Theories and Concepts of Motivation

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Theories & Concepts of Motivation
Motivation is defined as communicating to an internal force that actuates a behavioral pattern, thought process, action or reaction. Negative forces can act as actuators. Many theories of motivation focus on inborn biological processes that control behavior. Among these biologically oriented theories are instinct, drive, and arousal theories.

You were born with instincts that are there to help you survive. Instincts are behavioral patterns that are unlearned, always expressed in the same way, and universal in species. In 1908, researcher William McDougall proposed that humans have numerous “instincts” such as repulsion, curiosity, and self-assertiveness. They occur in almost finished form, from the time they are triggered. It is obvious that babies have a variety of instincts because they do many of the same things, such as sucking their thumbs, which were not taught to them. However, even as adults, we have more instinctive behavior than we do realize.

If you had to think creatively about each of your actions throughout the day, your brain would have to be the size of a barn. So to save on brain space, some of your behavior is stored as habits. Whenever a particular behavior is summoned, you can automatically repeat what is stored rather than carefully create the behavior from scratch. That way you do not have to think about every response, you make throughout the day. You simply trigger an instinct or habit that is stored away in your brain.

There are a number of drive theories related to motivation. In the 1930s, the concepts of drive and drive reduction began to replace the theory of instincts. According to Drive-Reduction Theory, when biological needs (such as food, water, and oxygen) are unmet, a state of tension (known as drive) is created and the organism is motivated to reduce it. The theory is based on diverse ideas from the theories of Freud to the ideas of feedback control systems, such as a thermostat. Drive...
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