ability to learn to distinguish finer shades of emotion as we develop through life. This knowledge is said to depict how many emotions we can individually distinguish. Reflecting on this idea, I perceive this to be true. When I was a young girl I knew only of anger, sadness, happiness and boredom. Now looking at emotion, I would use different words to distinguish how I feel about certain events or situations. These could be: shyness, contemplative, disgust, awe, aggressiveness and remorse. This means that emotion knowledge particularly underlies the rationale for teaching emotional intelligence (Reeve, 2009).

  • Attributions

An attribution is the reason the person uses to explain an important life outcome. This can be seen in the following sequence:

Primary attribution (good/bad) + Secondary attribution (cause) = Emotion


The social-cultural aspect of emotion proposes three main ideas:

  1. Appraisal contributes to a cognitive understanding of emotion
  2. Social interaction contributes to a social understanding of emotion
  3. The sociocultural context one lives in contributes to a cultural understanding of emotion

These three ideas tie in to one another, to make up this aspect of emotion.


Buck, R. (1980). Nonverbal behavior and the theory of emotion: The facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38(5), 811-824.

Carey, T. C., Carey, M. P., & Kelley, M. L. (1997). Differential emotions theory: Relative contribution of emotion, cognition, and behavior to the prediction of depressive symptomatology in non-referred adolescents. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53, 25-34.

Izard, C.E. (1972). Patterns of emotions: A new analysis of anxiety and depression. New York: Academic Press.

James, William. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9, 188-205.

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

Week 11[edit]

Personality & Emotion[edit]

This is a relatively short overview of this week as my main focus was on the textbook chapter. This lecture was broken down into three main points, happiness, performance and emotion and control. The lecturer went into each of these serperatley which I will also do to break down the link between personality, motivation and emotion. Before we go into the overview of these three concepts, the question was posed why do different people have different motivational and emotional states even in the same situation?. When I think about this, I would automatically assume that this is because we all have different beliefs about what is or may be an appropriate way to behave and respond based on our societys influence and our learning. Overall I think this comes down to our personality and individual differences. James Neill quoted some information based on the work of Deckers (2010), who stipulated that traits cause people to react differently to different situations, as well as either avoid or approach these situations. He also pointed out that they determine how people react to situations and ones choice to alter the situation at hand. The lecture then went on to link the big 5 personality traits as to why people act differently in the same situation. The big 5 are broad categories of personality traits. There is an enormous amount of literature supporting these traits, however, not all researchers agree on the exact labels for each dimension. These factors are usually as follows (as adapted from McCrae & Costa, 1997):

  • Openness- features characteristics such as imagination and insight; as those high in this trait usually have a broad range of interests
  • Conscientiousness- features of this dimension include high leels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviours. People who rate high in this are usually mindful of detail and well organised
  • Extraversion- this trait features high amounts of emotional expressiveness, such as excitability, talkativeness, and sociability
  • Agreeableness- this includes personality traits such as trust, alturism, kindness and affection
  • Neuroticism- it is said that those who experience high levels of this trait tend to experience emotional instability, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, and sadness.

This shows the complexities of personality traits and how these dimensions best represent its broad areas.


Happiness is closely related to extraversion in the sense that extraverts have a greater capacity than introverts to experience positive emotions (See Extraversion and Introversion on Wikipedia).


They also have an eagerness to approach potentially rewarding situations, with greater sociability, social dominance and higher levels of venturesomeness (Reeve, 2009). Tied to this is the idea of neuroticism. Neuroticism is an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional sates. In terms of how it is linked to happiness, neurotics tend to hsve a greater capacity then amotionally stable individuals to experience negative emotions, with a strong eagerness to avoid potentially punishing situations (Reeve, 2009).

Performance & Emotion There is a concept of insufficient stimulation and underarousal which ties in with performance and emotion. This can be noted as sensory deprivation, whereby an individuals sensory and emotional experience can be seen in a rigidly unchanging environment. As dicsussed in the lecture, human beings can harbour motives for counteracting insufficient stimulation and underarousal. Contrary to this is the idea of excessive stimulation and overarousal. Reeve (2009) points out that there are three impacts that overstimulating, stressful environments may entail, these are:

  1. Emotional disruption- such as anxiety, irritability and anger
  2. Cognitive disruption- such as confusion, forgetfulness and impaired concentration
  3. Physiological disruption- such as being sympathetic, and hyperactive

As they also do with insufficient stimulation and underarousal, humans harbour motives for counteracting excessive stimulation and overarousal. Sensation seeking is also tied in with performance and emotion. It determines how a person reacts to a situation or event and the situations and activities an individual may choose. Zuckerman (1983) defines this as the seeking of varied, novel and complex sensations and experiences, as well as the willingness to take physical, social, legal and financial risks for the sake of these experiences. In the sense of a personality characteristic, it is related to arousal and reactivity. Zuckerman was highly interested in this and subjects who; hated deprivation, couldnt tolerate low levels of stimulation and wanted new experiences. These sensation seekers need a high level of stimulation to maintain their mood as when their stimulation falls, so does their mood. Zuckerman then went on to formulate a scale known as the sensation seeking scale (for a deviation of this scale commonly used to determine levels of sensation seeking, please follow the weblink to the RTA website: [[3]])

Control There are two main components of control, these are: percieved control and desire for control. Percieved control is the differences in people's performance expectancies of possesing the needed capacity to produce positive outcomes (Reeve, 2009). This is contrary to the desire for control which is the extent to which individuals are motivated to establish control over the events in their lives. In order to percieve the idea that one has control over any given situation, the self must be capable of obtaining the available desired outcome and the situation needs to be predictive and responsive.


McCrae, R.R., & Costa, P.T. (1997) Personality trait structure as a human universal. American Psychologist, 52, 509-516.

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

Zuckerman, M., 1983. Biological bases of sensation seeking, impulsivity and anxiety. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Week 12[edit]

Unconscious Motivation[edit]

So the same scenario as per last week. I am not sure how much information I will provide for this weeks reflections, as the textbook chapter/multimedia is taking it all out of me. To start with, I thought it would be important to understand what 'unconscious motivation' refers to. In doing some research, I came across a good definition from [[4]] which states that unconscious motivation plays a high role in Sigmund Freud's theories of human behaviour. According to him and his followers, most behaviour is the result of desires, impulses, and memories that have been repressed into an unconscious state, but can still influence ones actions. Further this, Reeve (2009) claims that it is the pleasure seeking drive/s which we are largely unaware of, which urge us towards immediate gratification of innate physiological and psychological needs. The follow factors will be describes as playing a part in unconscious motivation.

Psychodynamic Perspective Firstly, it is important to distinguish between psychoanalytic and psychodynamic. Psychoanalytic response is a traditional Freudian approach to unconscious motivation, including the dual-instinct theory. The dual instinct theory claims that we have two instincts, EROS (an instinct for life; sex, alliance and nurturance) and THANATOS (an instinct for death; aggression towards self and others). The psychodynamic response is a more general study of unconscious psychological processes (prejudice, defense mechanisms), without necessarily subscribing to Freudian tradition. An important component of this perspective is the idea of 'drive theory', which eventually evolved into a 'wish model'. This changed due to contemporary psychoanalysts proposing that psychological wishes, not our instinctual drives, regulate and direct behaviour. This theory can help people recognise, improve upon, or avoid problematic interpersonal relationships (Reeve, 2009).

The Unconscious There are three contemporary views on the unconscious. This was summarised by Reeve (2009) in the picture below.

Unconscious Motivation.png

As mentioned previous, Freud theorized that most behaviour is the result of desires, impulses, and memories that have been repressed into an unconscious state, but can still influence ones actions. The adaptive unconscious, however, is a set of mental processes that influence the judgement and decision making of a person in a way that is inaccessible to introspective awareness (Wilson & Dunn, 2004). On another scale, the implicit motivation theory is that of our non-conscious motives originally advanced by McClelland, Atkinson, Clark & Lowell (1953). This theory asserts that the essential nature of human motivation can be understood in terms of three implicit (non-conscious) motives: achievement, affiliation and power (social influence).

Psychodynamics Psychodynamics contains two main processes: Repression and suppression. Repression is the process of forgetting information and an experience by ways that are unconscious, unintentional and automatic. This is the ego's counterforce to the id's demanding desires. Suppression, on the otherhand, is the process of removing a thought from attention by ways that are conscious, intentional and deliberate. In the lecture, the question was posed does the Id and Ego actually exist?. Reeve (2009) stipulates fair reasoning for the exsistence of both. Firstly, the limbic system (hypothalamus, thalamus, amygdala etc) are all attributes, as is the pleasure-unpleasure brain center. Secondly, the neocortex makes for a pretty fair ego, as it involves learning, memory, decision-making and intellectual problem solving. This is the executive control centre that percieves the world and learns to adapt to it. Finally, Reeve postulates that intricately interrelated neural pathways and structures of the neocortex are related. These relationships show how one structure can affect the other.

Ego Psychology Ego psychology is rooted in the work of Sigmund Freud who composed the id-ego-superego model/theory of the mind. This specific psychology is where the individual interacts with the external world as well as responding to internal forces. This is done through a theoretical construct called 'the ego' and uses its many ego functions to explain how this is done. Components of ego psychology focus on the ego's normal and pathological development, its management and impulses, and its adaptation to reality (see ego psychology). Based on the work of Reeve (2009), ego development has two main motivational sources of importance:

  1. The ego develops to defend against anxiety
  2. The ego develops to empower the person to interact more conscious violition (will) effectively and more proactively with its surroundings

According to this theory, an individual’s libidinal and aggressive impulses are continuously in conflict with his or her own conscience as well as with the limits imposed by reality. In certain circumstances, these conflicts may lead to neurotic symptoms; therefore making the goal of psychoanalytic treatment is to establish a balance between bodily needs, psychological wants, one’s own conscience, and social constraints. The clinical technique most commonly associated with ego psychology is defense analysis. Through clarifying, confronting, and interpreting the typical defense mechanisms a patient uses, ego psychologists hope to help the patient gain control (Gray, 2005).

Object Relations Theory

Object relations is a psychodynamic approach to understanding human behavior, development, relationships, psychopathology and psychotherapy (Klee, 2007). Reeve (2009) claims that the quality of any one's mental reporesentation of relationships can be characterized by three dimensions:

  1. Unconscious tone (benevolent/malevolent)
  2. Capacity for emotional involvement (selfishness/narcissism/mutual concern)
  3. Mutuality of autonomy with others

According to Klee (2007), object relations theory is a modern adaptation of psychoanalytic theory that places less emphasis on the drives of aggression and sexuality as motivational forces and more emphasis on human relationships as the primary motivational force in life. Object relations theorists believe that we are relationship seeking rather than pleasure seeking as Freud suggested. The importance of relationships in the theory translates to relationships as the main focus of psychotherapy, especially the relationship with the therapist.


Gray, P. (2005). The ego and analysis of defense. (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson.

Klee, T. (2007). Object relations theory and therapy. Retrieved from [[5]] on 21/11/2010.

McClelland, D. C., Atkinson, J. W., Clark, R. A., & Lowell, E. L. (Eds.). (1953). The achievement motive. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

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

Wilson, T. D., & Dunn, E. W. (2004). Self-Knowledge: Its Limits, Value, and Potential for Improvemen. Annual Review of Psychology 55, 493–518.

Week 13[edit]

Growth & Positive Psychology[edit]

This weeks lecture seemed to be realitively short, but I will provide the notes I had taken from the lecture (although seemingly bare).

Holism & Positive Psychology Holism stresses 'top-down' master motives such as the self and its strivings toward fulfilment. It also focuses on discovering human potential and encouraging its development (Reeve, 2009). Positive psychology, however, devotes attention to the proactive building of personal strengths and competencies. It seeks to make people stronger and more productive and to actualize the human potential in all of us. It is a relatively new branch of psychology that seeks to understand positive emotions (joy, optimism, contentment), as it is interested in the conditions that allow individuals, groups and companies to flourish (Seligman, 2002). Self-actualization was also drawn upon in this lecture, however, I will not go into further study of it as it is already been reviewed in my e-portfolio alongside Maslow's Heirarchy of human needs.

Actualising Tendency Actualizing tendency refers to an innate growth drive or impulse that is said to exist within all human beings. Proponents of the concept make the optimistic assumption that people have an inherent tendency to become more elaborated, integrated, and internally coordinated over time – that is, to grow and develop as personalities (Sheldon, 2009). It is said that often, not everyone grows throughout the lifespan, however the potential to 'grow' stays about. This makes the challenges for therapists to help people 'unlock' these hidden capacities (Sheldon, 2009). Reeve (2009) reiterates Carl Rogers (1951) in saying that the organism has one basic tendency and striving- to actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing self.

Causality Orientations It was specified in the lecture that there are two causality orientations; autonomy and control. Autonomy causality orientation relies on internal guides (needs, interests), and pays close attention to one's own needs and feelings. It also related intrinsic motivation and identified regulation togehter and correlates with positive functioning (Reeve, 2009). Control causality orientation, however, relies on external guides and pays closer attnetion to behavioural incentives and social expectancies. It relates to extrinsic regulation and introjected regulation (Reeve, 2009).

The Problem of Evil I found this the most interesting part of the lecture. Reeve (2009) emphasises two main 'forms of discussion':

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

Before I go into my ideas about these questions, the humanistic theorists' views believe that evil is not inherent in human nature, as it only arises when experience injures and damages the person. It also percieves both benevolence and malevolence to be inherited in everyone.

Personally, I believe that evil is not born into us. As a child we are relatively 'dumb' to the evil that goes on in the world. Say someone pushes you over and steals your textas, would you classify that as an 'evil' act? Perhaps, but when you are 3 years old, it seems quite common. Saying that, does evil start out once we know what is right and wrong? I believe, like the humanists, that evil does arise through experience and damage. If you saw someone on the TV blow up half of the country (and your relatives) would you percieve that as an evil act? Or would you just believe that it is human nature? When we see violence and bad things happen to us, or those around us, that is when we become possessed with evil. Evil could be in the form of revenge, hate or violence. It is self-determinated and not restricted to one set of belief. However, it would be interesting to see how a Christian percieves this question... As far as people inflicting suffering on others, I believe this is also attributed to experience. It is a common scenario, for instance, in the school life for a bully to have been previously bullied. They know it hurts the person, but maybe they percieve this to be the right way to counteract their feelings they had as they were bullied (feeling helpless etc). The same thing could be examined when looking at rapists. Perhaps they were raped or sexually assaulted and never properly dealt with it? Perhaps they believed this to be the 'common way' of life? It is hard to know without self-reflecting on ourselves and our personal beliefs.


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

Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfilment. Free Press

Sheldon, K. M. (2009). Actualising tendency. The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology'. DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x

Week 14[edit]

Summary & Conclusion[edit]

Instead of reiterating all I have learnt in a few short paragraphs, I decided to focus on the questions asked in the lecture about this subject.

  • What has been the single most valuable theoretical insight you gained in this course?

By undertaking this course, I have become very much aware of my ability to self-reflect and put forth my interests into something worthwhile. I have often felt that in a lot of courses, the structure is so specifically set out and never deviates from the line. The one thing I know I definatley gained by completing this unit was the ability to have faith in research that I was interested in, and integrate it into work that others may use for future reference. In terms of the theoretical insight that I have gained, I have gained the knoweledge of motivation and emotion as well as how to utilize a quite tricky, modern internet website (wikiversity).

  • What has been the single most valuable practical benefit you gained in this course?

The one practical benefit I have gained from this course is knowing I can achieve what I want to, regardless of the limitations or adversities I have had put on me. By being pregnant throughout this semester and ending this unit on my 37th week, I am not lying when I say it has been tough. When I looked at the unit outline, I initially thought to myself, although excited about undertaking such an interesting lot of assesment pieces, there is NO WAY i will be able to complete everything on time, or at least to the best of my ability. I proved to myself that once I found a topic I was interested in and looked into it, I was able to create a masterpiece. It may not be 100% great, but my greatest achievement was not pulling away, and tackling it head on.

  • What worked for you?

The e-portfolio was beneficial for me, as it made me go to my lectures and tutorials and actually delve further into concepts (through wider reading) and reflecting on what I had learnt in that week. Although for the final three tutorial and lecture sessions I did not attend due to being so heavily pregnant and tired, I was able to continue reflecting by listening online and doing as much research as I needed to in my own time and space. Having a unit convenor who allowed this lenience was highly beneficial.

  • What didn't work so well for you?

The multimedia recording didnt work too well for me. No matter how much I tried to sound okay or not stuff up I always did. This saw me trying to say the same thing and fit everything in counteless amounts of times, until, in the end I realised I am just a human and will not be able to get it 100% perfect. The other glitch I had with this is getting a headset/microphone, as no one I knew had one and I couldnt afford to even buy one. In the end I asked the gaming guru next door for a loan of his, which, in the end didnt turn out so bad as I now actually have a chat to him when I see him instead of the awkward eye contact that was once there.

  • How could this unit be improved?

The only improvement I could suggest for this unit is a detailed description of how to use wikiversity. The main problem I had was learning all the keys and different ways of editing my textbook chapter and e-portfolio. I felt this took up a lot of time and effort (in comparison to regular assignments).