Caden Barone, Psychology
Kent State University
Motivation provides individuals with a reason, or reasons, to react in a certain manor. These reactions can prove to be both constructive and destructive. Consider the daily routine of brushing one’s teeth twice a day so the teeth stay in good health and aid in keeping the dental bill lower on the next visit. It is not often thought that something as simple as brushing one’s teeth is an example of motivation. Different motivation factors and theories guide one’s behavior and emotions on an individual basis. Such factors are present everyday including receiving a paycheck in exchange for work, studying to complete a degree, and performing a hobby. Motivation is derived from the Latin word movere which means to move. It is defined as the internal processes that sustain, direct and initiate activities (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). Often different needs may initiate behavior such as food seeking. These needs are used in initiating a drive to commence. Drives can vary, they activate responses which are designed to lead individuals to a goal (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). For instance every person shares the need to eat, which drives behavior towards the goal of finding something to consume, this, in turn ,satisfying the need.
Two types of motivators that guide behavior are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within, and no external reward is gifted – rather this motivation is based off one’s enjoyment of a task (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). While extrinsic motivation revolves around external rewards being presented such as pay, grades, and awards. (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). The two types of motivation can have negative effects on one another. If too many rewards are presented, then intrinsic motivation suffers, leading to an increased lack of interest (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). With this constant reward, the activity that people may have enjoyed beforehand can now be classified as work, which may lead them to look for the external reward once more. Creativity is something that does not benefit from being extrinsically motivated because it requires individuals to think freely (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). Creative people benefit more from intrinsic forces. A more suitable example of extrinsic motivation being beneficial is at the workplace. Extrinsic rewards can place more focus on an activity, which may lead to workers being more proficient throughout the day (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). This extrinsic motivation may be given through incentives and other external factors.
One such theory that governs behavior is the arousal theory which refers to the activation of the body’s nervous system. “Arousal is zero at death, low during sleep, moderate during normal day activities, and high at times of excitement, emotion, or panic (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). The optimum level of arousal varies for everyone. Adults control this level by using different means of entertainment and activities to keep their arousal at modest levels (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). People tend to be either high or low in seeking sensation. High sensation seekers are inclined to be independent, bold. While the lower sensation individuals are prone to becoming orderly, giving, and appreciate the company of others (Coon, Mitterer, 2014). An example of arousal level affecting behavior is seen in taking an exam. If the test taker is sleepy or bored, the arousal level falls too low and test performance suffers. Meanwhile, if the test taker is experiencing panic or anxiety, the arousal level raises too high -causing judgement to be cloudy (Coon, Mitterer, 2014).
Physiological drives are defined as ongoing, biological motivations that sustain and regulate animal and human behavior (Young, 1968). Drives are common to every individual because everything revolves around them. Metabolic drives can be derived from thirst, hunger, the urge to maintain a constant internal temperature, and to rest when tired (Young, 1968). These drives offer reasons as to why organism behave in a certain manor. Behavior is driven by internal conditions, or drives these drives were constructed to explain an activity that something was involved with (Young, 1968). An example of a drive can be seen after a bird hatches with the instinctive ability to fly. The impulse of the bird drives this instinct for food seeking and mobility. The bird develops flight primarily for its survival and later utilizes it in the quest for food (Woodworth, 1958).
Instinct theory complements the drive theory because it suggests all organisms are born with a biological predisposition to help them survive (Cherry, 2018). An instinct is a natural pattern of behavior that is not the result of experience or learning (Cherry, 2018). Instincts can help organisms survive after birth by leading them in the correct direction in the early stages of life. Instinct theory advocates that motivation is biologically based (Cherry, 2018). This theory does well at explaining how individuals know how to react to a stimuli without having done so before. Reflexes are present in humans. Infants exhibit the suckling, Moro, and Babkin reflexes. Babies will demonstrate these reflexes when a stimulant is detected in their environment.
Motivation is the driving force affecting behavior. Different types of motivation and theories are available which provide insight explaining how this occurs. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation influence behavior towards the completion of task. The instinct theory provides reasoning that organisms know how to respond to a stimulus properly, even though they have never done so before. The arousal theory can affect behavior by determining whether one needs to raise or decrease the level of arousal that the individual is experiencing for optimal performance. The motivation theories influence behavior by attempting to establish reasons as to why organisms respond in a particular manor and how various types of motivation assist in daily functions.