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Why study Motivation?. The WHY of behavior. Central to Psychology. See a behavior Looting in New Orleans Why did they do that? Hungry? Taking advantage of situation? Investigate the causes for action. Investigating a crime. Example: young lady found murdered Means Opportunity

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why study motivation

Why study Motivation?

The WHY of behavior.

central to psychology
Central to Psychology
  • See a behavior
  • Looting in New Orleans
  • Why did they do that?
  • Hungry?
  • Taking advantage of situation?
  • Investigate the causes for action.
investigating a crime
Investigating a crime.

Example: young lady found murdered

  • Means
  • Opportunity
  • Motive
  • How was the murder committed?
  • Killed with a golf club
  • Blow strong enough to be lethal
  • Suspect in the same location.
  • No alibi.
  • Eye witness who saw the suspect at location.
  • Red and white Ferrari
  • Why?
  • Not just an accident
  • Money
  • Jealousy
  • Revenge
  • Secret
why is motive so important
Why is motive so important?
  • What do you think?
another example
Another example:
  • Why might a person experiment with psychoactive drugs?
possible reasons for drug use
Possible reasons for drug use
  • Interest
  • Risk taking
  • Peer influence
  • Change of Mood
  • Enjoyment
  • How should we help them stop?
  • Just tell them to not to do it.
  • Problem with just say no?
  • Doesn’t deal with underlying reason
  • Offer alternatives
  • Reward for doing alternatives.
possible alternatives for drug use
Possible alternatives for drug use
  • Interest
  • Risk taking
  • Peer influence
  • Change of Mood
  • Enjoyment
for those who become addicted
For those who become addicted
  • Drugs rule their lives.
  • Lose motivation for other activities.
  • Choices narrow.
  • Loss of family, job, home.
  • Yet some reach a turning point.
  • Decide to quit.
filling the void
Filling the void
  • Loss of addiction leaves huge void.
  • Must fill the void in order to feel whole.
  • Fellowship of others: AA, CA, GA
  • Spirituality
  • “AA not about staying sober. It’s about finding a new way to live.”
  • Addiction and Grace
define motivation
Define Motivation
  • Study of those processes that give behavior its energy and direction.
  • Energy: strength to start and complete task
  • Direction: purpose, aimed at achieving goal
  • Motivation based on
  • Internal needs
  • Thoughts and emotions


  • External events
organizing motivation
Organizing Motivation


External events

fire fighter rescues girl
Fire fighter rescues girl
  • Internal motives
  • Needs
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • External events
internal needs
Internal Needs
  • Biological needs:

Essential to sustain life (food, water)

  • Psychological needs

Achievement, mastery

  • Social needs

Belonging to groups

cognitive needs
Cognitive Needs
  • Mental events (thoughts)
  • Beliefs and expectations
  • Ways of evaluating failures and successes
  • Example: Do well on first test.

Good study habits or luck?

  • Provide the fuel for action
  • Emote: brings about actions
  • Best plans of little use unless you carry them out.
  • Emotional intelligence: knowing yourself and other people
external events
External events
  • Provide the reason for motivation
  • Incentives for action
  • Incentive are useful

help direct behavior

  • Allow us to direct the behavior of others
training our puppy
Training our puppy
  • New puppy grabs my pencil and chews it to bits.
  • I offer dog treat.
  • He drops pencil.
  • Puppy gets idea.
  • Grabs anything in reach and brings it to me.
  • Puppy blackmail.
measuring motivation
Measuring motivation
  • Often wonder if people are really motivated to complete a task.
  • Working hard or hardly working?
  • Set goals for people.
  • How do we know they’re working to reach those goals along the way?
  • Seek outward measure that we can agree upon.
three measurement categories
Three measurement categories
  • Behavior expressions: overtly observable
  • Physiological measures: polygraph
  • Self report: ask ‘em
seven behavior expressions of motivation
Seven behavior expressions of motivation

Example: send kids out to clear snow

  • Effort: exertion

big scoops?

  • Latency: delay before starting

now or “in a little while”?

  • Choice: chose one thing over another

shoveling or snow men?

behavior expressions cont
Behavior expressions (cont)
  • Persistence: stay with task

finish job?

  • Probability of response: take advantage of every opportunity

shovel before you even ask (WOW)

  • Facial expressions (pleasure or anger)
  • Bodily gestures (fist or high fives)
another example exercising
Another example: exercising
  • Effort
  • Latency
  • Persistence
  • Choice
  • Probability of response
  • Facial expressions
  • Bodily gestures
physiological measures
Physiological measures
  • Measure emotion
  • Polygraph
  • Stress response
  • Heart rate, sweat, respiration
  • Indicate an emotional response
  • Blood pressure
  • Pupil size
response of pupil
Response of Pupil
  • Pupil dilates if interested in something or someone
  • Pupil constricts if you are not.
  • Lighting conditions must be constant.
self report
Self report
  • Use surveys to assess motivational and emotion states.
  • Many instruments available.
  • Many have not been standardized.
  • Not diagnostic tests
  • Self assessments