The waves of motivation
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The Waves of Motivation. Maslow: The history of psychology as three waves or forces. Basic idea in motivation. Assume a cause for every behavior. Some caused by biological needs Food and water necessary for survival Even basic needs can be modified by learning. Taste aversion conditioning.

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The waves of motivation l.jpg

The Waves of Motivation

Maslow: The history of psychology as three waves or forces.

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Basic idea in motivation

  • Assume a cause for every behavior.

  • Some caused by biological needs

  • Food and water necessary for survival

  • Even basic needs can be modified by learning.

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Taste aversion conditioning

  • Animals prefer certain foods based on experience.

  • Learn from exposure.

  • Raw clams.

  • New foods lead to bad reaction.

  • Avoid them for the rest of your life.

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Why are taste aversions so strong

  • One trial learning.

  • Think of animal in the wild.

  • Bad tasting foods might be spoiled.

  • Eat once and get sick

  • Why chance eating food again?

  • Survival learning.

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Fear of flying

  • Phobia

  • Sets off fight or flight response.

  • Panic attack

  • Survival threatened

  • Can’t convince phobics with logical arguments.

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  • Strongest motivation that exists.

  • Natural selection favors will to survive.

  • Fear as an adaptive trait.

  • Keeps you out of dangerous situations.

  • Little control over your response.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Cleanliness

  • Howie Mandel

  • Won’t shake hands.

  • Separate apartment in case kids get sick.

  • Interferes with the balance of life.

  • Forced to make choices that may block goals.

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How do you explain maladaptive behavior?

  • Even before psychology, debate about the roles of instinct and experience.

  • Nature / nurture controversy.

  • What causes addiction?

  • Genes, personality, bad experiences, social groups.

  • Some combination.

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Before the waves

  • Psychology at turn of last century (1900) still finding its way.

  • William James great ideas.

  • Principles of Psychology (1890).

  • Equal measure of science and philosophy.

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First Wave: Behaviorism

  • JB Watson

  • Trained as biologist.

  • Studied behavior of gulls in the wild.

  • Could only look at overt behavior.

  • Objective, real and practical.

  • Need experimental model.

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Ivan Pavlov

  • Conditioned Reflex.

  • Natural link

  • Food and salivation

  • Learning aspect

  • Connect food with stimulus that signals arrival (bell)

  • Bell alone  salivation

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Little Albert Study

  • Conditioned phobia

  • Loud noise  startle response.

  • Pair mask with noise.

  • Mask  startle response.

  • Conclusion: phobias are learned.

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Where and when does learning occur?

  • Insect flies into car.

  • Father goes ballistic trying to kill bug.

  • Child in back seat gets upset.

  • Child grows up, learns to drive.

  • Child has several near car crashes.

  • Triggers survival instinct.

  • Fight or flight response.

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Systematic Desensitization

  • Client must be calm.

  • Present low intensity stimulus.

  • Maintain calm state.

  • Increase intensity of stimulus.

  • Prevent fight or flight response.

  • Prevent panic attack.

  • Eventually face intense stimulus.

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Behaviorism rules psychology

  • BF Skinner

  • Rats and pigeons on simple learning tasks.

  • Developed laws that shape behavior.

  • Reward and punishment.

  • Extrinsic motivation can control behavior.

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Revolution against behaviorism

  • Language learning in children.

  • Skinner: learn by repeating.

  • Brain learns structure.

  • Opponents: children have brains pre-wired to make sense of language.

  • Smart mistakes.

  • Special human abilities.

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Positive side

Developed psychology as science.

Importance of extrinsic motivation.

Can control behavior with rewards and punishments.

Negative side

Humans not blank slates or robots.

Brains have special abilities.

Motivated by internal thoughts and emotions

Need to understand intrinsic motivation.

First wave

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Second Wave

  • Sigmund Freud

  • Psychotherapy

  • Current problems rooted in childhood experiences.

  • Psychodynamic workings of personality.

  • Humans driven by animalistic passions.

  • Negative view of human nature.

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Personality components: ID

  • Spoiled child of the personality.

  • Newborn a bundle of energy.

  • Never grows up.

  • Wants immediate gratification.

  • Demanding, impulsive, asocial.

  • Motivated by pleasure principle.

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  • The ideal striving for perfection.

  • Enforcing moral rules.

  • Parents reward and punish child.

  • Child assimilates rules from parents.

  • Battle develops between the ID and the Superego.

  • Child having tantrum in the mall.

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  • Develops out the battle.

  • Balance ID and Superego.

  • Impulse versus rules.

  • EGO works through reality principle.

  • ID wants pleasure, Superego maintain status quo.

  • EGO wages an endless struggle.

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Freud and Phobias

  • Unconscious motivation.

  • Dangerous thoughts just under the surface (gender role confusion).

  • Strong motivation to block thought.

  • Cover dangerous thoughts by obsessing about safer thought (germs).

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Psychoanalytic Therapy

  • Uncover hidden thoughts.

  • Allow them to come to the surface.

  • Understand real conflicts.

  • Childhood experiences.

  • Psychosexual stages of development.

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Positive side


Personality elements.


Defense mechanisms.

Child development.

Negative side

Dark side of human nature.

Expect the worse in human behavior.

Asocial beings.

No role for spirituality.

Second Wave

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Third Wave

  • Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

  • Skinners ideas great for rats and pigeons.

  • Human nature transcends animal needs and drives.

  • Rejected Behaviorism

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Maslow rejected Freud’s ideas

  • Psychoanalysis based on what went wrong.

  • Theories based on clinically ill patients.

  • Repressing strong sexual urges.

  • Animal passions.

  • “Why pick the wolf?”

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Humanistic Psychology

  • Positive instincts to fulfill human potential.

  • Theories based on study of successful, healthy people (interviews).

  • Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • Strong motivating force to do good.

  • Be the best that they could be.

  • Self-actualization.

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Client-Centered Therapy

  • Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

  • Humanistic attitude.

  • Unconditional positive regard.

  • Nondirective approach.

  • Reflective listening.

  • Healing will occur naturally.

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Positive side

Optimistic view of humankind.

Human abilities.

Growth potential.

Healthy personality.

Pyramid of needs

Negative side


Philosophy rather than psychology.

Need evidence to support beliefs.

Self-actualizers rare.

Practical applications.

Third Wave

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Fourth Wave

  • Positive Psychology

  • Martin Seligman

  • Learned Optimism

  • Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi

  • Flow

  • Humanistic Psychology with empirical methods.

  • Practical applications for many, not just a few.