Development of motivation, Conclusions, Key concepts - Child psychology

Motivation development

The third direction in the development of personality is associated with the development of motivation. From the point of view of G. Alport, the development of the personality is reflected primarily in changing its motives. At the same time, such changes can not be reduced to satisfying the existing lower motives: a man has excessive energy, and therefore he can not but create new motives. However, the motives that are present in a person at the moment, may not be associated with the motives of the past. So, if a teenager demonstrates antisocial behavior, then representatives of psychoanalytic theory are likely to start looking for the cause of such actions in children's experiences and it may turn out that he, for example, was subjected to violence by parents and therefore hostile to the environment. According to G.Alport, this motive can not explain the behavior of the teenager in any way, since, apparently, there are young men and women who also did not have the most cloudless childhood and, nevertheless, managed to overcome their internal conflict and gain positive motives. As G. Allport writes, "past motives do not explain anything unless they continue to live in the present."

In his theory of the development of motives, G. Allport uses such a concept as intention. Intent refers to the motivational component of the personality and represents what the person is going to do. It differs from the instinct or desire, which in psychoanalytic theory seems to suppress the mind. Intention, on the contrary, combines the emotional and cognitive aspect. It exists in the present, but it is oriented to the future. In other words, it is the intention that can reveal to us the image of the future that exists in man. So, if a young man wants to become a professional in a certain field, he will devote almost all his free time to this: he will refuse to communicate with his peers, from hobbies that contradict the intention, etc. We can say that if we do not know his intentions, we will not understand his personality's identity through a simple description, a description of the characteristics of the behavior of the young man.

Usually, the development of a cultural sample in childhood begins with the development of the child's intention. However, as G. Allport noted, a child can not only diligently perform what he is told, but will also resist it. If the process of performing the desired behavior is supported, the phenomenon of functional autonomy may arise. The essence of this phenomenon is that if an adult helps the child for a long time, then at some point (it is difficult to predict from which ) this form of behavior becomes an important personal characteristic, and then the child begins to implement it independently, without any reminders from the adults, ie. offline. This form of behavior can become not just a habit, but an important personal trait. Let us give an example, which explains the position of G. Allport. Lesha V. parents since two years every day offered to brush their teeth. The implementation of this action was accompanied by certain difficulties: the child resisted, said that the "paste is not tasty", and "the brush is bad" etc. Such complex behavior was observed up to the fifth grade (up to 12 years of age), from which the boy himself, without any reminders, began to brush his teeth twice a day in any circumstances (for example, on trips). In parallel, from the age of three he began to collect models of various aircraft, continuing to build models and after entering the school. While studying at school, the boy tried to write very carefully in school notebooks. Gradually, he had such a trait as neatness. Accuracy covered the situations associated with productive activities and with the care of your own body.

Speaking about the principle of functional autonomy, G. Allport first of all has in mind the motivational aspect of behavior. He gives the following example. It may be that the boy chooses his father's career. The motive for such a choice can be a non-quarreling rivalry with the parent (an echo of the Oedipus conflict). Yet over time the youth's activity goes beyond the problem of identification with the father, acquires its own interest, and then we are dealing with functional autonomy. G. Allport stressed that the development of the child can be accompanied by a certain sequence in the formation of motives (at first the boy was motivated to compete with his father, and then - to perform the activities that became attractive to him), i.e. we can see how some motifs have been replaced by others. The point is that behind this historical continuity there is no continuity of the functional. The activity that was the means of realizing some motive, need or attraction acquires a new status: it becomes an inner motivator of the personality, part of the image of the self. It is better to say that what was previously a means of achieving the goal becomes now the goal in itself. According to G.Alport, what a person does at a given moment can not be directly deduced from the history of development of his motives. New forms of behavior may arise, which are the result of external influences, i.e. that the child was in the appropriate situation. As an example, G. Allport considers the reinforcement situation, although reinforcement is not a functional autonomy. G. Allport cites the following hypothetical example: "A small neighbor's child comes to our door and receives a cookie." He returns again and again. Has he acquired a new (functionally autonomous) motive? To get an answer, we need to cancel the cookies. If the child stops coming, it will show that his motivation was completely related to his love for sweets. He did not have a new interest in us & quot ;. From this example it follows that the new form of the boy's behavior (visiting neighbors), which has become autonomous, is not derived from his past experience, but arose from a certain external influence (reinforcement by the neighbors of the process of communicating with the boy). Of course, if the acquired form of behavior becomes damped when the primary need is not satisfied (in the absence of reinforcement), then it is not necessary to speak of functional autonomy. G. Allport assumed that some forms of behavior fade constantly, throughout life. For example, avoidance motives are not amenable to extinction, because a person does not allow himself to experience a traumatic fact.

Gordan Allport wrote that the principle of functional autonomy is manifested at different levels of human activity. The most primitive manifestation of functional autonomy are repetitive (or perseverative) actions. For example, a well-fed rat, which received food in a hungry state for passing the labyrinth, still continues to pass it in the absence of the necessary reinforcement. Again it turns out that in this case the motive seems to feed itself. Another example is the circular reactions of infants: kids repeat enviable actions with enviable persistence, and here again we can talk about the existence of a special mechanism that autonomously launches and supports itself. Similarly preschool children act when they can listen to a narrative many times (for example, a fairy tale) and make sure that there are not the slightest deviations in it. Adults also often prefer to use familiar objects, stay in familiar surroundings and, thus, maintain certain customs, the routine of everyday life.

In conclusion, we note that the principle of functional autonomy allows us to optimistically look at the development of the child's personality, because according to it we can develop socially positive qualities in children (for example, such as mutual assistance, sympathy, etc.). The only thing to keep in mind is that the culture in which the child is located should also support these qualities. In pedagogy, the role of positive examples in the education of children is widely known. The principle of functional autonomy allows us to consider the appropriate behavior of adults as a form of support for a particular quality.


Analyzing the approach of G. Allport, we can say that it refers to a theory of the first order. Although his views reflect the views of other psychologists (K. Levin, BF Skinner, 3. Freud, etc.), the behavioral position is most clearly represented, which manifests itself primarily in the understanding of personality traits. Since the personality trait arises as a generalization of human behavior in various situations, it can be viewed as a scheme of individual response. However, G. Allport emphasizes that a person does not simply react to the situation by one or another form of behavior, but, on the contrary, seeks in situations in which this form of behavior will be most adequate (for example, a sociable person will not just wait, when he will be called or invited to a meeting, and he will actively look for contacts and occasions for communication).

The desire of G. Allport to keep all the valuable (complex nature of his position), which is achieved in psychology, confronted him with a special problem of the integrity of the individual. To solve it, he introduced such a notion as the "proprium". The essence of integrity in this case is reduced to the emergence of a special function that allows an individual to distinguish that which belongs to the individual from what does not enter into it. In fact, G. Allport began to talk about the possibility of two levels of human functioning - formal and personal (for example, one and the same activity can be performed with interest and not interested). This position seems promising, as it is confirmed by practice.

Unconditional merit of G.Alport can be considered the formulated principle of functional autonomy, which frees a person from the power of the past. This reproduces the basic behaviourist scheme according to which human behavior is built on the basis of the situation that exists at the present time.

Key Concepts

The image of I is a component of the I feeling, according to which the child attributes goals, feelings, moral values, etc. to himself.

The principle of functional autonomy - the acquisition of a model of self-motivational behavior.

Proprium is what the subject is aware of as belonging to him.

Self-esteem is a component of the sense of Self connected with the establishment of boundaries between the self and the non-I and with the assessment of the subject's ability to perform activity.

The Physical Self is the basic characteristic of the personality, related to the repetition of the sensations caused by the efforts necessary to maintain the body in a certain position (pose).

The personality trait - the predisposition of the subject to behave in a certain way in different situations.

Feeling Me is the experience of experiencing the subject's self.

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