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A Reflection on Learning About Motivation

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Motivation derived from the Latin word movere, meaning to move. Motivation is defined as “an inferred process within a person or animal that causes movement either toward a goal or away from an unpleasant situation.” (Wade Tavris Garry, 421) Motivation comes in many forms. There are however four main central areas of human motivation which include food, love, sex, and achievement. The human mind is designed with the innate ability to achieve anything. The interesting part is how we all use different triggers and motivations to drive us into gear. These drives then generate a search behavior to accomplish these needs and wants.

Upon reading Psychology 11th Edition by Wade, Tarvis, and Garry, I came to realize that there are two classes of factors that influence a person’s motivation; intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are also called motivator factors and are related to satisfaction. Extrinsic factors are hygiene factors and are related to dissatisfaction. Motivators lead to satisfaction because a need for growth and fulfillment and hygiene factors lead to dissatisfaction because a need to avoid unpleasantness. Motivation can also come in four main forms as mentioned previously. The first being food, which in case, the hypothalamus receives input about levels of hunger hormones. There are many triggers that drive you to eat, along with the sight and smell of foods, stress can increase production of ghrelin, which enhances your appetite. Second form is love. We are motivated to attract or please a person with who we are in a relationship with. The brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter vital to reward motivated behavior. For example, in successfully attracting our partner this is released. Third form is sex. There are 4 stages of the sexual response cycle: desire, arousal (excitement), orgasm, and resolution. Leonore Tiefer – sex researcher and therapist – states that to humans “sex is not a natural act, sex is more like dancing than digestion, something you learn rather than a simple physiological process.” Sociocultural influences have been shown to effect sexual motivation as well, particularly in woman. The last area is achievement, it is an individual’s need to meet realistic goals, receive feedback and experience a sense of accomplishment.

Another interesting take away from this book is Abraham Maslow’s Humanistic Theory. His theory concluded that human motivation is founded on a hierarchy of needs. He identified that there is a hierarchical relationship between the different needs that one has and the basic needs that must be met before the higher levels of needs can act as behavioral motivators. Different people from different cultural backgrounds and in different situations may have different hierarchies of needs as well. The core of this theory lies in the fact that when one need is fulfilled, its strength diminishes and the strength of the next level increases. This is opposite of Sigmund Freud. The Freudian motivation theory suggests that the unconscious psychological forces, such as hidden desires and motives, shape an individual’s behavior. According to Freud most human behavior is the result of desires, impulses, and memories that have been repressed into an unconscious state, yet still influence actions.

In conclusion I personally learned a lot of new information from both the reading and the video on motivation that was assigned. My perception on each topic has immensely broadened. I see motivation today, especially with sexual orientation. Even with research it is unclear what factors trigger one’s orientation. Most believe it’s a choice rather than a genetic inheritance. Anyway, I enjoy learning and will continue to use what I learn in my everyday life.  

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