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Motivation and Emotion

Why study motivation and emotion?

The study of motivation not only helps us understand why we do the things we do but also why our
behaviors can change when our focus shifts or gets redirected. Emotions are a part of everything
we do, affecting our relationships with others and our own health, as well as influencing important
decisions. In this chapter, we will explore the motives behind our actions and the origins and
influences of emotions.

Motivation is the process by which activities are started, directed, and continued so that physical or
psychological needs or wants are met (Petri, 1996).

The word itself comes from the Latin word movere, which means to move.
Motivation is what moves people to do the things they do.

For example, when a person is relaxing in front of the television and begins to feel hungry, the
physical need for food might cause the person to get up, go into the kitchen, and search for
something to eat. If the hunger is great enough, the person might even cook something. The
physical need of hunger caused the action (getting up), directed it (going to the kitchen), and
sustained the search (finding or preparing something to eat).
When the motivation leads to an outcome that is outside of the self, it is called extrinsic motivation. In
extrinsic motivation, a person performs an action because it leads to an outcome that is separate from
the person (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Other examples would be giving a child money for every A grade received on a report card, offering a
bonus to an employee for increased performance, or tipping a server in a restaurant for good service.
The child, employee, and server are motivated to work for the external or extrinsic rewards. In contrast,
intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation in which a person performs an action because the act itself
is fun, rewarding, challenging, or satisfying in some internal manner.

Acquired (secondary) drives those drives that are learned through experience or
conditioning, such as the need for money or social approval.
Primary drives those drives that involve needs of the body such as hunger and thirst.

Instincts the biologically determined and innate patterns of behavior that exist in both people and

Drive-reduction theory - approach to motivation that assumes behavior arises from physiological
needs that cause internal drives to push the organism to satisfy the need and reduce tension and
Drive - a psychological tension and physical arousal arising when there is a need that motivates
the organism to act in order to fulfill the need and reduce the tension.
Need - a requirement of some material (such as food or water) that is essential for survival of the
Homeostasis - the tendency of the body to maintain a steady state.
Instinct approach - the approach to motivation that assumes people are governed by instincts
similar to those of animals
Need for affiliation (nAff) - the need for friendly social interactions and relationships with others.
Need for power (nPow) - the need to have control or influence over others.

According to motivation and personality psychologist Carol Dweck (1999), the need for achievement is
closely linked to personality factors, including a persons view of how self can affect the understanding of
how much a persons actions can influence his or her success.

Yerkes-Dodson law - law stating performance is related to arousal; moderate levels of arousal
(need for stimulation) lead to better performance than do levels of arousal that are too low or too
high. This effect varies with the difficulty of the task: Easy tasks require a high-moderate level
whereas more-difficult tasks require a low-moderate level.

Arousal and Performance - The optimal level of arousal for task performance depends on the
difficulty of the task. We generally perform easy tasks well if we are at a highmoderate level of
arousal (green) and accomplish difficult tasks well if we are at a lowmoderate level (red).
Stimulus motive - a motive that appears to be unlearned but causes an increase in stimulation,
such as curiosity.
Arousal theory - theory of motivation in which people are said to have an optimal (best or ideal)
level of tension that they seek to maintain by increasing or decreasing stimulation.

Even though the average person might require a moderate level of arousal to feel content, there are some
people who need less arousal and some who need more. The person who needs more arousal is called a
sensation seeker (Zuckerman, 1979, 1994).
Incentives are things that attract or lure people into action. In fact, the dictionary
(Merriam-Webster, 2003) lists incentive as meaning the same thing as motive.
In incentive approaches, behavior is explained in terms of the external stimulus and its rewarding
properties. These rewarding properties exist independently of any need or level of arousal and can cause
people to act only upon the incentive.

Expectancy - value theories - Incentive theories that assume the actions of humans cannot be
predicted or fully understood without understanding the beliefs, values, and the importance that a
person attaches to those beliefs and values at any given moment in time.
Incentive approaches - theories of motivation in which behavior is explained as a response to the
external stimulus and its rewarding properties.

How do Maslows hierarchy of needs and self-determination theories explain motivation?

Some final approaches to the study of motivation are humanistic in nature. The first is based on the work
of Abraham Maslow (1943, 1987). Maslow was one of the early humanistic psychologists who rejected the
dominant theories of psychoanalysis and behaviorism in favor of a more positive view of human behavior
self-actualization - according to Maslow, the point that is seldom reached at which people have
sufficiently satisfied the lower needs and achieved their full human potential.
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow proposed that human beings must fulfill the more basic needs, such as physical and security
needs, before being able to fulfill the higher needs of self-actualization and transcendence.
Peak experiences - according to Maslow, times in a persons life during which self-actualization is
temporarily achieved.

Clayton Alderfer
developed one of the more popular versions of this refinement. In his theory, the hierarchy has only three
existence needs, which include the physiological needs and basic safety needs that provide for
the persons continued existence.
relatedness needs, which include some safety issues as well as belongingness and self-esteem
needs and are related to social relationships.
growth needs, which include some self-esteem issues and the self-actualization needs that help
people develop their full potential as human beings.
self-determination theory (SDT) - theory of human motivation in which the social context of an action
has an effect on the type of motivation existing for the action.


Why do we eat? What causes us to feel hungry in the first place?
There are actually several factors involved in the hunger drive. Cannon (Cannon
& Washburn, 1912) believed that stomach contractions, or hunger pangs, caused hunger and that the
presence of food in the stomach would stop the contractions and appease the hunger drive.
What happens in the body to cause hunger, and how do social factors influence a persons
experience of hunger?
One factor in hunger seems to be the insulin response that occurs after we begin to eat. Insulin and
glucagon are hormones that are secreted by the pancreas to control the levels of fats, proteins, and
carbohydrates in the whole body, including glucose (blood sugar).

Insulin - a hormone secreted by the pancreas to control the levels of fats, proteins, and
carbohydrates in the body by reducing the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

Glucagon - a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas to control the levels of fats, proteins, and
carbohydrates in the body by increasing the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

The stomach and the pancreas are only two of the factors in hunger.
In Chapter Two the role of the hypothalamus in controlling many kinds of motivational stimuli, including
hunger, was seen as a result of its influence on the pituitary. But the hypothalamus itself has two separate
areas, controlled by the levels of glucose and insulin in the body, which appear to control eating behavior.
The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) may be involved in stopping the eating response when
glucose levels go up.
Another part of the hypothalamus, located on the side and called the lateral hypothalamus (LH), seems
to influence the onset of eating when insulin levels go up.
Obviously, the role of the hypothalamus in eating behavior is complex. Some believe that the
hypothalamus affects the particular level of weight that the body tries to maintain, called the weight set
point. Injury to the hypothalamus does raise or lower the weight set point rather dramatically, causing
either drastic weight loss or weight gain.

Metabolism, the speed at which the body burns available energy, and exercise also play a part in
the weight set point.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - the rate at which the body burns energy when the organism is
Weight set point - the particular level of weight that the body tries to maintain.
leptin - a hormone that, when released into the bloodstream, signals the hypothalamus that the
body has had enough food and reduces the appetite while increasing the feeling of being full.

What are some problems in eating behavior, and how are they affected by biology and culture?
There are several factors that create obesity, a condition in which the body weight of a person is 20
percent or more over the ideal body weight for that persons height.
impacted by insulin response; insulin (normally released more after onset of eating) reduces level of
glucose in bloodstream (resulting in lower blood sugar and increased hunger); glucagon increases level of
ventromedial area of the hypothalamus may be involved in stopping eating when glucose level
goes up;
lateral hypothalamus appears to influence onset of eating when insulin level goes up
hunger and eating behaviors are influenced by social cues and convention (e.g., eating at
certain times), culture, and gender
persons weight set point and basal metabolic rate are tied to hypothalamus, and the
hormone leptin appears to affect appetite.
Emotion the feeling aspect of consciousness, characterized by a certain physical arousal, a certain
behavior that reveals the emotion to the outside world, and an inner awareness of feelings.
What are the three elements of emotion?
The Latin root word mot, meaning to move, is the source of both of the words we use in this chapter over
and over againmotive and emotion.
Emotion can be defined as the feeling aspect of consciousness, characterized by three elements: a
certain physical arousal, a certain behavior that reveals the feeling to the outside world.

Physically, when a person experiences an emotion, an arousal is created by the sympathetic nervous
system. The heart rate increases, breathing becomes more rapid, the pupils dilate, and the mouth may
become dry.
How do people behave when in the grip of an emotion? There are facial expressions, body movements, and
actions that indicate to others how a person feels. Frowns, smiles, and sad expressions combine with hand
gestures, the turning of ones body, and spoken words to produce an understanding of emotion. People
fight, run, kiss, and yell, along with countless other actions stemming from the emotions they feel.
The third element of emotion is interpreting the subjective feeling by giving it a label: anger, fear, disgust,
happiness, sadness, shame, interest, and so on. Another way of labeling this element is to call it the
cognitive element, because the labeling process is a matter of retrieving memories of previous similar
experiences, perceiving the context of the emotion, and coming up with a solutiona label.
1. Common Sense Theory of Emotion
In the common sense theory of emotion, a stimulus (snarling dog) leads to an emotion of fear,
which then leads to bodily arousal (in this case, indicated by shaking) through the autonomic
nervous system (ANS).

2. James-Lange Theory of Emotion

In the James-Lange theory of emotion, a stimulus leads to bodily arousal first, which is then
interpreted as an emotion.
In this theory, a stimulus of some sort (for example, the large snarling dog) produces a
physiological reaction. This reaction, which is the arousal of the fight-or-flight sympathetic
nervous system (wanting to run), produces bodily sensations such as increased heart rate, dry
mouth, and rapid breathing.

3. Cannon-Bard theory of emotion

Theory in which the physiological reaction and the emotion are assumed to occur at the same time.
Cannon-Bard Theory of (Stimulus First response Second response) Emotion
In the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion, a stimulus leads to activity in the brain, which then sends
signals to arouse the body and interpret the emotion at the same time.

4. Schachter-Singer Cognitive Arousal Theory of Emotion

In this theory, a stimulus leads to both bodily arousal and the labeling of that arousal (based on the
surrounding context), which leads to the experience and labeling of the emotional reaction.

For example, if a person comes across a snarling dog while taking a walk, the physical arousal (heart
racing, eyes opening wide) is accompanied by the thought (cognition) that this must be fear. Then and
only then will the person experience the fear emotion. In other words, I am aroused in the presence of a
scary dog; therefore, I must be afraid.
5. Facial Feedback Theory of Emotion
In the facial feedback theory of emotion, a stimulus such as this snarling dog causes arousal and a
facial expression. The facial expression then provides feedback to the brain about the emotion. The
brain then interprets the emotion and may also intensify it.

Does that mean that I dont smile because Im happyIm happy because I smile?
As the old song goes, put on a happy face and yes, youll feel happier, according to the facial
feedback hypothesis. One fairly recent study does cast some doubt on the validity of this
hypothesis, however. If the facial feedback hypothesis is correct, then people who have facial
paralysis on both sides of the face should be unable to experience emotions in a normal way.
6. Lazaruss Cognitive - Mediational Theory
In Lazaruss cognitive-mediational theory of emotion, a stimulus causes an immediate appraisal
(e.g., The dog is snarling and not behind a fence, so this is dangerous). The cognitive appraisal
results in an emotional response, which is then followed by the appropriate bodily response.