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MOTIVATION, EMOTION, & STRESS. Fast Track Chapter 5 (Bernstein Chapters 11 & 13). What is MOTIVATION ?. MOTIVATION is what drives people to do the things they do; the internal and external factors that direct behavior

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motivation emotion stress
  • Fast Track Chapter 5
  • (Bernstein Chapters 11 & 13)
what is motivation
  • MOTIVATION is what drives people to do the things they do; the internal and external factors that direct behavior
  • Each person’s motivation is unique. In other words, the same things don’t make us all “tick” the same way.
theories of motivation
Theories of Motivation


  • explains motivation through instinctualbehavior
      • instinct an unlearned, innate, and automatic response to a specific stimulus
  • influenced by Charles Darwin’s evolutionary perspective that holds organisms are motivated to perform certain behaviors to enhance their survival of the survival of their species
      • e.g., geese flying south in response to colder weather
  • A criticism of instinct theory is that it provides labels and descriptions of behavior instead of explaining why and how behaviors occur.
theories of motivation1
Theories of Motivation


  • homeostasis the premise that the body oversees and maintains its internal physiological systems at a constant, stable level
  • need a biological requirement essential to proper bodily functioning
  • drive (thirst, hunger, sex, pain) a psychological state of tension, or arousal, that directs an organism to take action to reduce the drive
  • A biological need for equilibrium is what motivates organisms.
  • When internal conditions fall below or raise above a desired level, your brain detects this change and alerts the body to return to a normal and acceptable level.
      • e.g., When a person’s temperature rises above 98.6 degrees, homeostasis detects this and the body starts sweating to cool itself.
theories of motivation2
Theories of Motivation


  • DRIVE REDUCTION THEORY (Clark Hull) suggests motivation is based on the desire to reduce internal tension within the body that is caused by biological needs not being met through homeostasis.
      • e.g., dehydration
        • through homeostasis, brain alerted that fluid levels are low
        • need for water is created and drive (thirst) is produced
        • causes or motivates you to get a drink of water (restoring homeostasis and reducing drive)
  • Drive reduction theory cannot account for all types of motivation.
      • continuing to buy lottery tickets (not a biological need)
      • eating or drinking when not hungry or thirsty (social reasons, stress)
theories of motivation3
Theories of Motivation


  • People are motivated out of curiosity to try new experiences, and this curiosity causes an increase in arousal.
      • arousal the result of several heightened physiological states (including rapid heartbeat, intensified breathing, and muscle strain)
  • The OPTIMUM AROUSAL THEORY suggests people try to maintain an ideal level of arousal through various behavioral activities.
      • Motivation is directed at maintaining a stable level of arousal.
      • People tend to perform well in activities with a maintained, moderate level of arousal and are more likely to make mistakes when arousal is either too high or too low.
      • Yerkes-Dodson law difficult or challenging tasks cause arousal to be lower while easy tasks cause arousal to be higher
theories of motivation4
Theories of Motivation


  • INCENTIVE THEORY suggests that external stimuli “push” people to positive incentives and “pull” people away from negative incentives.
    • based on the principles of physiological, cognitive, and social factors
      • Physiological factors such as food may appeal to a hungry person but not one who has just finished a large meal.
      • Cognitive factors involve the liking of an incentive (based on the immediate pleasure it brings) or wanting of an incentive (based on the value a person places on it).
      • Social factors define which incentives are good and which are bad based on the influence and opinions of others.
      • e.g., What factors influence an individual’s preference for a particular kind of car?
  • Not all motivation can be explained by incentives as some people help others without the expectation of a reward. They simply help for the sake of being helpful.
theories of motivation5
Theories of Motivation


  • HUMANISTIC THEORY suggests people seek to build a positive self-concept and are motivated to fulfill their potential.
  • Most humanistic psychologists believe motivation to achieve one’s potential is innate but that the environment can either support or hinder this potential.
  • Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an attempt to explain how a person achieves his or her potential.
  • According to Maslow, at each level of the hierarchy, the individual has needs that must be satisfied before the the individual can address the next level.
    • Level 1 (Physiological Needs) food and water
    • Level 2 (Safety Needs) security and stability
    • Level 3 (Belongingness and Love Needs) supportive friendships, intimate relationships
    • Level 4 (Esteem Needs) feelings of worth and accomplishment
    • Level 5 (Self-Actualization) achievement of one’s potential
theories of motivation6
Theories of Motivation




  • The most important signals that start and stop hunger come from the blood.
  • The brain monitors two activities in this process:
      • the amount of nutrients absorbed in the blood send from the digestive system
      • the level of hormones released into the blood in response to the nutrients in the bloodstream
  • CCK(cholecystokinin) hormone released as food moves from stomach to bloodstream; detected by the brain and acts as neurotransmitter signaling short-term satiation (fullness)
  • Leptin hormone responsible for longer-term satiation; released into bloodstream as fat supply increases; when leptin levels are high, a person feels full; low leptin levels lead to hunger sensations
  • Glucose sugar that the body uses for energy; when glucose levels drop, hunger increases
  • Insulin hormone used to convert glucose to energy; affects the amount of glucose in the body; when insulin levels rise, glucose levels decrease, causing the sensation of hunger


  • The hypothalamus plays an important but not exclusive role in starting and stopping hunger. It affects a variety of behaviors and drives, not just hunger.
    • ventromedial hypothalamus involved in satiation/stopping hunger; damage to this area of a rat’s brain led to obesity and peculiarities in eating patterns
    • lateral hypothalamus role in initiating hunger; damage to this area of a rat’s brain reduced food intake; the lateral hypothalamus produces orexin, a hormone that triggers hunger
body weight
  • Throughout the day, 1/3 of a human being’s energy is spent on maintaining a lifestyle (daily physical and cultural activities) while 2/3 is used for vital functioning (breathing, heart rate, brain activity)
  • BMR (basal metabolic rate) regulates the expenditure of energy used to maintain our body’s vital functions
  • Factors affecting the functioning of a person’s BMR:
    • as age increases, BMR slows down
    • women have a slower BMR than men
    • heavier people have a high BMR
    • genetics influence a person’s BMR
  • MISCONCEPTION: “If you eat less, you will lose weight.”
  • REALITY: Lowering caloric intake also slows BMR. It’s better to eat several smaller meals and keep the BMR working and burning off calories rather than not eating regularly.
body weight1


  • SET POINT THEORY a person’s ideal weight (or set point) is maintained through increases or decreases in the BMR; consistent with the way homeostasis maintains and monitors body conditions
    • If a person eats more than than the amount of calories that will keep him/her at the set point, the BMR will increase to adjust for the increased caloric intake.
    • If a person eats less, the BMR will slow down to conserve the amount of calories necessary to maintain the set point.
  • HOWEVER...the number and size of fat cells play a role in body weight maintenance.
    • The types of food a person consumes can increase the size of his/her fat cells.
    • If fattening foods continue to be eaten, the number of fat cells will increase as well.
    • An increase in the number of fat cells a person has increases his/her set point which also impacts the BMR functioning.
    • Once the number of fat cells increases, there is no way to decrease it naturally.
body weight2


  • BMI (Body Mass Index)the measure of a person’s weight in proportion to his/her height
      • normal BMI: 18.5-25
      • overweight BMI: 25-29.9
      • obese BMI: over 30
  • NOTE: BMI does not take into account muscle mass or bone density. A muscular individual may have a BMI that indicates he/she is overweight when he/she really is not.
  • Factors (not excuses) contributing to obesity in America today:
      • genetics, higher number of fat cells, lack of physical activity, availability of highly fatty foods, large portions in restaurants, etc...
  • What NOT to do if obese--cut calories! This will only slow your BMR.
  • Very bad!
  • Very VERY bad!
body weight3


  • ANOREXIA NERVOSA an eating disorder characterized by a dramatic drop in caloric intake and an obsession with exercise
      • primarily affects young women
      • may be a genetic predisposition or a biochemical imbalance
      • also influenced by cultural and media expectations promoting thinness
  • BULIMIA NERVOSA an eating disorder characterized by periods of binging (eating large amounts of food) and purging (getting rid of consumed food by intentional vomiting or use of laxatives)
      • more likely to be females who have problems with eating habits
      • can lead to throat damage and tooth decay
      • group therapy and antidepressants used to help improve eating habits
achievement motivation
  • The desire for achievement also directs and affects motivation.
  • COMPETENCE MOTIVATION (NEED MOTIVATION)shown by people who are driven to master a task or achieve a personal goal
  • ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION when people try to outdo or beat other people
  • SELF-EFFICACY BELIEF (Albert Bandura) the level of confidence one has when facing the challenges and demands of a situation
      • plays an important role in determining personal achievement
      • If a person has positive self-efficacy beliefs, then he/she has a higher chance of achievement and success.



  • INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY field that uses psychological concepts to optimize the workplace as an effective and productive environment
    • PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY field of industrial-industrial psychology that attempts to match the right job with the right employee (through personality questionnaires to help place employees properly)
      • Such questionnaires often indicate an employee’s intentions and desired achievement.
        • intrinsic motivation a desire to achieve internal satisfaction or personal accomplishment
        • extrinsic motivation a desire to achieve an external factor, such as a pay raise
    • ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY another field of industrial-organizational psychology that addresses worker satisfaction and productivity
      • seek to develop favorable working conditions that increase worker performance
introduction to emotions
  • Emotions are related to motivation in that people are more motivated to perform activities that produce positive emotions (happiness) and less motivated to participate in activities that create negative emotions (anger or fear).
  • EMOTIONS are based on cognitive appraisal (mentally assessing a situation), physiological reactions (both innate and learned), and expressive behaviors.
      • basic emotions (happiness or anger)
      • complex emotions (happiness and sadness and nervousness at graduation)
  • Emotions v. Moods--moods last longer whereas emotions tend to be brief expressions
  • Intensity and Expression of Emotions
      • varies greatly from person to person
      • illustrates subjective interpretation of stimuli which can cause different expression
biological aspects of emotions
  • Central Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System play critical role in generation and interpretation of emotions
  • emotions activated by the sympathetic nervous system (division of the ANS) which arouses the body
    • fight or flight response the body preparing and responding to what are perceived as threatening stimuli (fight produces anger, flight produces fear)
    • love and excitement also activated by sympathetic nervous system (producing similar responses to fear and anger)
  • some emotions produce lower levels of arousal not originating in the sympathetic nervous system (contentment)
  • different emotions linked to different physiological responses (anger raises skin temperature, fear lowers it)
biological aspects of emotions1
  • Emotions activate different areas of the brain.
    • limbic system (especially the amygdala) critical in learning emotions, recognizing emotional expression, and interpreting emotional stimuli
    • pyramidal motor system includes the motor cortex and is responsible for voluntary facial expressions representing specific emotions (acting out anger or fear)
    • extrapyramidal motor system responsible for natural, or involuntary, facial expressions (when a person is truly happy, he/she automatically smiles)
    • cerebral cortex (specifically the right hemisphere) associated with the expression of emotion (people with damage to the right hemisphere understand comical events but lack ability to express humor)
emotional expression
  • People express emotions through nonverbal cues (body posture, hand gestures, facial expressions)
  • Carroll Izard believed facial expression are innate
      • pain present at birth
      • smiling around 3-4 weeks
      • sadness and anger visible at 2 months
      • fear expressed at 6-7 months
  • Paul Ekman and others have found facial expressions for basic emotions to be similar across cultures (although intensity of emotion displayed varies).
    • display rules societal and cultural norms can restrict the expressiveness of emotion
introduction to stress
  • STRESS a negative emotional state in response to circumstances or situations that exceed a person’s ability to control them
  • What constitutes stress varies from person to person based on:
    • individual interpretation of circumstances contributing to the stress
    • what resources available for coping with stress
    • how much stress can be dealt with during a particular period of time
  • BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODELused by health psychologists to identify and prevent illness caused by stress
    • focus on the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to a person’s health and illness
    • look at how to prevent stress-related illnesses by applying productive methods for thinking and acting during stressful times
types of stressors
  • STRESSORS circumstances, events, or situations that contribute to stress
    • DAILY HASSLES minor inconveniences that occur throughout the day
      • getting up for school, traffic, conflicts/issues at work
      • Richard Lazarus suggest the way we interpret these daily hassles plays an important role in how we cope with these stressors.
    • LIFE CHANGES events and situations that cause a person’s lifestyle to change dramatically
      • death of a spouse or parent, divorce, disaster, relocating to a new city, new job
      • affects thinking and behavior because individual must adapt to new circumstances brought on by the change
causes of stress
  • Causes of stress include conflicts, frustrations, and pressure.
    • when people have to make hard choices, lose something of value, or perform/conform to a certain level, stress occurs.


  • APPROACH-APPROACH CONFLICT occurs when a person has to make a decision between two appealing choices
    • e.g., choosing between two courses you want to take
  • AVOIDANCE-AVOIDANCE CONFLICT occurs when a person has to make a decision between two unappealing choices
    • e.g., choosing between physics and chemistry to fulfill a science requirement
  • APPROACH-AVOIDANCE CONFLICT a choice has both appealing AND unappealing choices (considered the most stressful type of conflict)
    • e.g., chance to earn college credit v. extra requirements for taking an AP course
  • MULTIPLE APPROACH-AVOIDANCE CONFLICTS occur when two choices have both positive and negative points
    • e.g., going away to college v. staying at home and commuting


  • FRUSTRATION experienced when the pursuit of a goal is blocked
    • failures and losses
    • e.g., frustrated because you can’t find your keys and it makes you late for work
  • PRESSURE made up of the extra demands placed on a person to perform a certain way
    • affects performance
    • Some people work better under pressure while others do worse.
    • e.g., coaches putting extra demands on student-athletes


  • Stress affects the body both directly and indirectly.
    • indirect affects: interference with sleep, poor eating habits, increased drinking and smoking, disruptions in cognitive processes
    • direct affects: weakening the immune system, muscle tension and headaches, speeds up the progression of diseases
    • Stress directly affects the endocrine system as seen through Walter Cannon’s research on the fight-or-flight response to perceiving an immediate threat.
        • hypothalamus & lower-brain structures activate the sympathetic nervous system
        • sympathetic nervous system activates the adrenal medulla
        • adrenal medulla releases hormones called catecholamines (including adrenaline and noradrenaline)
        • catecholamines in bloodstream increase heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and blood flow to the muscles; digestion slows and pupils dilate


  • Hans Selye described general adaptation syndrome (GAS) which identifies physical changes that occur through continued exposure to stress
      • ALARM STAGE Intense body arousal occurs as the threat of a stressor is interpreted. This arousal, as Cannon stated, causes the release of catecholamines, which alarm the body.
      • RESISTIVE STAGE This stage is characterized by the body’s trying to adjust to the intense arousal triggered in the alarm stage.
      • EXHAUSTIVE STAGE If the stressor continues to arouse the body, the body becomes exhausted which can lead to illness, mental exhaustion, and even death.
  • Selye also discovered a second endocrine pathway that occurs during prolonged stress.
      • hypothalamus triggers pituitary
      • pituitary triggers release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
      • ACTH triggers adrenal cortex to release stress hormones known as corticosteriods
      • corticosteriods increase release of stored energy and reduce immune system response; may lead to illness if allowed to continue unchecked


  • Stress can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.
  • Early research suggested the immune system operated independently from the nervous and endocrine systems (and thus was not affected by psychological processes).
  • Robert Adler and Nicholas Cohen showed the immune system could be affected through the psychological process of classical conditioning (rat experiment):
    • Flavored water (neutral stimulus) was paired with a drug (unconditioned stimulus) that suppresses the immune system (unconditioned response).E
    • Eventually the water alone (conditioned stimulus) would suppress the immune system (conditioned response).
  • Adler and Cohen’s research led to the creation of psychoneuroimmunology which looks at the connections of the psychological, nervous, and immune systems.
the role of culture on stress
  • Different cultures deal with stress in different ways.
  • Individualistic cultures (e.g., the U.S. and other Western countries)
      • tend to handle stress alone
      • tend to blame themselves for stress
      • emphasize problem-focused coping strategies
  • Collective cultures (e.g., Asian countries)
      • tend to seek out social support from others when facing stress
      • tend to use emotion-focused coping strategies
  • ACCULTURATIVE STRESS occurs through the pressure of trying to adapt to a new culture (e.g., trying to hold on one’s cultural practices and viewpoints in a new surrounding that may not agree with those same practices and viewpoints)