Motivation and Emotion

by Renee and Nicole

Motives, Needs, Drives, and Incentives

  • Motive - Hypothetical state that activates behavior and propels one towards goals
  • Need - Physiological and psychological
    • Physiological needs - Oxygen, food, drink, etc.
    • Psychological needs - Achievement, power, self-esteem, etc.
    • Not necessarily based on a state of deprivation and may be acquired through experience
  • Drive - Arises from needs
    • Physiological drives are the psychological counterparts of physiological needs
  • Incentive - Something capable of being desirable or satisfying for its own sake

Theoretical Perspectives on Motivation

  • Instinct Theory - Behaviors are characteristic of a species and do not rely on learning
    • Instinct - Inherited disposition; activates certain behaviors to attain certain goals
    • Ethologist - Studies behavior patterns characteristic of certain species
    • Fixed-action Patterns (FAPs) - Response to stimuli known as releasers
    • Releaser - Stimulus that elicits a FAP
    • James and McDougall - Theorized that people have various instincts that foster self-survival and social behavior
    • Freud - Theorized that instincts of sex and aggression create psychic energy or a feeling of tension
  • Drive-Reduction Theory - Behaviors are reactions to drives; the main goal of action is to reduce tension
    • Hull - Theorized that rewards are pleasant because they reduce drives
    • Primary drives - Hunger, thirst, and pain; do not need to be learned
      • Trigger tension and activate behavior
      • We learn responses to partially or completely reduce the drive
    • Acquired drives - Acquired or learned through experience
  • Humanistic Theory - Behavior is motivated in part by the conscious desire for personal growth; people will tolerate pain, hunger, and other sources of tension to achieve personal fulfillment
    • Self-actualization - Self-initiated striving to become what one is capable of being
    • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs - Maslow theorized that people would travel up the Hierarchy through their lives so long as they did not encounter insurmountable social or environmental obstacles
      1. Physiological needs - Hunger, thirst, warmth, elimination of fatigue and pain
      2. Safety needs - Protection from the elements, crime, and financial hardship
      3. Love and Belonging needs - Love, acceptance, intimate relationships, friends, social groups
      4. Esteem needs - Achievement, prestige, status, competence, approval
      5. Self-actualization - Fulfillment of one’s unique potential

Physiological Drives

    Physiological Drives - Unlearned drives with a biological basis (primary drives)
    Learning influences what behavior is used to satisfy drives
    Homeostasis - Tendency of the body to maintain a steady state
  • Hunger
    • Mouth - Provides a sense of satiety - satisfied; fullness
    • Stomach Contractions - Hunger pangs
    • Blood Sugar Level - Drops with the deficit of food
    • Hypothalamus - Also plays a role in hunger
      • Ventromedial Nucleus - Central area on the underside of the hypothalamus, functions as a stop-eating center; problems cause an organism to become hyperphagic (eat excessively)
      • Lateral Hypothalamus - On the side of the hypothalamus, functions as a start-eating center; problems cause an organism to become aphagic (undereat)
    • Receptors in Liver - Sensitive to blood-sugar levels, food deprivation causes receptors to send  messages to the brain
  • Thirst
    • Dry Mouth Theory - It was once thought that receptors in the mouth determined thirst
    • Regulation in Kidneys - Fluid depletion reduces the flow of blood through the kidneys, which secrete a hormone to signal the hypothalamus
    • Hypothalamus - Osmoreceptor cells in the brain shrivel and trigger thirst; produces ADH
      • ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone) - conserves body fluids by increasing reabsorption of urine
    • Receptors in Mouth and Throat - signal hypothalamus to pause in drinking

Stimulus Motives

    Stimulus Motives - Motives to increase the stimulus on an object
  • Sensory Stimulation and Activity
    • Sensory Deprivation - Research method that systematically decreases the amount of stimulation  on sensory receptors; sensory deprivation is intolerable; people seek different levels of stimulation
  • Exploration and Manipulation
    • Novel Stimulation - Unusual source of arousal or excitement; people are motivated to seek it
    • People explore and manipulate their environment for reduction of primary drives or for their own sake
  • The Search for Optimal Arousal
    • Arousal - General level of activity or motivation in an organism
    • Optimal Arousal - The level of arousal at which we function best
    • Fiske and Maddi - Theorized that people behave in ways to increase their arousal when their  levels are too low and ways to decrease their arousal when their levels are too high
    • Yerkes-Dodson Law - A high level of motivation increases efficiency in the performance of simple tasks, whereas a low level of motivation increases the efficiency in the performance of complex tasks

Social Motives

    Social Motives - Learned or acquired motives
    Henry Murray - Developed Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
    David McClelland - Helped pioneer assessment of need for achievement; found that motives measured by the TAT permit the production of long-term behavior patterns
  • Need for Achievement (nAch)
    • Behavior of individuals with high nAch - Tend to earn higher grades, and take positions of higher risks, decision making, and the chance for great success
    • Development of nAch - Children who develop a high nArc are encouraged to show independence and responsibility at an early age
  • Need for Affiliation (nAff)
    • Stanley Schachter - Experimented on anxiety’s effect on nAff
    • Theory of Social Comparison - People look to others for cues about how to act in confusing or unfamiliar situations; a high nAff may indicate anxiety
  • Need for Power (nPower)
    • Need for Power - The need to control organizations and other people
    • McClelland and Pilon - Found that high nPower adults were more likely to have parents who were permissive toward their children’s sexual and aggressive behavior
    • Qualities of individuals with high nPower - More likely to be members of important comittees and hold prominent offices in organizations


Emotion - A state of feeling that can have physiological, situational, and cognitive components
Sympathetic Arousal - Rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweating, muscle tension; usually affiliated with a sense of danger
Parasympathetic Arousal - Usually affiliated with anger or a wish for revenge in a frustrating or insulting situation
Lie Detectors - Monitor physiological signals of emotional states, correlating certain signals with lying or truthfulness; often inaccurate due to the variety of motivations that can produce the same physiological effect; e.g., nervousness due to lying vs. nervousness due to the importance of being read as truthful
  • Emotional Development
    • Katherine Bridges’ Theory - Emotions develop as babies age
      • Newborns - One emotion only: diffuse excitement
      • 3 Months - Distress and delight
      • 6 Months - Distress differentiates into fear, disgust, and anger
      • 12 Months - Delight differentiates into elation and affection
      • 2 Years - Jealousy develops from distress; joy develops from delight
    • Alan Sroufe - Advanced Bridges’ theory  by studying causes of emotions: e.g., jealousy requires a sense of possession
    • Carroll Izard - Theorized that infants are born with discrete emotional states, and learn to express them as they age
  • Expressions of Emotion
    • Smiling - Universal sign of friendliness or approval
    • Baring Teeth - Universal sign of anger
    • Paul Ekman - Studied universality of expressions; most were found to be common to all humans
  • The Facial-Feedback Hypothesis
    • Facial Feedback Hypothesis - Facial expressions affect what emotions a person feels; expression intensifies the emotion while repression lessens it
    • McCanne and Anderson - Tried to create more unbiased tests of the facial-feedback hypothesis

Theories of Emotion

  • James-Lange Theory
    • William James and Karl G. Lange - Suggested that emotions follow behavioral responses rather than cause them; responses are instinctive behavior patterns
    • Walter Cannon - Argued that emotion and action are not discrete
  • Cannon-Bard Theory
    • Walter Cannon and Philip Bard - Suggested an event triggers an emotion and a response simultaneously
  • Theory of Cognitive Appraisal
    • Stanley Schachter - Found that all emotions have approximately the same arousal pattern; theorizes that variation is only in strength of the impulse and actions are largely dependent on our cognitive appraisal of the situation; the way we appraise is influenced by many factors, including other people’s reactions if they are present
    • Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer - Found that appraisal of the same emotion can be drastically different in different situations
    • Rogers and Decker; Maslach - Reproducing the Schachter-Singer experiment, got different results
  • Evaluation of Emotion Theories
    • Emotional responses vary more than any one theory allows depending on the situation; therefore, no emotional theory is currently accepted as completely correct


Passion Cluster - The level of romantic love including fascination, sexual desire, exclusiveness
Caring Cluster - The level of romantic love including being a champion or advocate and giving the utmost for one’s significant other
Romantic Love - An intense, positive emotion involving:
  1. Arousal in the form of sexual attraction
  2. A cultural setting that idealizes love
  3. The actual or fantasized presence of a person considered to be attractive
  4. Caring
  5. The belief that one is “in love”
  • Romantic Love in Contemporary Western Culture
    • Portrayal of Love in Western Culture - First seen by children in tales such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, etc.; then in romantic novels, television shows and films, and personal accounts from friends and family
    • What the absence of romantic love in some cultures means - Romantic love is not necessarily fake, it simply requires knowledge of a behavior pattern before it can be enacted
  • Styles of Love
    • Clyde and Susan Hendrick - Developed a love-attitude scale suggesting six styles of love among college students
    • Eros - Romantic love, commitment
    • Ludus - Game-playing love; “I keep my lover up in the air about my commitment”
    • Storge - Friendship-love; “The best love grows out of enduring friendship”
    • Pragma - Pragmatic or logical love; “I consider whether my lover would be a good parent”
    • Mania - Possessive, excited love; obsession
    • Agape - Selfless love; put lover’s interests before one’s own
    • What makes up a “normal” relationship - Most romantic relationships are a mixture of the six types of love
  • Love and Arousal
    • Istvan and Griffitt - Strong arousal in the presence of a reasonably attractive person may lead to the belief that we are experienceing desire
    • Valins - Found that believing one was aroused was more important than actually being aroused in labelling certain models as more attractive than others