Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Motivation refers to the driving and pulling forces
which result in persistent behaviour directed towards
a particular goal. Motives are inferences from
observations of behaviour. They are powerful tools for
the explanation of behaviour and they allow us to
make predictions about future behaviour.
Physical needs like hunger, thirst, rest, sex etc. of
human beings are basic needs and they are hereditary.
The internal energy generated by the human being in
the course of several actions to satisfy his/her physical
needs that helps him/her to achieve the goal, is
called drive.
Theories of motivation include drive theories, incentive
theories, the opponent process theories and optimallevel
theories. Drive theories state that behaviour is
pushed towards goals by internal states within the
person. Incentive theories stress the ability of goals
to pull behaviour towards them. The opponent process
theory is a hedonistic theory as it says that we are
motivated to seek goals which make us feel good and
avoid goals that create displeasure. This theory also
says that many emotional motivating states are followed
by opposing or opposite states. Optimal level theories
are hedonistic theories which say that behaviour is
directed towards seeking an optimal level of arousal
or a balanced homeostatic state in internal
physiological processes.
Biological motives such as hunger, thirst and sex
have their origin in the physiological state of the body.
These motives can be aroused by departures from the
balanced or homeostatic levels of bodily processes, for
instance by certain hormones or by sensory stimuli.
Hunger motivation may be initiated when the blood
level or the rate of use of nutrient substances falls
below a certain threshold.
Sexual motivation depends to a large degree, on sex
hormones. These hormones organise the brain and
body during the developmental stage so that they
have male or female characteristics. The activation of
sexual motivation in humans is controlled more by
external stimuli and learning than by sex hormones.
Sleep, adjustment with temperature and environmental
/atmospheric conditions, freedom from discomfort/pain
and excretory pressure are other forms of physical
Social motives are acquired motives such as the need
for achievement, need for power, and human
aggression which are learned/acquired motives that
involve other people. The need for achievement is a
motive to accomplish things and to be successful in
performing tasks. People in need of high achievement
prefer to work on moderately challenging and risky
tasks which promise success and tasks where their
performance can be compared with the performance
of others. They are persistent in their work, seek
more challenging tasks when they are successful and
like to work in situations where they have some
control over the outcome. Some women in need of
high achievement may not display the characteristic
behaviours mentioned above. The level of achievement
motivation in a society can sometimes be related to
its economic growth.
Power motivation is a social motive in which the
goals are to influence, control, persuade, lead, cajole,
charm others and enhance one’s reputation. The
behavioural expression of power motivation takes many
forms. Popular among them are impulsive and
aggressive action, participation in competitive sports,
the joining of organisations, the collection of
possessions, the choice of occupations which have a
high impact on others. Among men it also takes the
form of drinking and sexual domination over women.
A special form of power motivation is characteristic
of people who express their power motivation by
exploiting others in a deceptive and unscrupulous
fashion. Hostile aggression is the behaviour which
has as its goal the harming of another living being
who is motivated to avoid such harm. Among the
environmental and social causes of hostile aggression
are intense and arbitrarily imposed frustration,
insults, compliance with social pressures and
unpleasant environmental conditions such as high
temperatures, intense noise, crowding etc. Social
learning, classical and instrumental conditioning are
ways in which the tendency to aggress against others
can be learned. Under some conditions, punishment,
catharsis, the presence of non-aggressive models or
the induction of responses incompatible with
aggression may serve to lessen aggressive behaviour.
The course of motivation does not run smoothly. Things
happen that prevent us from reaching the goals towards
which we are driven or pulled. The term frustration
refers to the blocking of behaviour which is directed
towards a goal. There are many ways in which motives
can be frustrated. Conflict among simultaneously
aroused motives is the most important reason why
goals are not reached. If motives are blocked,
emotional feelings and behaviour are affected. A person
who cannot achieve his/her goal feels depressed,
fearful, anxious, guilty or angry. He/she becomes
unable to derive pleasure from living. There are many
sources of frustration. Among them, environmental
forces that block motive fulfilment, personal
inadequacies that make it impossible to reach goals
and conflicts between and among motives, are worth
mentioning. Environmental frustration is caused by
physical obstacles or resistance like lack of money, a
locked door or people (parents, teachers, police officers
etc.) preventing one from achieving the goal.
Factors that have an influence on an individual’s
physiological and social growth or development, affect
his/her motivation. Proper genetic characteristics, a
good diet, comfortable environmental conditions, a
harmonious and cooperative social environment etc.
help develop healthy motivation. Improper genetic
ingredients, malnutrition, communal/criminal or
unorganised social groups are obstacles to healthy