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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.

E-Portfolio for 'Motivation and Emotion


Week One[edit]

Generally, week one has me feeling optimistic about the next fourteen weeks of almost complete social isolation while I bury myself into the text book, assignments, tutorials and lectures. Luckily for me, I am only doing one unit as I work fulltime, so I don't have to worry about my focus being split between this and three other classes. Let's hope that makes it easier to motivate myself...

Lecture One: Introduction[edit]

As the first lecture mainly consisted of house keeping, my notes are mainly my thoughts and responses to some of the information covered.
As I read the unit outline a few weeks ago, I instantly decided that taking this class was a huge mistake (but read on - I have changed my mind!). When I read the assignment list and saw 'Textbook Chapter' as the main assignment, I felt very bewildered as to why someone would set such an impossible task! During the lecture, however, my fears began to be reassured, as I realised that the motives behind setting this as the assignment wasn't to be cruel, but to provide a free online source and also one that is more Australian-oriented. Having thought about it a little more, I feel that this will actually be enjoyable, and a nice change from essays and lab reports. I am also excited about being able to write on a topic I choose (within the guidelines, of course) as I can take into consideration areas that I would like to focus on in the future and in my career, and have the opportunity to research that. For example, I have a deep interest in the elderly and ageing. So having chosen Dementia as my topic, I can research something I find very interesting and feel will actually be useful to me in the long term.
It is also good to hear that the other assignment will be structured as an ongoing e-portfolio and graded for consistently posting as well as for the content - what a good way to make me get on here each week, actually keep up with the readings, and not end up feeling completely overwhelmed when I inevitably get behind!

I was also relieved to hear that emotion will come into this more (half motivation, half emotion), as I bought the textbooks a few months ago online, after reading that both Emotion, Kalat and Understanding Motivation and Emotion, Reeve were listed in the bookshop as being the texts for this unit. Kalat's textbook arrived in the mail first, and thus was the first one I started reading. While I switched to Reeve once it arrived, I was still upset to see that I didn't need to read Kalat - I will just tell myself it will be helpful in "expanding my understanding"!

I think essentially, this unit comes down to asking the (seemingly) simple question, "Why do people do what they do?" This question has been echoed in the lecture, the textbook, and no doubt will arise again in the tutorials. Considering that understanding why people act the way they do was one of the first reasons I decided to study psychology, I find this very interesting.

Some more of the questions raised by motivation study include:

  • What starts a behaviour?
  • How is behaviour sustained over time?
  • Why does that behaviour emerge rather than another behaviour which may achieve the same or better end results?
  • Why does behaviour change?
  • Why does behaviour stop?

Motivation study reveals the contest of human motivation - the inner battle between our needs, cognitions, emotions, and external events. At any time, we can be thinking of doing a number of things, but we can really only choose to do one at a time. What causes us to choose one motive over another? Emotional aspects, such as whether it is pleasurable or frustrating can be a factor, as our past experiences teach us which behaviours or activities are enjoyable and which ones to avoid. Our physiological needs, such as intense hunger, or physical pain can also have a very strong driving force that will grab our attention and make us feel we "need" to fix the problem. But sometimes our cognitions can override our physical needs, such as someone who doesn't eat, for example, because they might be participating in the 40 Hour Famine. Many of the recent participants quoted their "motivation" as being helping others, winning prizes, and showing themselves that they can do it. This allowed them to overcome the physiological need for food by cognitively reminding themselves of their reason for not eating.

I found the story about The Dice Man very interesting. From reading the synopsis it sounds like a slightly disturbing book, but I think I would still read it as the concept sounds incredibly bizarre, and I think it would be an eye-opening read. I cannot imagine how time consuming it would be to write down all of the things you want to do before rolling a dice to decide which one to do. And I wonder if this would mean that he never did anything he didn't actually want to do - for example, would he have written on his list "wash the dishes" if he had no desire to do them at all? How would you actually get the tendious but necessary day-to-day tasks done?

I also found it interesting that our "pre-existing conditions" could explain why each of us may re-act to the same situation in a completely different way. Because of our culture, our experiences and the way we have been brought up in our homes, we each have a pre-existing condition that doesn't necessarily cause the behaviour, but sows a seed for how we are likely to react in a given situation.

Chapter One: Introduction[edit]

What is motivation? What is emotion?

My honest answer to these questions at this stage in the course would have to be complete and total bewilderment. In the textbook 'Emotion' by Kalat and Shiota, they quote St. Augustine: "What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know."
They also quote William James, speaking about consciousness, "Its meaning we know so long as no one asks us to define it."
This, much more clearly than I could explain it, describes exactly how I feel when given the task of defining emotion or motivation. My answers are about as sophisticated as, "emotions are feelings... about stuff" and "motivation makes us... do stuff". Very intelligent. Hopefully I can expand on this during the next 14 weeks or so (or hopefully sooner!)

Why would we want to learn about emotion? The textbook gives us two main reasons:
First, learning about motivation is an interesting thing to do... Anything that tells us about who we are, why we want what we want, and how we can improve our lives is going to be interesting. And anything that tells us about what other people want, why they want what they want, and how we can improve their lives is also going to be interesting.
Second, few topics are more useful to our lives. Motivation is important for its own sake, but it is further important because of its capacity to foreshadow those life outcomes that we care deeply about, including the quality of our performances and our well-being. So learning about motivation can be an extremely practical and worthwhile undertaking. It can be quite useful to know where motivation comes from, why it sometimes changes and why other times it does not, under what conditions motivation increases or decreases, what aspects of motivation can and cannot be changed, and which of these types of motivation produce engagement and well-being and which types do not.

I find it very interesting that in this description of what our main reasons may be for studying motivation, one of them is for self-improvement, but one of the other main ones is for improving others. What are our reasons for wanting to improve others? I often wonder this about the people who get into a field like this... What is our real reason for it? Do we genuinely care about others so much that we want to help them, or are they just so annoying that we feel driven to try and make them normal again? This might seem cynical, but I do find it interesting to think about what compels people to take up the life's work that they choose.

To help myself learn the various types of motivation, I am going to use Table 1.1 from the textbook, but change it to be in the context of studying. (Feel free to correct me if I have misplaced ideas about any of these, it is a working model).

Intrinsic motivation - Fun, enjoyment - Students study out of the sheer fun of learning about motivation.
Flow - Personal challenge - Students get "in the zone" when their study challenges their intelligence.
External regulation - Forced to do so - Parents (or another authority figure) forces the student to study (whether this be week to week or to attend university at all).
Extrinsic regulation - Paid to do so - Students study for to earn Centrelink benefits, parental financial support, or for the future income it will provide. (Question - can extrinsic regulation be through future payment? Or is it only the here and now?)
Goal - Accomplish a goal - Students see if they can achieve a High Distinction for their unit.
Value - Employment benefits - Students study to increase their ability to get a good job.
Possible self - Inspired to do so - Students see other students performing well, or achieving a career in Psychology and are inspired to do the same.
Achievement strivings - A standard of excellence - Students study hard to beat their previous grades.
Perceived competence - Satisfaction from a job well done - As students learn more, they feel more competent.
Opponent process - An emotional kick - Students get a "high" from completing a task or receiving a good grade.
Positive affect - Good mood - a good study environment and interesting subject can invigorate a student's study as they become engrossed in what they are learning.
Introjection - Alleviate guilt - students study because they think that is what they should, ought to, or have to do to feel good about themselves.
Personal control - Relieve stress, silence depression - When other areas of life are difficult, students may throw themselves into their studies as a way of feeling in control and to take away from some of the stress.
Relatedness - Hang out with friends - Students may use studying as a social event by forming study groups or attending university functions.

Why would anyone want to exercise? Can you offer any constructive suggestions to increase people's motivation to exercise? If someone hated exercise, would you intervene in such a way that he or she would truly want to exercise?
If there is a way to do this then I must find out what it is!
In answering a question such s 'why exercise?' a person can rely on personal experience and conjectures to generate an answer. This is a fine starting point, but the study of motivation and emotion is a behavioural science. The term science signals that answers to motivational questions require objective, data-based, empirical evidence gained from well-conducted and peer-reviewed research findings. Hypothesizing about what causes people to be motivated towards a goal, or not motivated doesn't actually achieve anything. It is through research and the testing of these hypotheses that we can provide something stable and useful for people to use in improving their lives.

Two Perennial Questions
1. What causes behaviour?

  • We see people behave, but we cannot see the underlying cause or causes that generated their behaviour. We watch people show great effort and persistence (or none at all), but the reasons why they seek things out and show great effort and persistence while doing so remain unobserved. Wouldn't it be interesting if our every motivation was visible to others? (I played the Sims as a child, so I am picturing something similar to that, where during conversations with others you could see their reactions to everything you said and did). It could make some things easier, for example, if you are angry, people might know from the angry face appearing above your head that they are best to steer clear. It might make some things awkward. Very awkward.
  • Why does behaviour start?
  • Once begun, why is behaviour sustained over time?
  • Why is behaviour directed toward some goals yet away from others?
  • Why does behaviour change its direction?
  • Why does behaviour stop?
  • When children read books - why begin? Why continue reading past the first page? Past the first chapter? Why pick that particular book rather than one of the other books sitting on the shelf? Why stop reading? Will their reading continue in the years to come? As someone with two very young siblings (3 and 2 years old) these questions continue in my head: why do they want to "read" books, even though they can't actually read? Why do they insist on having the same book read to them over and over and over in the space of one or two hours? Why do they pick a certain book at a certain time, and yet at another time cry when you suggest reading that one?
  • Why did you begin to read the textbook? Because I will probably fail otherwise! Will you continue reading to the end of the book? Judging from my track record, no, but I am hoping that I will this time! If you do stop before the end, at what point will you stop? Possibly at about the 10th chapter...? Why will you stop? It would probably be because of trying to get the major assignment done. After reading what will you do next? In the short term, possibly watch TV or "relax", in the long term, the assignment.
  • When I look at these questions and my answers to them, I wonder how much insight I really have into myself. Are my answers correct? Are they only correct on some level? Or are they just the "accepted" answers and so I use them because they are what I think I am meant to say? Is there some deeper level to this where I am actually completely unaware of the motivations that lead me to do certain things?

2. Why does behaviour vary in its intensity?

  • One day a student shows strong enthusiasm, strives for excellence, and shows determined goal-directed striving; yet the next day, the same student is listless, does only the minimal amount of work, and avoids being challenged academically. Why the same person shows strong and persistent motivation at one time and yet weak and unenthusiastic motivation at another time needs to be explained. I think all students would wholeheartedly agree with this statement and request that we are also provided with a solution for how to remain in the "strong and persistent" mode for at least the duration of each semester.
  • People so clearly differ in what motivates them. Some motivates are relatively strong for one person yet relatively weak for another. Yet another reason why we need clear and defined theories of motivation - how else can we even attempt to motivate others? We might know what works on ourselves, but if we are dealing with others at all, even just in day to day interactions, and want to motivate them, we cannot simply expect to have them be motivated to the same level by the things that are strong motivators for us.

To explain why people do what they do, we need a theory of motivation. The point of motivation theory is to explain what gives behaviour its energy and its direction. It is some motive that energises the athlete, and it is some motive that directs the student’s behaviour toward one particular goal rather than another. The study of motivation concerns those processes that give behaviour its energy and direction. Energy implies that behaviour has strength - that it is relatively strong, intense, and persistent. Direction implies that behaviour has a purpose - that it is aimed or guided towards achieving some particular goal or outcome.

Internal Motives
A motive is an internal process that energises and directs behaviour. It is therefore a general term to identify the common ground shared by needs, cognitions, and emotions. The difference between a motive versus a need, cognition, or emotion is simply the level of analysis. Needs, cognitions, and emotions are just three specific types of motives.
Needs are conditions within the individual area that are essential and necessary for the maintenance of life and for the nurturance of growth and well-being.
Cognitions refer to mental events, such as thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and the self-concept. Cognitive sources of motivation revolve around the person’s ways of thinking.
Emotions are short-lived subjective-physiological-functional-expressive phenomena that orchestrate how we react adaptively to the important events in our lives. That is, emotions organise four interrelated aspects of experience:

  • feelings - subjective, verbal descriptions of emotional experience.
  • physiological preparedness - how our body physically mobilises itself to meet. situational demands.
  • function - what specifically we want to accomplish at that moment.
  • expression - how we communicate our emotional experience publicly to others.

External Events
External events are environmental, social, and cultural sources of motivation that have the capacity to energise and direct behaviour. Environmental sources of motivation exist as specific stimuli (money) or events (being praised).

Motivation is a private, unobservable, and seemingly mysterious experience. You cannot see another person’s motivation. Instead, we can observe what is public and observable and monitor this information to infer such motivations.

Two ways exist to infer motivation in another person. The first way is to observe motivation’s behavioural manifestations.
The second way to infer motivation is to pay close attention to the antecedents known to give rise to motivational states.
When we know the antecedents to a person’s motivation, we can predict people’s motivational states in advance, and we can do so rather confidently. But these antecedents are not always knowable. More often than not, motivation must be inferred from its expressions via the person’s behaviour, engagement, physiology, and self-report.

Engagement refers to the behavioural intensity, emotional quality, and personal investment in another person’s involvement during an activity.
Behavioural engagement represents the extent to which the person displays on-task attention, effort, and enduring persistence.
Emotional engagement expresses the extent to which the person’s activity is characterised by positive emotion, such as interest and enjoyment, rather than by negative emotion, such as sadness or anger. Cognitive engagement expresses the extent to which the person actively monitors how well things are going and uses sophisticated learning and problem solving strategies.

Themes in the Study of Motivation
1. Motivation benefits adaptation.

  • Motivation and emotions provide tremendous resources that allow people to adapt to environmental changes.
  • People with high-quality motivation adapt well and thrive; people with motivational deficits flounder.

2.Motives direct attention and prepare action.

  • Environments constantly demand our attention and they do so in a multitude of ways.
  • Motives affect behaviour and prepare us for action by directing attention to select some behaviours and courses of action over others.
  • Motives, therefore, influence behaviour by capturing attention, interrupting what we are doing, distracting us from doing other things, and imposing a priority onto our thinking, feeling, and behaving.

3.Motives vary over time and influence the ongoing stream of behaviour.

  • Motivation is a dynamic process - always changing, always rising and falling - rather than a discrete event or static condition. It is helpful to think of motivation as a constantly flowing river of needs, cognitions, or emotions.
  • Motive strengths changer over time.
  • People forever harbour a multitude of motives of various intensities, any one of which might grab attention and participate in the stream of behaviour given the appropriate circumstances.
  • Motives are not something a person either does or does not have, but instead, these motivate rise and fall as circumstances change.

4. Types of motivation exist.

  • In many people’s minds, motivation is a unitary concept. Its key feature is its amount, or its intensity level.
  • In contrast, several motivation theorists suggest that important types of motivations exist. For instance, intrinsic motivation is different from extrinsic motivation.
  • So a complete motivational analysis of behaviour answers both questions - ‘How much motivation?’ and ‘What type of motivation?’

5. Motivation includes both appraisal and avoidance tendencies.

  • Generally speaking, people presuppose that to be motivated is better than to be unmotivated.
  • In actuality, several motivational systems are aversive in nature - pain, hunger, distress, fear, dissonance, anxiety, pressure, helplessness, and so on.
  • To adapt optimally, human beings have (and need) a motivational repertoire that features just as many aversive, avoidance-based motives as positive, approach-based motives. Hence, a full understanding of the rich fabric of human motivation includes an appreciation for both approach and avoidance tendencies.

6. Motivation study reveals what people want.
*The study of motivation reveals why people want what they want. It also reveals what people want - literally, the contents of human nature.

  • Theories of motivation reveal what is common within the strivings of all human-beings by identifying the commonalities among people from different cultures, different life experiences, different ages, different historical periods, different genetic endowments.
  • We are all hedonists (approach pleasure, avoid pain), but we seem to want enjoyment, well-being, and personal growth even more.
  • The study of motivation therefore informs us what part of want and desire stems from human nature but also what part of want and desire stems from personal, social, and cultural learning. It reveals what part of motivation is universal and what part is enculturated.

7.To flourish, motivation needs supportive conditions.

  • When people adapt successfully and their motivational states flourish, people express positive emotions such as joy, hope, interest, and optimism. But when people are overwhelmed but their environment and their motivational states flounder, people express negative emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, frustration, and stress.

8. There is nothing so practical as a good theory.

  • A theory is a set of variables and the relationships that are assumed to exist among those variables.
  • Theories provide a conceptual framework for interpreting behavioural observations, and they function as intellectual bridges to link motivational questions and problems to satisfying answers and solutions.

Chapter Two: Motivation in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives[edit]

  • 100 years ago, university courses teaching motivation did not even exist.
  • The roots of motivation study came from the ancient Greeks - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
  • Plato proposed that motivation came from a tripartite (three part), hierarchically arranged soul. Plato believed that these three aspects motivated and explained different realms of behaviour.
  1. In this hierarchy, the most primitive level was the appetitive aspect, which contributed to bodily appetites and desires.
  2. The next level up the hierarchy was the competitive aspect, which contributed socially references standards, such as feeling honoured or shamed.
  3. At the highest level in the hierarchy, the calculating aspect contributed decision making capabilities, such as reason and choosing.
  • Aristotle agreed with the concept of a hierarchically organised, three part soul, but he preferred different terminology to Plato. Rather than appetitive, competitive, and rational, Aristotle referred to the three parts as nutritive, sensitive, and rational.
  • The nutritive aspect was the most impulsive, irrational, and animal-like. It contributed bodily urges necessary for the maintenance of life.
  • The sensitive aspect was also bodily related, but it regulated pleasure and pain.
  • The soul’s rational component was unique to humans as it was idea-related, intellectual, and featured the will. The will operated as the soul’s highest level as it utilised intention and choice.
  • Hundreds of years later, the Greek’s tripartite psyche was reduced to a dualism - the passions of the body and the reason of the mind.
  • Rene Descartes added to the mind-body dualism by distinguishing between the passive and active aspects of motivation. The body was physical and possessed needs, responding to the environment in mechanistic ways through its sense, reflexes, and physiology. The mind was a spiritual, thinking entity that possessed a purposive will. The mind could control the body and govern its desires. This distinction was tremendously important, as it set the agenda for motivation study for the next 300 years.
  • Can you imagine what our world would be like if this concept of the will being able to control the body had never arisen? We see parts of it already - most of us on a daily basis will choose in a small way to allow our will to give in to small things that our body wants even if we know that they aren’t necessarily good for us - eating a block of chocolate instead of fruit as a snack, not studying because we would rather watch a movie or facestalk people. What if I didn't want to go to work today or decided I can't be bothered finishing my degree? Or I don't want to pay for my lunch, so I just walk out of the safe without paying. Or I don't want to wait for the cars to stop driving before I cross the road, so I just walk anyway? Or I don't want to pay my rent, so I don't pay it and refuse to move out. Normally, I would end up being kicked out and probably sued, but if everyone acted like this, there would be no one to enforce the laws and we would probably end up killing each other and dying out pretty quickly.
  • Descartes saw the ultimate motivational force as being the will. He reasoned that if he could understand the will then he would understand the motivation.
  • Descartes believed the will initiated and directed action; it chose whether to act and what to do when acting. Bodily needs, passions, pleasures and pains created impulses to action, but these impulses only excited the will. The will was a power of the mind that controlled the bodily appetites and passions in the interests of virtue and salvation by exercising its power of choice. This was the first grand theory.
  • Grand Theories are all-encompassing theories that seek to explain the full range of motivated action. Grand theories identify a single, comprehensive cause that fully explains the phenomenon.
  • Early motivation study embraced three grand theories of motivation - will, instinct, and drive.
  • Will - after two centuries of philosophical analysis, the results of what the will was were disappointing. It turned out to be an ill-understood and mysterious part of the mind and the problem of understanding motivation by understanding the will behind it grew with philosophers unable to discover the will or the laws it operated by.
  • Psychologists looked elsewhere for a less mysterious motivational principle - within physiology - at the instinct.
  • Instinct - Darwin’s saw that much of animal behaviour seemed to be unlearned, automated, and mechanistic. Even without previous experience, birds would build nests, dogs would chase rabbits, and rabbits would run from dogs. To explain this apparently pre-wired adaptive behaviour, Darwin proposed the instinct.
  • The first psychologist to popularise an instinct theory of motivation was William James (1890). James borrowed heavily from Darwin and his contemporaries to give human beings a large number of physical and mental instincts. All that was needed to translate an instinct into a goal-directed (i.e., motivated) behaviour was the presence of an appropriate stimulus.
  • William McDougall proposed an instinct theory that added to James’ by featuring instincts to explore, to fight, to mother offspring and so on. The main difference between James’ theory and McDougall’s was that McDougall made the rather extreme assertion that without instincts human beings would initiate no action. In other words, all of human motivation owes its origin to a collection of genetically endowed instincts.
  • McDougall regarded instincts as irrational and impulsive motivational forces that oriented the person toward one particular goal.
  • The next task became identifying how many instincts human beings possess.
  • I’m sure we can all picture them - the psychologists in their lab coats with their horn-rimmed glasses and wispy hair, blackboards everywhere, secretaires frantically taking notes as the scientists excitedly think of more and more “instincts”. Maybe they started to get a bit too competitive. The need to explain human behaviour finally felt like it had an answer in the instinct - and they were thinking of thousands of them! I wonder if they started to slow down around the 5,000 mark. Or if they childishly taunted, “I already said that one!” when someone eagerly suggested something which had already been thought of on day two of the brainstorming… “I’m feeling the instinct to tell you that you are stupid!” “Yea? Well I am feeling the instinct to punch you in your face!” Ahh, I can just see it now…
  • Drive - drive became the replacement for instinct. It was introduced by Woodworth in 1918 and explained as arising from a functional biology that understood that the function of behaviour was to service bodily needs. As biological imbalances occurred, such as a lack of food, animals psychologically experienced these deficits as “drive.” Drive motivated whatever behaviour was instrumental to servicing the body’s needs. The two most widely embraced theories came from Sigmund Freud (1918) and Clark Hull (1943).
  • Freud’s drive theory had four components - source, impetus, aim, and object. The source of drive was rooted in the body’s physiology - in bodily deficit.
  • Once bodily deficit reached a threshold level of urgency, it became psychological drive. Drive had motivational properties because drive had an impetus (a force) that sought satisfaction. To achieve satisfaction, the individual experiences anxiety on a psychological level and this anxiety motivated the behavioural search for an object capable of removing the bodily deficit.
  • Despite its creativity, Freud’s drive theory suffered criticism:
  1. a relative overestimation of the contribution of biological forces to motivation (and hence, a relative underestimation of factors related to learning and experience)
  2. an over reliance on data taken from case studies of disturbed individuals
  3. ideas that were not scientifically (i.e., experimentally( testable).
  • Clark Hull’s drive theory, however, did not come under these same criticisms.
  • Hull considered drive to be a pooled energy source composed of all current body deficits/disturbances. All the current needs for food, water, sex, sleep, etc. summed together to constitute a total bodily need. Hull saw motivation as having a purely physiological basis and bodily need as being the ultimate source of motivation.
  • Unlike any previous motivation theory, Hull’s drive theory considered that motivation could be predicted before it occurred. With instinct and will theories, it was impossible to predict in advance when and whether or not a person would be motivated. But with Hull’s drive theory, it was possible to see that if an animal was deprived of a need, then drive would inevitably increase in proportion to the duration of that deprivation. This marked the beginning of a scientific study of motivation.
  • Hull saw drive as energising behaviour but not as directing it. He also believed that reinforcement was produced when drive decreasing behaviours were engaged, and that this developed habits.
  • Both the Freudian and Hullian versions of drive theory rested on three fundamental assumptions:
  1. drive emerged from bodily needs
  2. drive energised behaviour, and
  3. drive reduction was reinforcing and produced learning.
  • Empirical testing during the 1950’s revealed both support for and limitations of these three assumptions.
  • Firstly, there are some motives which do not have a corresponding biological need. As an example, people with anorexia do not eat (and do not want to) despite a strong biological need to do so.
  • Secondly, research found that external sources of motivation could energise behaviour. For example, a person who is not necessarily thirsty can feel a rather strong motive to drink when tasting, smelling or seeing a favourite beverage.
  • Third, learning often occurred without any corresponding experience of drive reduction. Hungry rats still learn even when reinforced only by a non-nutritive saccharin reward.
  • Mini-Theories - unlike grand theories which try to explain the full range of motivation, mini-theories limit their attention to specific motivational phenomenon. A mini-theory explains some but not all of motivated behaviour.
  • The beliefs behind motivation started to change. Psychologists began to emphasise that people were always doing something - people were inherently active, always motivated.
  • The cognitive revolution spilled into motivation with motivation researchers beginning to emphasise the importance of internal mental processes. Some of the mentalistic motivational constructs to emerge included plans, goals, expectations, beliefs, attributions, and the self-concept.
  • There were two more main effects that the cognitive revolution had on thinking about motivation. First, intellectual discussions about motivation emphasised cognitive constructs and deemphasised biological and environmental constructs. Second, the cognitive revolution complemented the emerging movement of humanism.
  • Humanistic psychologists critiqued the prevailing motivation theories of the 1960s as being dehuman. Humanists resist the machine metaphor that depicts motivation as something pre-determined, caused by biological factors, developmental fates (such as a traumatic childhood experience) or controls in the environment of society.
  • With ideas from Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, psychology based their new understanding of human beings as being inherently active, cognitively flexible, and growth motivated.
  • As part of the mini-theories era, researchers turned their attention to questions that were relevant to solving the motivational problems people faced in day to day life - at work, in studying, in coping with stress, etc.
  • Researchers studies animals less and humans more, and in doing so, discovered a wealth of naturally occurring instances of motivation outside of the laboratory setting.
  • Continuous progress: this is where participants make slow, incremental, and cumulative progress and new data add to and supplant old data and new ideas add to and supplant old ideas.
  • Discontinuous progress: this is where radical ideas appear and rival (rather than add to) old ideas. If the radical ideas gain acceptance, researchers ways of thinking drastically change, as old models are torn down to make room for new models to take their place.
  • Motivation study participated in the rise and fall of three major ways of thinking: will, instinct, and drive. Each of these motivational concepts gained wide acceptance, but as new data emerged, each concept proved to be too limiting for further progress. Eventually, each was replaced by the next new-and-improved radical idea. Motivation study is currently in the midst of its mini-theories era.
  • The transition from drive theory to the current mini-theories era has produced consequences that are both good and bad.
  • On the bad side, motivation was dethroned as perhaps psychology’s most important discipline to a sort of second-class field of study. The dethronement of motivation was so severe that, to some degree, the field collapsed for a decade and a half.
  • Motivation study did not, however, disappear. The questions that define motivation endured. *Instead of disappearing, motivation specialists dispersed themselves into virtually all areas of psychology. Furthermore, motivation theories specific to particular domains of application emerged: theories to explain the motivation underlying dieting and bingeing, work, sports, education, and so on. By 1980, motivation psychologists were in literally every area of psychology.
  • With a new millennium, motivation study once again has its critical mass of interested and prominent participants.

Week Two[edit]

Week two has me starting to get my head around the structure of the unit - never having used Wikiversity before, I am finding it to be challenging, but also a really interesting way of doing things. I like the interaction that it provides, and being able to see everyone else and what they are doing. I am having to re-teach myself html to a small degree, since I haven't used it since Year 10 Computing Studies, and I think we mostly just played online games and chatted (lack of motivation to do the work when given the opporunity to have social interaction?).

I have also had more of a chance to think about my topic for the textbook chapter, Dementia and what kinds of things to include in the text and multimedia aspects of this. I have found one interesting test online - Mindcheck Test which is designed to test for Dementia (while of course stating that it is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health conditions!) Another interesting fact about this test is that it is created by the Mind Wellness Program, which is an Australian program. How great to see Australians developing resources like this!

Lecture Two: How to use Wikiversity[edit]

  • Discussion of the assessment tasks - the main one being the Textbook Chapter (worth 50%).
  • The purpose of this is for students to show that they can integrate theories and current research toward exlaining the role of motivation and emotions in human behvaiour.
  • We are also contributing to society by creating an open source, free psychology textbook on motivation and emotion. As someone who has forked out probably thousands of dollars in the past few years on textbooks, I have to say, I find this to be a very attractive idea!
  • The writing should be aimed at our peers, so it should be something we can understand at the level we are at in our studies.
  • Signing up for our topics - I have already done this
  • Need to start doing my draft plan!
  • The chapter timeline for where we should be up to at different stages while doing our textbook chapter assignment - This looks very useful. I will have to print out a copy to keep myself on track.
  • Pictures: if they are already up on Wiki Commons then we can use them. We can also search on Google images according to the licencing status. - This is very useful as I was concerned about the legality of what I put on here. I had a few pictures in mind, but didn't know if I was allowed to use them, so now I can start looking at making this look a bit more interesting!
  • The multimedia task - there is a wikiversity page which goes into more depth about this part of the assignment.

Tutorial One - Introduction

We were asked to group ourselves with other people according to what we were feeling at that time. I realised I had no idea how I felt because I had been too busy all day to think about it! I ended up in a group of five who described ourselves as fatigued. Originally we said tired but decided that it was debatable whether tired was an emotion, so we ended up deciding on fatigued. (Although to be honest, I think they are so similar that is one is an emotion then the other would be too??)

Individual Definitions
On my own this was about the best I could come up with without the aid of the textbook:

  • Motivation: drives and desires that move us toward or away from an action or behvaiour
  • Emotion: feelings that cause our moods of outlook

Group Definitions
In our group of four we managed to come up with the "most succinct" (i.e. the shortest) definitions in the room:

  • Motivation: driving force behind any behaviour
  • Emotion: state of mind which is determined by thoughts and feelings

We then were asked to list the areas of motivation that interest us, but to phrase our interests as a question that we would like answered. Mine were:

  • How can we change the priority of our motives?
  • To what extent can we control our emotions? Are they built in and unchangable, taught from a young age and intrenched, or re-teachable and changeable.
  • How does motivation and emotion change as we age? Are there difference between, for example, how motivated an 80-year-old is versus a 20-year-old? If so, are these differences due to aging or simply due to being born into a different age cohort and being raised differently?

We discussed the assignments, and suggested that questions (similar to the ones phrased above) might be a good way to start out our textbook chapter.

We also discussed how we might structure our textbook chapters and which learning features of activities we might use to make it easier to read and more enjoyable.

Possible Structure

  • Opening questions
  • History of the topic
  • Definition of the topic
  • Content
  • Summary
  • Overview (200-300 words)
  • References

Possible Learning Features:

  • Stop & Review questions
  • Definition of terms
  • Case study - illustrative example
  • Interesting facts
  • Link to YouTube video
  • Internal links

Homework - for next Tutorial!

  • Draft plan of textbook chapter, including a title
  • Bring in what you have of your e-portfolio

Week Three[edit]

Lecture Three: Brain and Physiological Needs[edit]

The Motivated and Emotional Brain

  • There are at least three basic ways we can think about the brain - the thinking brain (which is how people generally think about the brain), the motivated brain, and the emotional brain (both of which are largely underplayed).
  • Thinking brain - cognitive and intellectual functions - "What task it is doing"
  • Motivated brain - "Whether you want to do it"
  • Emotional brain - "What your mood is while doing it"

There are three principles that Reeve suggests for thinking about the brain. They are:

  1. Specific brain structures generate specific motivational states.
  2. Biochemical agents stimulate those brain structures.
  3. Day-to-day events stir biochemical agents into action.

It is very difficult to create the psychological experience of hunger without the physiological experience. You cannot cognitively make yourself hungry; the physiological need translates into a psychological drive.

A "window into the brain"
There are two basic ways to look inside the brain:

  • surgeon's view - physically cutting the brain open to look inside
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), or other imaging techniques.

Motivational and emotional states associated with brain structure - Approach oriented:

  • hypothalamus: pleasurable feelings associated with feeding, drinking, mating
  • medial forebrain bundle: pleasure, reinforcement
  • orbitofrontal cortex: learning the incentive value of events, making choices
  • septal area: pleasure centre associated with sociability, sexuality
  • nucleus accumbens: pleasure experience of reward, hotspot for liking
  • anterior cingulate cortex: mood, volition, making choices
  • cerebral cortex (frontal lobes): making plans, setting goals, formulating intentions
  • left prefrontal cerebral cortex: approach motivational motivational and emotional tendencies
  • medial prefrontal cerebral cortex: learning response-outcome contingencies that underlie perceived control beliefs and mastery motivation.

Motivational and emotional states associated with brain structure - Avoidance oriented:

  • right prefrontal cerebral cortex: withdraw motivation and emotional tendencies
  • amygdala: detecting and responding to threat and danger (e.g., via fear, anger, and anxiety)
  • hippocampus: detecting and responding to threat and danger (e.g., via fear, anger, and anxiety)
  • Dopamine is not just about receiving the reward - dopamine is also released in the anticipation of the reward.

Hormones in the body:

  • Cortisol - stress hormone
  • Testosterone - associated with high sexual motivation
  • Oxytocin - motivates seeking the counsel, support, and nurturance of others during times of stress - also the hormone released after a woman gives birth (helps with bonding)

Motivation cannot be separated from the social context in which it is embedded
environmental events act as the natural stimulators of the brain's basic motivational process
We are not always consciously aware of the motivational basis of our behaviour
a person is not consciously aware of why he or she committed the social or antisocial act

  • A need is any condition within an organism that is essential for life, growth, and well-being.

But how do we define growth and well-being? These are very subjective terms.

Types of needs:

  • Physiological needs: thirst, hunger, sex
  • Psychological needs: autonomy, competence, relatedness
  • Social needs: achievement, affiliation, intimacy, power

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg

The most basic are the physiological needs - breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion.

  • Thirst: thirst is the consciously experienced motivational state that readies the person to perform behaviours necessary to replenish a water deficit.
  • Hunger: hunger and eating involve a complex regulatory system of both short-term (glucostatic hypothesis) and long-term (lipostatic hypothesis, including set-point theory) regulation.
  • Sex: sexual motivation rises and falls in response to a host of factors, including hormones, external stimulation, external cues (facial metrics), cognitive scripts, sexual schemas, and evolutionary process.

Thirst Processes

  • Physiological regulation
  • Thirst activation
  • Thirst satiety
  • Hypothalamus and liver
  • Environmental influences

Hunger Processes

  • Physiological regulation
  • Short-term appetite
  • Long-term energy balance
  • Comprehensive model of hunger
  • Regulation
  • Environmental influences
  • Restraint-release situations
  • Cognitively-regulated eating style
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Set-point or setting points?

Environmental Influences You will generally eat more calories if there is a variety of food or you are eating in a group. Environmental influences that affect eating behaviour include:

  • the time of day
  • stress
  • the sight of food
  • the smell of food
  • the appearance of food
  • the taste of food
  • Other than surgery, there are ways people can prevent or reverse weight gain and obesity:
  1. decreasing eating through self-regulatory strategies (e.g., goals, monitoring ones behaviour)
  2. increasing physical activity to expend calories and fat stores
  3. becoming aware of and monitoring the environmental influences that affect eating
  4. getting more sleep - as a culture we tend to be sleep deprived. In our sleep deprived state, we eat to try to replenish our energy, but sleeping could be a more effective way of replenishing ourselves.

Sex Processes:

  • Physiological regulation
  • Facial metrics
  • Sexual scripts
  • Sexual orientation
  • Evolutionary basis of sexual motivation
  • The male sex cycle seems to be more based on physiological arousal whereas the female sex cycle seems more based on intimacy.

Failures to self-regulate physiological needs: People fail at self-regulation for three primary reasons:

  1. People routinely underestimate how powerful a motivational force biological influences can be when they are not currently experiencing them.
  2. People can lack standards, or they have inconsistent, conflicting, unrealistic, or inappropriate standards.
  3. People fail to monitor what they are doing as they become distracted, preoccupied, overwhelmed, or intoxicated.

Chapter Three: The Motivated and Emotional Brain[edit]

  • The more you diet, the hungrier you get. This is probably because of ghrelin - a hormone manufactured in the stomach, circulated in the blood and detected and monitored by the brain.
  • After an extended amount of time with little or no food, for example when you are on a diet, ghrelin is released and the brain receives the message “nutrients are low, send supplies” and this stimulates the hypothalamus to create the psychological experience of hunger.
  • So, what have I learnt so far? Probably my favourite lesson in my entire study of psychology - don’t diet! Hooray!
  • The body also has hunger-suppressing hormones - leptin is created and released into the bloodstream by adipose (fat) tissue to stimulate satiety (feeling full).
  • What is so important about the brain? Most people believe the brain is important because it carries out cognitive and intellectual functions, such as thinking, learning, remembering, making decisions and solving problems. The brain does more than this. It is also the centre of motivation and emotion, the generator of cravings, needs, desires and pleasure.
  • Your brain not only has cognitive-intellectual functions (which allow it to care about what task it is doing), it also has motivated functions (which allow it to care about whether you want to do what you are doing), and emotional functions (which allow it to care about what your mood is while you are doing the task).
  • So my brain’s cognitive-intellectual functions care about me reading my textbook. It’s motivated functions care that I don’t really want to be doing this right now (!) and its emotional functions care that I feel somewhat productive, worried about completing the task properly, and also sad that I have to study instead of doing something fun.
  • In order to understand brain-based motivational processes, motivational researchers spend a great amount of time:
  1. mapping our which brain structures are associated with which specific motivational states,
  2. investigating how the brain structures that are associated with motivational states become activated, and
  3. understanding how day-to-day events in people’s lives create this activation process.
  • When stimulated, different brain structures give rise to specific motivational states. For example, stimulating one part of the hypothalamus increases hunger, while stimulating part increases satiety.
  • Damage to a particular brain structure takes away the person’s capacity to experience specific motivational states. Damage to an integrated neural circuit or stimulation or damage to a single neurotransmitter can increase and decrease specific motivational states.
  • Addictive drugs are particularly potent reinforcers because with repeated use they produce hypersensitivity to dopamine stimulation. This means that these drugs make the brain more sensitive to dopamine stimulation than naturally occurring rewards, such as good food. This can last for years.
  • Some currently marketed pharmaceuticals help smokers quit the habit by taking the dopamine-related pleasure out of smoking and nicotine. These prescription drugs are somewhat helpful in that they take away some of the “liking” out of nicotine, though much of the “wanting” remains.
  • Wanting is a motivational state that occurs prior to receiving a reward, while liking it is a motivational state that occurs after reward receipt. They usually are grouped together, but they actually have different brain mechanisms.
  • Liking is essentially linked to pleasure and it motives behaviour by acting as information when people compare choices. Wanting can occur without liking as sometimes people can want what they do not actually like. Wanting something without the liking component is only a partial reward and occurs without sensory pleasure.
  • For the full experience of reward, wanting and liking need to occur together.
  • This explains why studying doesn’t provide me with the same sensory pleasure as watching my favourite TV show!
  • There are three hormones that are integral to motivation and emotion: cortisol, testosterone, and oxytocin.
  • Cortisol is the so-called “stress hormone.” When exposed to a stressor, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system reacts, and releases cortisol from the adrenal gland. Its rise in response to stress is important because elevated cortisol has been associated with poor intellectual functioning, negative affect, and poor health outcomes.
  • Testosterone is associated with high sexual motivation. Testosterone underlies the mating effort and encourages competition.
  • Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone and causes people to seek counsel and confide in friends during stressful events in their lives. It provides a third possible, and highly effective, coping response beyond “fight or flight” - seeking the counsel, support, and nurturance of others during times of stress.
  • The brain is the means by which we generate the motivational and emotional states we need to adapt optimally to the physical and social world around us.
  • So, to answer questions such as “How can I motivate myself?” and “How can I motivate others?” we can use our knowledge of the brain to create social environments that function as natural stimulants to the motivated and emotional brain.
  • We are not always consciously aware of the motivational basis of our behaviour.
  • The motives we have vary on how aware we are of them and how easy they are to verbally explain.
  • While people can frequently provide prompt and satisfying motives to explain their behaviours, some motivated acts are impulsive and the reasons we do them are not clear, even to us.
  • We also tend to explain our motives in terms of urges, appetites and wants.
  • If I am craving Italian food, I explain my motivation for eating as wanting to eat fettuccine carbonara from Tossolinis - not as having low leptin in my blood stream.
  • Experimental findings support the hypothesis that motives can and do originate in the unconscious limbic structures rather than in the conscious cerebral cortex. For example, people who are in a good mood after receiving an unexpected gift are more likely to help a stranger in need than those who are in a neutral mood. People are more sociable on a sunny day than on a cloudy day, and people commit acts of violence more in summer than in other seasons.
  • In each of these situations, the person is not consciously aware of why he or she committed the social or antisocial act. Few people would say that they helped the stranger because they felt good, or committed murder because it was too hot. The motives, cravings, appetites, desires, moods, needs, and emotions that regulate human behaviour are not always immediately obvious or consciously accessible.
  • I love the story of James Olds accidentally bending the electrode and discovering the pleasure centre. Sometimes I have to wonder how much of science was discovered purely by accident - although the “purely” part here has to be questioned due to the intentions of the scientist to discover “something” (even if it was something completely different). It still amuses me though.
  • This accidental discovery by Olds led researchers down the path towards understanding the neural basis of pleasure and aversion. The septal area, hypothalamus, mamillary bodies, and medial forebrain bundle were identified as being important to the motivational process.
  • This led to the idea that motivational experiences such as pleasure and aversion were not localised in any one specific brain structure, but were instead coordinated among many brain areas known as neural circuits.

Chapter Four: Physiological Needs[edit]

  • The body has a predispositional, somewhat automated guide to how much it should weigh.
  • The body features many self-regulatory guides, and when these guides are upset, ignored, or outright rejected, motivational states arise.
  • Such motivational states (e.g., hunger, misery) will continue, and intensify, until the individual acts to correct the upset regulatory guides. No wonder it is so hard to diet!
  • I find it interesting that in the study where animals were either force fed, placed on a restricted diet, or allowed to continue their normal diet for 18 days all weighed about the same after only 27 days of being back on their normal diet. I am slightly confused by this then. Does this mean that obese people are “meant” to weigh the amount they do, or have they been force feeding themselves over time?
  • A need is any condition within the person that is essential and necessary for life, growth, and well being.
  • When needs are nurtured and satisfied, well-being is maintained and enhanced. If neglected or frustrated, the needs thwarting will produce damage.
  • Damage can be to the body, so motives arise from the physiological needs to avoid tissue damage and to maintain bodily resources (e.g., thirst, hunger, and sex).
  • Damage can be to the self, so motives arise from psychological needs to orient one’s development toward growth and adaptation (e.g., autonomy, competence, and relatedness).
  • Damage can also occur to one’s relationship to the social world, so motives arise from social needs to preserve our identities, beliefs, values, and interpersonal relationships (e.g., achievement, affiliation, intimacy, and power).
  • Types of needs exist. These can be classed as physiological needs (thirst, hunger, sex), psychological needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness), and social needs (achievement, affiliation, intimacy, power).
  • Social needs arise from our unique personal experiences and thus vary considerably from one person to the next. They depend on the type of social environment in which we were raised, currently live in, and attempt to create for our future self.
  • All needs generate energy. How one need differs from another is through its directional effects on behaviour.
  • Needs also differ from one another in that some generate deficiency motivation whereas others generate growth motivation.
  • With deficiency needs, life goes on just fine until some state of deprivation activates a need to quiet the deficit.
  • With growth needs, motivational states energise and direct behaviour to advance development.
  • Deficiency needs typically generate tension-packed, urgency laden emotions, such as anxiety, frustration, pain, stress, and relief. Growth needs typically generate positive emotions, such as interest, enjoyment, and vitality.
  • In 1943, Clark Hull created ‘drive theory’ - a biologically based theory of motivation. According to drive theory, physiological deprivations and deficits create biological needs. If the need continues unsatisfied, the biological deprivation becomes potent enough to occupy attention and generate psychological drive.
  • ’Drive’ is a theoretical term used to depict the psychological discomfort (felt tension and restlessness) stemming from the underlying and persistent biological deficit. Drive energises the animal into action and directs that activity towards those particular behaviours that are capable of servicing (satisfying) the bodily needs.
  • The cycle of the rise and fall of psychological drive involves seven core processes: need, drive, homeostasis, negative feedback, multiple inputs/multiple outputs, intraorganismic mechanisms, and extraorganismic mechanisms.
  • Physiological need describes a deficient biological condition. Physiological needs occur with tissue and bloodstream deficits, as from water loss, nutrient deprivation, or physical injury.
  • Drive is a psychological, not biological, term. It is the conscious manifestations of an underlying unconscious biological need.
  • Homeostasis: the body's tendency to maintain a stable internal state. It is essentially the body's ability to return a system to its basal state. To do so, bodily systems generate motivational states.
  • Negative feedback refers to homeostasis' physiological stop step. People eat and sleep, but only until they are no longer hungry or sleepy. Drive activates behaviour; negative feedback stops it.
  • Drive has multiple inputs or means of activation. One can feel thirsty, for example, after sweating, eating salty foods, or donating blood, etc. In much the same way, drive had multiple outlets, or behaviours responses that satisfy the drive. Basically, drive arises from a number of different sources (inputs) and motivates a number of different goal-directed behaviours (outputs).
  • Intraorganismic mechanisms include all the biological regulatory systems within the person that act together to activate, maintain, and terminate the physiological needs that underlie drive. Brain structures, the endocrine system, and bodily organs constitute the three main categories of intraorganismic mechanisms.
  • The study of intraorganismic mechanisms is the study of what role brain structures, hormones and bodily organs play in the rise and fall of physiological needs.
  • Extraorganismic mechanisms include all the environmental influences that play a pat in activating, maintaining, and terminating psychological drive. The principle categories of extraorganismic mechanisms are cognitive, environmental, social, and cultural influences.
  • The study of extraorganismic mechanisms is the study of what role cognitive, environmental, social, and cultural influences play in the rise and fall of physiological needs.
  • Our bodies are about two-thirds water. When our water volume falls by abut 4% we feel thirsty. Dehydration does not occur until the person loses 3% of water volume.

Week Four[edit]

Lecture Four: Psychological and Social Needs[edit]

Psychological Needs
An inherent source of motivation that generates the desire to interact with the environment so as to advance personal growth, social development, and psychological well-being.

Organismic approach to motivation
Two assumptions:

  • People are inherently active - we are always engaged in something.
  • Person-environment dialectic - the person acts on the environment, just as the environment acts on the person.

Self-determination theory
There are three psychological needs - Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness.
If these needs are satisfied, someone should be getting all they need for psychological growth and development, satisfaction, and happiness. You really do need all three to be relatively psychologically healthy.

Autonomy is the psychological need to experience self-direction and personal endorsement in the initiation and regulation of one’s behaviour.
Behaviour is autonomous (or self-determined) when our interests, preferences, and wants guide our decision-making processes to engage or not to engage in a particular activity.
Autonomy is having, or at least perceiving having, control over your decisions, behaviour and what goes on in your environment.

Perceived Autonomy

  • Internal perceived locus of causality: an individual’s understanding of the causal source of his or her motivated action.
  • Volition (feeling free): an unpressured willingness to engage in an activity.
  • Perceived choice over one’s actions: sense of choice in environments that provide decision-making flexibility that affords many opportunities to choose.

The Conundrum of Choice

  • Not all choices promote autonomy.

“Either-or” choice offerings - ”You can either wash the car or mow the lawn.”
Choice among options offered by others fails to tap into and involve the need for autonomy.

  • True choice over people’s actions.

Meaningful choice that reflects people’s values and interests.
-enhances a sense of need-satisfying autonomy.
-enhances intrinsic motivation, effort, creativity, preference for challenge, and performance.

Supporting Autonomy

  • autonomy support: interpersonal sentiment and behaviour to identify, nurture, and develop another’s inner motivational resources.
  • control: interpersonal sentiment and behaviour to pressure another toward compliance with a prescribed way of thinking, feeling, or behaving.

What controlling people say and do to motivate others:

  • hold/hog learning materials
  • show correct answers
  • tell correct answers
  • speak directives, commands
  • 'should', 'must', 'have to' statements
  • ask controlling questions
  • seem demanding

Benefits from autonomy support

  • Motivation: autonomy, competence, relatedness, intrinsic motivation, mastery motivation, perceived control, curiosity, internalised values.
  • Engagement: engagement, positive emotion, less negative emotion, class attendance, persistence, school retention vs. dropping out.
  • Development: self-wroth, creativity, preference for optimal challenge.
  • Learning: conceptual understanding, deep processing, active information processing, self-regulation strategies.
  • Performance: school retention vs. dropping out, grades task performance, standardised test scores.
  • Psychological well-being: vitality, school/life satisfaction.

Competence: a psychological need to be effective in interactions with the environment.

Involving Competence
Key Optimal Conditions:

  1. Optimal challenge and flow (flow is a state of concentration that involves a holistic absorption in an activity).
  2. Interdependency between challenge and feedback (setting the stage for challenge; performance feedback).
  3. Structure - information about the pathways to desired outcomes (support and guidance for pursuing these pathways).
  4. Failure tolerance - considerable error making is essential for optimising learning (failure produces opportunities for learning).
Supporting Competence

Positive feedback - Four sources:

  1. Task itself
  2. Comparisons of one’s current performance with one’s own past performance
  3. Comparisons of one’s current performance with the performance of others.
  4. Evaluation of others.

Pleasure of optimal challenge and positive feedback Children experience the greatest pleasure following success in the context of moderate challenge.

Relatedness A psychological need to establish close emotional bonds and attachments with other people. The desire to be emotionally connected to and interpersonally involved in warm relationships.

  • Involving relatedness: interaction with others - emotionally positive interactions and interaction partners.
  • Supporting relatedness: perception of a social bond - intimate and high quality relationships that involve caring, liking, accepting, and valuing.
  • Communal and exchange relationships: in communal relationships, people care for the needs of the other, and both feel an obligation to support the other’s welfare.
  • Internalisation: relationships that provide a rich supply of relatedness need satisfaction and clear and convincing rationale for the others prescriptions and proscriptions.

Enabling condition

  • autonomy support:

-takes the other person’s perspective -values personal growth opportunities


  • pressures the other person toward a prescribed outcome
  • targets a prescribed outcome

Four Essential Ways of Supporting Autonomy

  1. Nurtures inner motivational resources
  2. Relies on informational language
  3. Promotes explanatory rationales
  4. Acknowledges and accepts negative feedback

Moment-to-moment autonomy support What autonomy-supportive people say and do to motivate others:

  • listen carefully
  • allow others time to talk
  • provide rationale
  • encourage effort
  • praise progress, mastery
  • ask others what they want to do
  • respond to questions
  • acknowledge the other’s perspective

Ephemeral, situationally induced wants that create tense energy to engage in behaviour capable of reducing the built-up tension.

Social need
An acquired psychological process that grows out of ones socialisation history that activates emotional responses to a particular need-relevant incentive. E.g., achievement, affiliation, intimacy, power.
-these are things that our culture teaches us, and that if we do them will probably feed our deeper needs.

Primary need-activating incentive

  • Achievement: doing something well to show personal competence
  • Affiliation: opportunity to please others and gain their approval
  • Intimacy: warm, secure relationship
  • Power: having impact on others

-The need for (for example) achievement is higher in some people than in others, and it is the same for each need.
Need for achievement

  • desire to do well relative to a standard of excellence

Standard of excellence

  • any change to a person’s sense of competence that ends with an objective outcome of success vs. failure, win vs. lose, or right vs. wrong.

High- vs. low-need achiever

  • approach-oriented emotions vs. avoidance-oriented emotions
  • differences in choice, latency, effort, persistence, and willingness to take personal responsibility for successes and failures.

Origins of the need for achievement

  • Socialisation influences:

- parents independence training, high performance aspirations, realistic standards of excellence, positive valuing of achievement-related pursuits, etc.

  • Cognitive influences:

- perceptions of high ability
- mastery orientation
- high expectations for success
- strong valuing of achievement
- optimistic ambitional style

  • Developmental influences:

- achievement-related beliefs, values, and emotions all show predictable developmental patterns.

Conditions that involve and satisfy the need for achievement

  • Moderately difficult tasks
  • Compeition
  • Entrepenureship

Two main achievement goals

  • Mastery goals:

- develop one’s competence - make progress - improve the self - overcome difficulties with effort and persistence

Performance Goals

  • Prove one’s competence
  • Display high ability
  • Outperform others
  • Succeed with little apparent effort
  • Start out with gusto but this runs out when difficulties arise.

Oh dear! This is definitely me! How on earth do I switch to having a mastery goal??

Avoidance motivation and well-being
If you have a performance goal you are more likely to risk avoidance behaviour because the fear of failure is higher. The fear of failure leads to performance avoidance goals, which lead to low self-esteem, low personal control, low vitality, low life satisfaction, and low psychological well-being.

Conditions that involve and satisfy the affiliation and intimacy needs

  • Affiliation need:

- deficiency-oriented motive
- need-involving condition: deprivation from social interaction → social isolation and fear
- need-satisfying condition: relatedness within warm, close, reciprocal, and enduring relationships.


  • Conditions that involve and satisfy the need for power:

- leadership
- aggressiveness
- influential occupations
- prestige possessions

  • Power + goal pursuit

- power increases approach tendencies
- people high in the need for power more easily acquire the goals they seek

  • Leadership motive pattern:

- high need for power
- low affiliation
- high self-control

Tutorial Two - Needs

What are needs?
It is hard to define the word “need” without doing the worst possible thing when defining something: using the word in the definition.

A need… is something that you need. (Sad to see that my definitions haven’t improved much from week one).

To better define it, borrowing from Reeve might help!
A need is: any condition within an organism that is essential and necessary for life, growth, and well-being.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ranks needs in order of how vital or important they are, with the basic physiological needs being at the bottom, and therefore the most vital as we need them to live.

A possible weakness of such models could be that we are forever changing, and at any given time, the need for food or sleep might not actually be vital for our continuing life - at least not in the next few hours. On the other hand, we might be struggling with our self confidence, and a boost to our self esteem might be of huge importance at that given moment.

Motivational functions of key brain structures:

  1. Medial forebrain bundle: associated with pleasure and reinforcement.
  2. Hypothalamus: the pleasurable feelings associated with feeding, drinking, and mating.
  3. Amygdala: a part of the limbic system that detects and responds to threat and danger, and plays a primary role in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events.
  4. Septal area: the pleasure centre associated with sociability and sexuality.
  5. Hippocampus: associated with detecting and responding to threat and danger.
  6. Cerebral cortex (frontal lobes): associated with making plans, setting goals, and formulating intentions.

The motivational role of key 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 counteract negative feelings
  5. Cortisol: the “stress hormone” is associated with poor intellectual functioning, negative affect and poor health outcomes
  6. Testosterone: associated with high sexual motivation.
  7. Oxytocin: motivates seeking counsel, support and nurturance of others during stressful times.

Physiological need: is inherent within the biological system and is necessary for life. E.g., hunger, thirst, sex.

Psychological need: an inherent source of motivation that generates the desire to interact with the environment so as to advance personal growth, social development, and psychological well-being.

Social need: an acquired psychological process that grows out of one’s socialisation history that activates emotional responses to a particular need-relevant incentive.

Chapter Six: Psychological Needs[edit]
Chapter Seven: Social Needs[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Five[edit]

Lecture Five: Intrinsic-Extrinsic Motivation and Goal Setting[edit]

Intrinsic Motivation
The inherent desire to engage one’s interests and to exercise and develop one’s capacities. E.g., “I am doing this (engaged activity) because it is… (interesting, fun, enjoyable, provides autonomy, competence, or relatedness).”

Origins of Intrinsic Motivation
Psychological need satisfaction.

  • Autonomy support from the environment and one’s relationships.
  • Competence support from the environment and one’s relationships.
  • Relatedness support from the environment and one’s relationships.

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

  • Persistence: the higher a person’s intrinsic motivation, the greater will be his or her persistence on that task.
  • Creativity: the greater people experience interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself, the higher people are creative.
  • Conceptual understanding/high quality learning: flexible thinking, active information processing, learning in a conceptual way.
  • Optimal functioning and well-being: great self-actualisation, greater subjective vitality, less anxiety and depression, greater self-esteem.

Extrinsic Motivation
An environmentally created reason (e.g., incentives or consequences) to engage in an action or activity.
Do (requested behaviour) this in order to get that (extrinsic incentive or consequence).”
“What’s in it for me?” type of motivation.

External Regulation of Motivation

  • Based on operant conditioning
  • Incentives precede behaviour
  • Consequences follow behaviour
  • incentives: an environmental event that attracts or repels a person toward or away from initiating a particular course of action.
  • Consequences - Reinforcers (“Do it”)
  1. Positive: increases action to get more of a desirable quality
  2. Negative: increases action (escape) to get less of an undesirable quality
  • Consequences - Punishers (“Stop”)
  • Rewards: any offering from one person given to another person in exchange for his or her service or achievement. May or may not act as reinforcers.

How do rewards work?
Do they facilitate desirable behaviour?

  • An extrinsic reward enlivens positive emotion and facilitates behaviour because it signals the opportunity for a personal gain.
  • When events take an unexpected turn for the better, then dopamine is released and Behavioural Activation System (BAS) neural activation occurs, as the brain inherently latches onto the environmental signal of the unexpected gain.

Growing up, we had several reward systems that our parents used in attempts to motivate us to do various chores around the house and keep our bedrooms tidy. The two that I remember most clearly, and probably carried on the longest were “Battle of the Bedrooms” and the “tally” system.
I particularly liked the tally system - a white board where we would mark next to our names each time we earned a “tally” (just a line, which was worth 20c and once you earned the 5th tally, you would cross it over the other 4 to show that it was worth a dollar). Different jobs (according to their difficulty, how long they would take, and how disgusting they were) would earn a certain amount of tallies. Hanging out a load of clothes would earn one tally, mowing the lawn (from memory, I think) earned about $4 worth, and doing the “poo patrol” in the backyard earned the most. I liked being able to choose which jobs I would do and when, although I constantly found myself wishing that I had been better, like my little sister who conscientiously earned many more tallies than me every week, and would therefore have more money.

Unlike the tally system, I did not like “Battle of the Bedrooms”. My dad’s booming voice would announce from the lounge room that it was time for him to come and check and mark our rooms, and I would panic, most of the time having forgotten about it, and scurry around my room trying to quickly make my bed and clean up my clothes before he came to my room. And then, of course, appear relaxed, lying on my bed reading when he did come in, so he wouldn’t know I had forgotten.

Do Punishers Work?
Do they suppress undesirable behaviour?

  • Research shows that punishment is an ineffective motivational strategy (popular, but ineffective).

“Side Effects” include:

  • Negative emotionality, e.g., crying, screaming, and feeling afraid.
  • Impaired relationship - between punisher and punishee.
  • Negative modelling - or how to cope with undesirable behaviour in others.

Hidden Cost of Rewards
The unexpected, unintended, and adverse effects that extrinsic rewards sometimes have on intrinsic motivation, high-quality learning, and autonomous and self-regulation.
Using a reward to engage someone in an activity:

  • Intended primary effect: promotes compliance (behavioural engagement in the activity)
  • Unintended primary effect: undermines intrinsic motivation; interferes with the quality and process of learning; interferes with the capacity for autonomous self-regulation.

Benefits of Incentives, Consequences, and Rewards
When there is no intrinsic motivation to be undermined (uninteresting tasks), rewards can make an otherwise uninteresting task seem suddenly worth pursuing.

Four Reasons Not to Use Extrinsic Motivation

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

This is slightly concerning - I don’t like to write assignments unless I am promised that I will have a cup of tea made for me each time I write another 500 words. Am I undermining my own ability to work autonomously and to experience intrinsic motivation by doing this?

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

  • Provide a way for predicting the effects that any extrinsic event will have on motivation.
  • Explains how an extrinsic event (e.g., money, grade, deadline) affects intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, as mediated by the event’s effects on the psychological need for competence and autonomy.

I wonder if, based on this, we could argue that the university should do away with grades and deadlines as they are using extrinsic motivators and therefore undermining the quality of our performance and the process of our learning??

Types of Extrinsic Motivation

  • External regulation: incentives, consequences - “to get a consequence” - e.g., “I recycle to make five cents on each can.”
  • Introjected regulation: avoid guilt, boost self-esteem - “because I should” - e.g., “I recycle because I out to, if I am going to feel good (rather than guilty) about myself.”
  • Identified regulation: valuing, sense of importance - “because it is important” - e.g., “I recycle because it is important for a cleaner environment.”
  • Integrated regulation: value congruence - “because it reflects my values” - e.g., “I recycle because it reflects who I am and what I believe.”

Motivating Others to Do Uninteresting Activities
Ways to promote more autonomous types of extrinsic motivation.

  • Providing a rationale: explain why the uninteresting activity is important and useful enough to warrant one’s volitional engagement.
  • Building interest: first catch one’s situational interest in an activity and then hold that initial interest over time by developing an individual interest in the activity.

Plans: Discrepancy

  • Present state represents the person’s current status of how life is going.
  • Ideal state represents how the person wishes life was going.
  • When the present state falls short of the hoped-for ideal state, a discrepancy is exposed.
  • It is the discrepancy, rather than the ideal state per se, that has motivational properties.
  • Discrepancy creates the sense of wanting to change the present state so that it will move closer and closer toward the ideal state.

Two Types of Discrepancy

  • Discrepancy reduction: based on the discrepancy-detecting feedback that underlies plans and corrective motivation.
  • Discrepancy reduction corresponds to plan-based corrective motivation.
  • Discrepancy reduction is reactive, deficiency overcoming, and revolves around a feedback system.
  • Discrepancy creation: based on a “feed-forward” system in which the person looks forward and proactively sets a future, higher goal.
  • Discrepancy creation corresponds to goal-setting motivation.
  • Discrepancy creating is proactive, growth pursuing, and revolves around a “feed-forward” system.

Goals: a goal is whatever an individual is trying to accomplish.

Additional Goal Mechanisms
Why do goals work to increase performance?

  • Goals clarify performance expectations
  • Goals counteract apathy, boredom
  • Goals make feedback important (without goals performance can be emotionally unimportant)
  • Goal attainment can generate feeling of pride, satisfaction, or competence that the task itself cannot generate.

Feedback documents the performer’s progress towards goal attainment.

  1. Feedback defines performance, therefore, it is instructive to future goal-setting efforts.
  2. Feedback acts as a reinforcer (or punisher).

Feedback to Enhance Learning

  • Feedback is the single most important predictor of achievement
  • Feedback alone is not sufficient - effective instruction is also needed
  • Feedback is powerful - it can be helpful or harmful

Goal Processes
Variables that moderate the goal and performance relationship:

  • Goal acceptance (vs. goal rejection)
  • Goal choice - ideal goal; actual goal; minimal goal
  • Short vs. long-term goal setting.

Four Factors that Affect Goal Acceptance

  • Perceived difficulty of the imposed goal: there is an inverse relationship between goal difficulty and goal commitment
  • Participation in gal setting process: n negotiated goal with flexibility and give-and-take facilitates participation and internalisation of the goal
  • Credibility of the person assigning the goal
  • Extrinsic incentives

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Goal-Setting

  • Example of short-term goal: pass exam 3 in my psychology course
  • Example of long-term goal: become a teacher in public school system

Problems with Long-Term Goals

  1. With LTGs, there is a prolonged period of time in which performance goes unreinforced. Therefore, goal commitment can be expected to decrease.
  2. LTGs don’t provide/generate immediate performance feedback.
  • Therefore, performer may benefit by translating a long-term goal into a series of short-term goals.
  • This solution is especially necessary if the long-term goal is a relatively uninteresting task to perform.

Danger and Pitfalls in Goal Setting

  1. Increased stress: goals seem too difficult; goal overload; goal conflict
  2. Possibility for failure: difficult goals may lead to sub-goal performance and therefore to detrimental emotional consequences associated with failure
  3. Non-goal areas ignored: the purpose of a goal is to focus attention and action in certain directions. So non-goal areas are intentionally devalued
  4. Short-range thinking: proximal vs. distal goal-setting debate
  5. Cheating: goals, when made public and when involving extrinsic incentives, can create performance pressure and prompt efforts at cheating rather than effort at skill development.
  6. Undermines intrinsic motivation: if task is interesting, short-term goals are typically experienced as controlling and undermine intrinsic motivation. If task is uninteresting, short-term goals can create competence, feedback, and increase intrinsic motivation.

Implementation Intentions
A specific goal-directed action, initiated at an anticipated future outcome:

  1. Set the goal
  2. Plan how to attain that goal:
  • getting started, despite daily distractions
  • persisting in spite of difficulties and setbacks
  • resuming, once an interruption occurs

Steps in an Effective Goal-Setting Program

  1. Specify the objective to be accomplished
  2. Define goal difficulty
  3. Define goal specifity
  4. Specify the time span until performance will be assessed
  5. Check on goal acceptance
  6. Discuss goal attainment strategies
  7. Create implementation intentions
  8. Provide performance feedback
Chapter Five: Instrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations[edit]
Chapter Eight: Goal Setting and Goal Striving[edit]

Week Six[edit]

Lecture Six: Control Beliefs and the Self[edit]

Tutorial Three - Self and Goals

The last tutorial on motivation and will focus more on applied aspects of motivation.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations
Although a valuable theory, it does risk being overly simplistic and assumes that all motivations can be clearly assigned as either intrinsic or extrinsic, whereas they are often much more complicated.

Reasons students have for attending university

  • To get a degree
  • To learn more
  • I don’t know which career I want yet
  • My parents are making me
  • Everyone else is my family has gone
  • To get centrelink benefits

Functionalist perspective: a good match between motivations and outcomes leads to satisfaction and retention - or the intention to continue - whereas a poor match between motivations and outcomes leads to low satisfaction and risk of drop-out.

Learned optimism
This concept was developed by Martin Seligman and was discovered while studying learned helplessness. As part of this concept, Seligman believes that anyone can learn optimism, even if they are currently a pessimist.

I took the test and was interested to see my results:

  • Permanence Bad Score (bad events are permanent and good events are temporary): 4, average
  • Permanence Good Score (good events are permanent and bad events are temporary): 8, very optimistic
  • Pervasiveness Bad Score (specific vs. universal): 3, moderately optimistic
  • Pervasiveness Good Score (specific vs. universal): 6, moderately optimistic
  • Hope (hope for bad events = low; is hopeful = high): 7, average
  • Personalisation Bad Score (low scores = high self esteem; high scores = low self esteem): 4, average
  • Personalisation Good Score (low scores = pessimistic; high scores = optimistic): 3, moderately pessimistic
  • Total Bad Score: 11, average
  • Total Good Score: 17, moderately optimistic
  • Overall Optimism: 8, moderately optimistic

Seligman’s ABCDE solution

  • A is for adversity: when we encounter adversity, we react by thinking about it.
  • B is for beliefs. Our thoughts rapidly congeal into beliefs.
  • C is for consequences. These beliefs have consequences.
  • D is for disputation. We find evidence against the negative beliefs, alternatives to our negative reasoning, and limit the implication of the beliefs. Seligman writes that (I love this!) “Much of the skill in dealing with setbacks… consists of learning how to dispute your own first thoughts in reaction to a setback.”
  • E is for energisation. We feel energised after we’ve disputed our false, negative beliefs.

There was a note that the students completing the test in tutorials found that their score was much more pessimistic than they believed themselves to be. For the record, I actually found it to be highly accurate to where I would consider myself to be!

Chapter Nine: Personal Control Beliefs[edit]
Chapter Ten: The Self and its Strivings[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Nine[edit]

Lecture Seven: Nature of Emotion[edit]

Nature of emotion: five perennial questions

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

Five more questions:

  1. How can emotion be measured?
  2. What are the consequences of emotions?
  3. How can emotion be changed?
  4. How and why did emotions evolve?
  5. How do emotions of humans and animals differ?

Five questions of my own:

  1. Why do some people seem to feel more emotion than others?
  2. Do certain types of injuries cause people to be completely emotionless?
  3. How does emotion interact with motivation?
  4. Why are emotions so different in men and women?
  5. How does culture impact on emotion?

What is an emotion?
There are at least four key aspects:

1. Feelings

  • subjective experience
  • phenomenological awareness
  • cognition

2. Bodily Arousal

  • physiological activation: is it possible to have an emotion without the physiological arousal?
  • bodily preparation for action
  • motor responses

3. Social-Expressive

  • social communication
  • facial expression: much of facial expressions are unintentional, but others are deliberately made to misdirect others and hide our real feelings LIE TO ME
  • vocal expression

4. Sense of Purpose

  • goal-directed motivational state
  • functional aspect

Emotions are usually triggered by a possible or actual life event.

Four Components of Sadness
1. Feelings

  • aversive
  • negative
  • feeling of distress

Bodily Arousal

  • decreased heart rate
  • low energy level


  • inner eyebrows raise
  • corners of lips lowered
  • crying, trembling

Sense of Purpose

  • wanting to take action to overcome or reverse separation of failure

Relationship between Motivation and Emotion
Two key components:

  • emotion as motivation: emotions are one type of motivation which energises and directs behaviour.
  • emotions as readout: emotions serve as an ongoing “readout” to indicate how well or how poorly person adaptation is going.

Definitions of Emotion:

  • Emotions are short-lived, feeling-arousal-purposive-expressive phenomena that helps us adapt to the opportunities and challenges we face during important life events.
  • Emotions are the synchronised systems that coordinate feeling, arousal, purpose, and expression so as to ready the individual to adapt successfully to life circumstances.

If emotion is a cognitive experience then can infants really experience emotion? Only if emotions are biologically based and the cognitive side is in the understanding and decided response to the feelings.

Two-Systems View

  • Levenson (1994) - the two systems influence one another
  • Panksepp (1994) - some emotions are primarily from the cognitive system (e.g., anger and fear), other emotions arise from experience, modelling and culture (e.g., gratitude and hope).

Tutorial Four: Emotion[edit]

Tutorial Four - Emotion

Given a list of emotions - over 200 of them - and asked to do a Q sort, or to sort subjectively, based on our own thoughts about how they should be grouped.

Sorting them was surprisingly difficult! There were so many that would have needed their own category that I ended up having a small pile left of “miscellaneous” emotions, that didn’t really fit into one of the categories I used. I know this is probably cheating, but there would have been a hundred categories otherwise!
I can see why there would have been so much disagreement (and probably still is) about what the main categories of basic emotion could be. Looking at them, they all seem to be very important, but they are all slightly different from one another and to class, for example, being tainted or discontented under the simple heading “sad” seems a bit lacking.

Happy Words.JPG
Afraid Words.JPG
Sad Words.JPG
Anger Words.JPG
Chapter Eleven: Nature of Emotion: Five Perennial Questions[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Ten[edit]

Lecture Eight: Aspects of Emotion[edit]

Chapter Twelve: Aspects of Emotion[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Eleven[edit]

Lecture Nine: Personality and Emotion[edit]

Lecture 11 - Growth Motivation and Positive Psychology

There is an inner motivation towards personal development and those that follow this tend to have better well-being.

Holism and Positive Psychology
Human motives are best understood as integrated wholes, rather than as a sum of parts. Personal growth is the ultimate motivational force.


  • Stresses “top down” master motives such as the self and its strivings toward fulfillment.
  • Focuses on discovering human potential and encouraging its development.

Positive Psychology

  • Devotes attention to to proactive building of personal strengths and competencies.
  • Seeks to make people stronger and more productive and to actualise the human potential in all of us.
  • Advocated strongly by Seligman in the 90’s.
  • Positive psychology has committed itself to a scientific testing of its assumptions while humanistic psychology isn’t easily testable.

Self Actualisation

  • Theoretical idea that we are more than the primitive, animalistic urges. We have an inner world and inner consciousness, and we often do things that seem paradoxical, but are needed to fulfill our deeper needs.
  • The two key aspects that contribute towards a sense of self-actualisation are autonomy and openness.

Hierarchy of Human Needs

  • According to Maslow, only 1% of people self-actualise.
  • The lower the need is in the hierarchy, the stronger and more urgently it is felt.
  • The lower the need is on the hierarchy, the sooner it appears in development.
  • Needs in the hierarchy are fulfilled sequentially from lowest to highest.

Does this mean that someone in a third world country without enough to eat cannot fulfill the love and belongingness need on level 3?

Behaviours That Encourage Self-Actualisation

  1. Make growth choices
  2. Be honest and authentic
  3. Situationally position yourself for peak experiences
  4. Give up defensiveness
  5. Let the self emerge
  6. Be open to experience

Actualising Tendency

  • Maslow: innate, continual presence that quietly guides the individual toward genetically determined potentials, and to undertake new challenging experiences.
  • Organismic valuation process: innate capability for judging whether a specific experience promotes or reverses growth.

Early on there is a need for positive self-regard. A lot will depend on your social conditions and whether you are given conditional or unconditional regard. If you grow up in the conditional environment then you will have a self-esteem that requires you to do certain things in order to feel good.

Fully Functioning Individual

  • Emergence: onset of innate desire, impulse or motivation.
  • Acceptance: desire, impulse or motive is accepted “as is” into consciousness.
  • Expression: unedited communication of desire, impulse, or motive.

Causality Orientations
Autonomy causality orientation (don’t follow conventional social guidelines)

  • relies on internal guides (i.e., needs, interests)
  • pays closer attention to one’s own needs and feelings
  • relates to intrinsic motivation and identified regulation
  • correlates with positive functioning (e.g., self-actualisation, ego development, openness to experience, etc.

Control causality orientation (follows social guidelines)

  • relies on external guides (e.g., social cues)
  • pays closer attention to behavioural incentives and social expectations
  • relates to extrinsic regulation and introjected regulation.

Growth-Seeking vs. Validation-Seeking

  • growth-seeking: seeks to learn, improve the self, & reach personal potential.
  • validation-seeking: the goal is to get approval from others; gaining self-worth, competence and likability through this approval.
  • validation-seeking: makes people more vulnerable to mental health difficulties.

The Problem of Evil

  • how much of human nature is inherently evil?
  • why do some people enjoy inflicting pain on others?

Humanistic Theorists’ Views

  • evil is not inherent in human nature. Evil arises only when experience injures and damages the person.
  • both benevolence and malevolence are inherent in everyone. Human nature needs to internalise a benevolent value system before it can avoid evil.
  • Society, not human nature, is responsible for human evil.
  • If this is the case though, how does that work since society is made up of people?

Positive Psychology and Growth

  • looks at people’s mental health and the quality of their lives to ask, “What could be?”
  • seeks to build people’s strengths and competencies. Doesn’t just try to build self-esteem that doesn’t have a basis - builds the conditions, skills, and self-understanding in order to allow the experience of a positive state.

Three Illustrative Personal Strengths

  • a positive attitude or good mood that is associated with what one expects to unfold in his or her immediate and long term future.
  • related to better psychological and physical health, more health-promoting behaviours, greater persistence, and more effective problem-solving.


  • a sense of purpose, internalised values, and high efficacy are the motivational means to cultivate meaning in life.
  • the act of creating meaning helps prevent future sickness

Eudaimonic Well-Being

  • Eudaimonic well-being is a self-realisation
  • relatedness satisfaction and pursuit of self-endorsed goals forecast Eudaimonic well-being

Those who have a realistic self-perception are more vulnerable to depression, whereas those with a slightly inflated sense of self have healthier mental well-being.

Criticisms of Positive Psychology in Motivation

  • overly optimistic view -doesn’t look at evil properly - naive
  • the constructs are vague, unscientific, and not easily defined
  • the origins of inner guides is unknown - we don’t know what is really wanted or needed by the actualising tendency. How do we know that the “voice” isn’t telling us to do something evil?

Tutorial Five: Personality and Motivation and Emotion[edit]

Chapter Thirteen: Personality Characteristics[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Twelve[edit]

Lecture Ten: Unconscious Motivation[edit]

Chapter Fourteen: Unconscious Motivation[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Thirteen[edit]

Lecture Eleven: Growth and Positive Psychology[edit]

Tutorial Six: Psychological Growth[edit]

Chapter Fifteen: Growth Motivation and Positive Psychology[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]

Week Fourteen[edit]

Lecture Twelve: Summary and Conclusion[edit]

Chapter Sixteen: Conclusion[edit]
Extra Reading[edit]