Some "Why" questions: Why do you go to class each day? Why did Cain kill Abel? Why do students study for hours (sometimes even days) to pass examinations (and don't say, "to pass examinations")? Why do professors teach students, and why do they test students? Why did you pick out those shoes or those pants to wear today? Each of these questions has an answer...there is some motive for engaging in those behaviors. We may define a motive (or motivation) as a need, want, interest, or desire that propels someone (or an organism) in a certain direction. This motivating mechanism can be called many things--a habit, a belief, a desire, an instinct, a need, an interest, a compulsion, or a drive--but no matter what its label, it is this motivation that prompts us to take action. Indeed, the motivation comes from the verb "to move." I. Theoretical Perspectives
A) Instinct Theories
Many of the different theories of motivation are similar, except for the amount of emphasis they place on either biology or environment. Most include some level of both (some nature, some nurture). However, there is one theory that completely emphasizes biology...Instinct theory. 1) Instinct Theory -- states that motivation is the result of biological, genetic programming. Thus, all beings within a species are programmed for the same motivations. a) At the heart of this perspective, is the motivation to survive - we are biologically programmed to survive. And, all of our behaviors and motivations stem from biological programming. Thus, are actions are instincts. For example, a human mother, unlike many other species, will stay awake with a crying infant all night long trying to provide comfort. Why? Instinct theory suggests that she is programmed to behave in this manner - it is not due to learning or conditioning, not to being raised properly or poorly, not to having strong female role models or weak role models, or anything else, other that pure biology. This perspective is very much the sort that was offered recently in the controversial article that stated, Parents don't matter that much in the development of their children. b) William McDougal (1908) - influential theorist who viewed instincts as behavior patterns that are: 1. unlearned
2. uniform in expression
3. universal in a species
For example, within a species of bird, all the members may build identical nests and work in the same ways. This is true even for those birds of that species born and raised in captivity and isolation, and thus could not have learned the appropriate nest building behavior from other, experienced role model birds.
McDougal carried it a step further by stating that humans are the same and have instincts for behaviors such as: parenting, submission, jealousy, mating, and more. c) Problems with this perspective
1. theorists have never been able to agree on a list of instincts; Many instincts are NOT universal and seem to be more dependent on individual differences (for example, jealousy. Not all humans exhibit the same jealously levels, behaviors, etc.). 2. today - instinct theory has a more biological emphasis for specific motives and not all (like aggression and sex). But, there is still a strong instinct perspective in the study of animals (ethology)
B) Sociobiological Perspective (Sociobiology) -- the study of genetic and evolutionary bases of behavior in all organisms, including humans. This view spawned from instinct theory, but it is not purely an instinct theory. 1) Major Viewpoint - sociobiology states that natural selection favors social behaviors that maximize reproductive success. Thus, the primary motivating force for living organisms (including humans) is to pass on our genes from one generation to...