Motivation of activity, Concepts motive and motivation...

Activity Motivation

After studying this chapter, the student must:


• why the concept of "motive" was introduced into psychology;

• links of the process of motivation;

• forms of the motivational process;

be able to

• Analyze the process of motivation;


• a technique for identifying the tasks of the subject when generating activities.

Then no one thought about the reason

And my courage and wonderful power!

I was enraged for a damaged helmet,

Heroism that the wine was? - avarice.

A. S. Pushkin

Concepts motive and motivation & quot ;. Two ideas about the motive

In this chapter, we begin a discussion of a new topic of general psychology - "Motivation activity." This is a continuation of the analysis of the determination of behavior, which was mentioned in the topic "Needs."

First of all, we need to understand why psychology took the notion motive and "motivation", what was explained with the help of these concepts? We need to get away from the widespread opinion that animals and man have motives, and the task of science is to guess what it is. We must proceed not from the presence of motives, but from the facts of the beginning, implementation and termination of the behavior of animals and various activities and actions of man, i.e. from the fact of the generation of activity that requires its own explanation. The behavior of animals and humans is a natural object of psychology, and we know that in evolution it appears as a way of adapting the living, when life's tasks (needs) can not be solved without the participation of behavior, ie. external activity of a living being.

When analyzing behavior, a lot of questions arise, the answers to which are sought by psychology, and not only it. It is clear that behavior meets the needs, to which it is directed. The set of needs determines the composition of various types of behavior: from food-producing to defensive and research. In this case, behavior is a way of satisfying needs.

But we have seen that needs can correspond to several objects or social choices that have the meaning of an object of need, and we need to understand why a subject chooses this particular object or this solution as his intention as an object of need and, accordingly, realizes just such an object behavior.

The second question, which I would like to receive an answer, is the question of why the behavior begins here, in this place and at this time. And behind it there are two more questions: "What creates the subject's readiness for action?" and "What starts the action at the moment and supports it until it is completed?"

The following questions are related to the structure of the activity: "Why is this type of activity chosen that determines the composition of actions and operations? How are the capabilities of the subject taken into account when choosing the actions and operations to implement exactly this type of activity and are they taken into account?

There are a lot of questions, but among them there are two main questions that have generated the problems of needs and motives: the direction and the beginning of the behavior.

The direction of behavior or its appearance (for example, food-producing or defensive), according to scientists, is determined by the availability of appropriate needs that are satisfied through this behavior. But activity is always objective and always aimed at the subject of need, as its final result. Activity must begin and end, and I would like to know what triggers the behavior at this particular moment ( here-and-now ) and that allows it to be performed until the result is obtained.

In the history of the science of behavior, the last question was answered differently. Aristotle suggested his answer, believing that a desire for something is born in the soul and this aspiration is realized through behavior, launching it. At the same time, the question of why the aspiration is born and why at that moment, remained unanswered. In relation to man Aristotle allowed the existence of special actions based on a reasonable solution of man and carried out through his will.

The next step was taken at the Stoic School of Philosophy, which introduced the concept of instinct, to explain the behavior of animals. Since the behavior of a person, in their opinion, is a mind that the animals do not have and their behavior is not chaotic and adaptive, it must be assumed that animals from birth have aspirations for something (or something) that causes adaptive behavior. Stoics missed the question of why some aspiration arises right now, and another at another time, and that, for example, happens when there are two aspirations at once.

Note that both Aristotle and the Stoic school caused the activity of living beings to be seen in internal subjective or, as we would now say, mental experiences. For the sake of justice, we note that Aristotle's desire was always noted for some external object, which the Stoics did not reject. But in all cases the cause of the behavior was as it were inside subject and could not be outwardly observable, which created difficulties in the study of the determination of behavior.

A sharp turn in addressing the issue of the direction of behavior and the reason for the generation of behavior "here-and-now" was made by R. Descartes, who proposed a mechanical model for the initiation of animal behavior. He introduced the concept of reflex (reciprocal movement), which was caused by external physical effects on the body. By virtue of its arrangement, the animal responded to this effect in such a way that an adaptive result was achieved. That is, a set of behaviors was determined by body devices that were triggered by external influences. The behavior of animals in this version was equated with physical movement, which could be caused only by physical action from the outside, which corresponded to the postulate of immediacy and mechanical causality.

Such an approach, because of the simplicity in explaining the reasons for the determination of behavior and the ability not only to control, but also to influence the beginning of behavior, turned out to be attractive and gained many supporters.

But if the behavior of animals could still be explained with the help of the concepts instinct and "reflex", then human behavior clearly did not fit into these models of causality behavior. Against this background, the concept of "need" appeared explaining the focus or objective content of the activity, and the concept of "motive" used to explain the cause and mechanism of launching, initiation of behavior. The motive (from Latin moveo - moving) was given the function of motivating the activities of animals and man. But the motive was simultaneously understood as the reason for the behavior chosen by man, that is, as something for which a man carried out this behavior, which served, among other things, as an informed basis for choosing an action, driven by will. Interest in this understanding was shown by jurisprudence to qualify offenses for their reasons (selfish motives, motives of revenge, national hatred, out of hooligan motives, etc.).

In the XX century. it became clear that theories of only internal or only external determination do not work and that behavior can begin with the obligatory observance of two conditions:

1) there should be a willingness of the subject of the activity to implement the behavior (no matter what it is created) and there must be a physical and functional ability and ability of the subject to perform behavior;

2) the external environment should allow the subject to successfully implement the desired behavior (the availability of the object of the need and the possibility of obtaining it).

An analysis of the natural natural behavior of animals has shown that the readiness of an animal to conduct itself does not go into behavior, if, for example, in the existing environmental conditions, there is no object of need. In turn, the subject of need does not always cause adequate innate behavior, for example, if the animal does not have this readiness (the full-fat dog does not eat the meat offered to it). It was also found out that instinct and reflex do not work automatically when an adequate stimulus appears. For example, deer grazing at the edge of the forest do not escape immediately when a bear appears. They only track his way and the degree of danger to himself. This means that the launch of a command with the appearance of an adequate stimulus is only a special case of the general principle of solving a behavioral problem. In order for some impact to cause a certain behavior, the subject must have a task that corresponds to the impact.

The idea to take into account the influence, as well as the internal state of the subject and the external conditions, implicitly manifested itself in the dual understanding of the motive: both as reasons for behavior and as a mechanism for its launch. This was clearly formulated in the works of the German and then American psychologist K. Levin (1890-1947) about the valence of objects (the object itself, due to its attractiveness or rejection, caused adequate behavior) and about the definition of behavior by the living space in which the internal and external causes of behavior.

In Soviet psychology, the motif was understood by many as a mental entity that has the functions of motivating and directing behavior, as well as functions of purpose and meaning formation. Most often in the scientific literature there are definitions of the motive as an incentive, as an experienced desire, desire, or as an acknowledged cause of behavior, as that for which activity is carried out. Let's analyze how justified such a connection of different functions in one formation of an unknown nature (motive).

Currently, there are two basic understanding of the motive. It is about understanding, and not about the definitions of motives, which in the literature there are innumerable.

In the first variant the motive is understood as the behavior stimulus, as that includes, causes, starts or initiates behavior (it is difficult to find the right word for the behavior start process). This motive is the desire experienced by the subject, the desire to act for some reason.

The second option is related to understanding the motive as what an animal or person is acting for, for example. that final result, which satisfies the needs of the subject (the subject of need as the cause of behavior). As we recall, the needs of the subject are satisfied by a specific object, which can be both a physical natural object (plants, animals), and a social object (food, clothes, shoes, etc.). and objects of culture and science, ideas and ideas of man about the desired, etc. Therefore, AN Leontiev justly understood the motive as an object of need.

Such a difference in the understanding of the motive is manifested in attributing to the motive of simultaneously different functions and in the allocation of its various characteristics, some of which correspond to the understanding of the motive as an incentive, and others to the end result satisfying the need. It is customary to distinguish the content side of the motive and its dynamic characteristics (the strength of experience and manifestation, the duration of the action); sense-forming and motive functions of motives; stable motivational structures (motivational sphere with hierarchy of motives, with real and potential or known motives) and situational motivational formations.

It is not difficult to notice that some characteristics can only be for a motive, understood as an incentive, and the latter only for a motive as the final outcome, which is achieved at the end of the activity, i.e. the one for which behavior occurs.

It should also be noted that in the literature there are many concepts that are close in content to the motive. And their entire set too easily divided into two parts: some concepts are closer to the motive as the motivator, others - to the motive as the final result or the subject of the need. For example, concepts such as "disposition", "values", "interests", "attitudes", are more reminiscent of need items, and "intentions", desires ", aspirations", "settings" ; incentive tendencies & quot ;, incentives - closer to the concept of motive as a motivator of behavior.

In the domestic literature, it is common to combine both understandings of motives with the differentiation of its various functions: motivation, direction of activity, sense and purpose. This may mean that this concept is trying to describe two different realities of human and animal behavior. Let us pay attention to the fact that such an eclectic formation with different functions contradicts logic. If the motive is what motivates, then it can not be stored and make up the motivational sphere. So the understood motive should be created every time by the subject anew when the problem of behavior is actualized, because its function is to start and maintain this behavior. And if the subject has such a motive, then there must be corresponding activity, and, while the motive is subjectively presented as an incentive, the subject must act.

If the motive is a permanent education, existing at the subject all the time and entering into relations with other motives, then such an education can not induce activity. And this was understandable to all researchers of motivation, therefore it was suggested to consider motives as permanent passive formations, although interacting with each other, but capable of actualization, after which they become active and induce behavior.

The logic is strange, because at the beginning something is introduced that should induce behavior, and then it is said that it does not always induce, but only in the actualized state. I [It turns out that now you need to know the mechanism for translating this something in an actualized state so that it can induce behavior. We were interested in what triggers the behavior, and we were told that this is the motive. But here's the situation: the person has a motive, and not even one, and there is a hierarchy of these motives in the motivational sphere, but there is no behavior. Why? And the motive is not actualized - they answer us.

It turns out that the problem of prompting behavior was replaced with the problem of actualization of the motive and did not say anything about how this happens. The answer in the proposed understanding of the motive is not. The assertion that the motive is both the driver and the end result of the activity, then, for the sake of which we act, is a contradictory statement. There are many facts when an actualized, subjectively experienced need in the presence of an object of need (motive) does not induce. You can feel hungry, you can have affordable food, but do not eat, because, for example, there is a lecture or an important meeting, the food during which will be regarded by the surrounding people as extremely negative. There is no point in speaking about the struggle of motives, because the concept of "motive" was introduced to explain the motivation for activity, and if the motive is the motivator, then it must prompt immediately or by winning in the struggle of motives, if there are several of them. And if the motive does not induce, then it is not an impulse and at best only participates in motivating actions.

The situation in the psychology of motivation is in fact the residual influence of the postulate of immediacy in the understanding of behavior as a physical movement and that simple Cartesian idea of ​​an external jerk that triggers behavior or the Stoics' notions of an inner striving for action. In studying the perception, thinking, memory of psychology, we managed to escape from the primitive ideas of the direct transformation of external influence into a psychic sensory or conscious image. The sphere of needs and motivation in the works of many researchers still did not leave the traditions of the old psychology, despite the fact that the new approach was announced back in the 1960s, for example in the works of LI Bozhovich (1908-1981), a representative of the school L S. Vygotsky, who proposed to proceed to the study of motivation as a special mental process, social in nature in man, as well as in the works of the Belgian psychologist J. Nutten (1909-1988).

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)