The Theories Of Motivation Psychology Essay

Motivation can be defined as giving a reason, incentive, passion or interest that triggers a person to adopt a specific action or tendencies. A straightforward example could be our action of eating is encouraged by hunger.

We can classify motivation into two main types

Intrinsic motivation: when people do something for pleasure, importance or desire (inner)

Extrinsic drive: when exterior factors inspire a person to look at a certain work or behavior(external)

(Lionel, 1994)

Theories of motivation:

Incentive theory:

A tangible or an intangible prize is given after the occurrence of action/tendencies with the motive of leading to the action/action that occurs again. Some studies also show that if the prize is given quickly, the effect is greater than if the motivation is given after increased duration of time. This recurring action-reward combo makes the precise behavior a habit. (Robert, 1995)

This theory is advertised by many famous behavioral psychologists such as B. F. Skinner and stresses that if actions are favorably received, people are more likely to bring them on over and over while if they're negatively received, people avoid undertaking those acts/behaviors again.

Incentive theory differentiates itself from other ideas such as drive theory in conditions of behaviorism in such a way that it involves positive support i. e the take action is reinforced to help make the person happy and encourage him to carry it on again for example a person knows that consuming food or normal water can make him satisfied and happy, while in the drive theory, use of negative encouragement is manufactured i. e the stimulus has been associated with the removal of the punishment for example a person recognizes that when he may eat food if he's hungry, it will eliminate the negative sense of cravings for food. (Wilson, 1992)

In simpler words, incentive theory suggests that individuals are motivated to do things because of exterior rewards. Behavioral principles such as relationship and support play an important role in this theory of inspiration. (Wilson, 1992)

Drive decrease theory:

This theory stresses that people have certain biological needs or drives (example hunger, sleep and love-making) so that as the time goes by, the strength of the desire raises if it is not fulfilled or satisfied. Upon gratifying the drive, the strength is reduced and the organism comes back to circumstances of homeostasis.

In simpler words, people are motivated to carry out some actions to be able to reduce the inner tension brought on by unmet needs. An example of application of the theory is that whenever you drink a glass of water to lessen the internal state of thirst. Another example is if we were hot, we'd look for a hue, this searching for shade and ingesting glass of water is an example of drive reducing behavior.

The problem however, confronted with this theory is that the drives aren't always, purely motivated by physiological needs. For instance, a person may smell freshly baked bakery and want to consume it although he has already done his breakfast time little time in the past. In cases like this the drive 'craving for food' is not motivating him to do this action but he is merely eating the breads because he's drawn to the smell and he understands that a freshly baked bread flavor very good. (Lepper, 1995)

Maslow's theory of hierarchy of motives:

Maslow emphasized that once our basic needs, which ensure our survival are achieved, our attention is diverted to your marriage with others, self esteem and gratifying personal potential. (Maslow, 1970)

Physiological needs will be the first needs (appetite, sex etc) that need to be satisfied. Basic safety needs are listed as second needs and these mainly imply the thoughts of security that the world is a safe placefor an individual to reside.

Belongingness and love needs are listed as third most important need which make reference to being enjoyed by others and accepted so the specific can also give love to others.

Esteem need is the fourth most important need. Which means that a person has feelings of his self esteem that can be achieved through getting respect from other folks and acceptance.

Self actualization identifies attaining one's own unique probable.

The final need is to find a meaning on the planet beyond ones self or self transcendence. (Whyte, 1980)

This hierarchy of needs is used a condition of pyramid with the most crucial need beginning with underneath

Arousal theory of desire:

This theory advises that people perform some specific actions to be able to increase or reduce their levels of arousal. More plainly we can say, that this theory motivates us to be able to keep our arousal level at an ideal point, not below it, not higher.

A clear example of application of the theory could be when the arousal levels gets below the maximum point, the individual may go to watch a movie or get a jog. That is likely to increase up his arousal level. Similarly, if the arousal level gets high, the person will probably seek ways that he may bring it down, i. e ways that make him relax such as meditating or reading a e book. in monkeys, curiosity motivates them how to open a latch door or a window. (butler, 1954).

This theory is extremely popular both in the field of psychology or physiology. It was originated by Lindsley. Corresponding to him, too little stimulation can result in a person to get uninterested while too high level of activation can cause stress and anxiety, which results in feeling seeking. Such sensation seekers are more impulsive and more likely to participate in high-risk behavior. Impulsivity identifies inability of your person to judge the consequences of an risky action he's going to perform. Such impulsive people might not be able to properly process cognitive information. (lynam and miller, 2004)

Instinct theory of inspiration:

In accordance with this theory, people respond in specific way because they're evolutionarily designed to. People do not actually learn to behave like this, it is an inborn behavior. An obvious exemplory case of such a behavior is the migrations that occur in animals world. (forbes, 2011)

William james created a set of instincts which included








However, the key problems encountered by this theory were that this did not make clear patterns, but just defined. It described the result of genetics and heresity on individuals behavior. The majority of our behaviors are not unlearned and therefore, these instincts aren't likely to encourage us.

According to Sigmund freud, human behavior is influenced by two biological instincts: eros and thenatos, the life instinct and the loss of life instinct respectively. The life instinct includes sexual motivation, the death instinct includes aggression motivation. He suggested that folks should deal with these aggressive instincts carefully and non-violently by engaging in competitive activities. (steven, 2002)

William mcdougal also pioneered an instinct theory, in his theory, instincts compose of three parts; perception, behavior and emotion. Humans have perceptual predisposition to focus on stimuli that are important to his goals. Humans have drive and energy called the 'mental central' between perception of the goal and the motion towards it. Mcdougal listed 17 intuition including


Rejection of particular substances





Maternal/paternal instinct











(steven, 2002)

Cognitive evaluation theory:

This theory shows that there are two types of motivation; intrinsic and extrinsic which correspond to two types of motivators

Intrinsic motivators; which come from genuine performance of the duty e. g success, responsibility and competence

Extrinsic motivators; that come from a person's environment or handled by others e. g pay, advertising, opinions and working conditions.

Any of these could be a more power motivator for an individual. (Lepper, 1995)

Intrinsically motivated people perform mainly because of their own satisfaction and achievements. if they start to assume that they will work for pay or work conditions or for any other extrinsic reason, they commence to lose inspiration.

It stresses that powerful extrinsic motivators can decrease someone's intrinsic motivation, especially if the extrinsic motivators are believed to be controlled by others by the individual. (Lepper, 1995)

Hezberg's two factor theory:

According to hezberg, two types of factors are likely to affect motivation, and they do it in different ways

Hygiene factors: if they are absent, a person is motivated. However, their existence has no perceived effect. They are things that when u eliminate from a person, he gets dissatisfied and will try to take them back again. Examples include good working conditions, pay, security, company insurance policies and interpersonal relationships.

Motivators: these are factors whose occurrence motivates. Their lack does not cause dissatisfaction but just does not stimulate people.

We can say that hygiene factors cause dissatisfaction while motivators cause satisfaction. Both scales are unbiased and you can be on top of either or both. (Piers, 2007)


Measurement of inspiration can be categorised into two types

Measurement of sociable drives

Measurement of biological drives (Chavajay, 2002)

Measurement of communal drives can be carried out through the next ways:

Personality questionnaire

Projective techniques

Situational tests



1-personaity questionnaire: in these questionnares, subjects are asked concerning how will they react to certain situations or conditions. Various exams are being used in these questionnares such as interest inventory, Minnesota multiphase personality inventory and California internal inventory. (Chavajay, 2002)

2-projective techniques: these present simple and ambiguous stimuli that permit the subject to reply with projection of both sexes in their personality. These testing are conducted by demonstrating abstract pictures, writing stories to subjects and include other tests like Rorschach inkblot ensure that you Thematic Apperception Test. Psychologists have observed that these assessments can offer valuable information into one's personality. However, it is easy to misinterpret the responses and an inexperienced tester can misuse the info that is accumulated. Projective testing are also known as objective assessments.

3-situational assessments: cultural drive or affiliation can be measured giving a person choice between ready in a need to accomplish or the need to affiliate marketing with others such as drives for works, conformity drives, social authorization drives, home actualization drives.

4-observation: observation can be explained as watching an individual's behavior over a period. It can be done in natural environment or in medical adjustments. Through observation, psychologists also try to find out about behavioral problems.

5-interviews: it's ways to gather information face to face from the individual who is being evaluated. A successive interview is that in which the interviewee is made to talk openly about his emotions, drives and experience. (Chavajay, 2002)

Measurement of natural drives can be carried out through pursuing ways:

Speed of learning of individual

Preferences shown by a person when given selections between more than one goal

Rate of response of an individual

Amount of blockage required to avoid the animal from achieving a goal

Action of anxious system

Amplitude of the response

Gross motor unit activity of an individual

The stimuli offered can be assorted and can be internal or external. (Chavajay, 2002)


Primary motives are also known as biological moitves have an absolute physiological basis and are biologically very important to an individual's survival. These arouse the tendencies of organism in directions that lead to a big change in the inner environment. Sources of biological motivational needs include increase/lower simulation, activate senses, decrease hunger, thirst, soreness and keeping homeostasis, balance. (Harter, 2011)

The most important motives consist of




Sexual drive

Air or need for respiration



Maternal drive

Secondary motives are individualistic in mother nature because they are related to self esteem, self exhibition, do it yourself security, self freedom and personal assertion. These are also known as mental motives and are extremely important in the development of an individual's behavior and personality. (Harter, 2011)

The supplementary motives include

Need for affiliation

Need for approval

Need for achievement

Need for security

Curiosity motive

Competence motive

Power motive

Aggression motive

Self actualization (Harter, 2011)

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