motivation(redirected from ambitious)
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The intentions, desires, goals, and needs that determine human and animal behavior. An inquiry is made into a person's motives in order to explain that person's actions.
Different roles have been assigned to motivational factors in the causation of behavior. Some have defined motivation as a nonspecific energizing of all behavior. Others define it as recruiting and directing behavior, selecting which of many possible actions the organism will perform. The likely answer is that both aspects exist. More specific determinants of action may be superimposed on a dimension of activation or arousal that affects a variety of actions nonselectively. The situation determines what the animal does; arousal level affects the vigor, promptness, or persistence with which the animal does it.
There is a question as to how behavior can be guided by a state or event (goal attainment) that does not yet exist. Modern approaches to this question lean heavily on cognitive concepts. Mammals, birds, and even some insects can represent to themselves a nonexistent state of affairs. They can represent what a goal object is (search images): a chimpanzee may show behavioral signs of surprise if a different food is substituted for the usual one. They can represent where it is (cognitive maps): a digger wasp remembers the location of its nest relative to arbitrary landmarks, and will fly to the wrong place if the landmarks are moved. If this idea is generalized, motivated behavior can be thought of as guided by a feedback control system with a set point. A set point establishes a goal state which the control system seeks to bring about. Behavior is controlled, not by present external or internal stimuli alone, but by a comparison between the existing state of affairs and a desired state of affairs, that is, the set point or goal, registered or specified within the brain. The animal then acts to reduce the difference between the existing and the desired state of affairs. This way of looking at motivation helps bridge the gap between simple motives in animals and complex ones in humans. If to be motivated is to do whatever is necessary to bring about an imagined state of affairs, then human motives can literally be as complex, and be projected as far into the future, as human imaginations permit. See Cognition
Motivation and emotion are closely related. Indeed, it has been argued that emotions are the true motivators and that other factors internal, situational, and cognitive take hold of behavior by way of the emotions they evoke. In the simplest case, pleasure and displeasure have been recognized for centuries as having motivational force. In more complex cases, the role of cognitive operations, such as how an individual feels about an event, as well as what is done about it, can depend heavily on how an individual thinks about it.
The culture in which an individual is raised has a powerful effect on how the individual behaves. It has been argued that culture teaches its members what to believe are the consequences of a specific action (cognitive), and how the individuals should feel about those consequences or about the actions themselves (emotional/motivational).
motivation(PSYCHOLOGY) the energizer of behaviour. This may be a physiological need, such as hunger, or it may be emotional, such as love, or it may involve the cognitive appraisal of a situation. Motivation may be intrinsic, the fulfilment of the need leading to personal satisfaction, or extrinsic, where the rewards are external to the individual rather than personally significant. See also MASLOW, NEEDS(S), VOCABULARY OF MOTIVES.
in literature. (1) A compositional device used to explain the circumstances that prompt an author to relate a story, and to provide the internal logic of the whole narrative or to justify the introduction of individual events or scenes. Motivation ensures that all the elements of a narrative cohere into a unified whole and that every episode in the narrative is introduced in its natural sequence. The narrative may be motivated by a story told to the author; thus, M. A. Sholokhov’s A Man’s Fate is Andrei Sokolov’s narrative about his own life as told to the author. The author’s telling of a story may also be prompted by his meetings with other persons or by various kinds of documents that fall into his hands. The author’s introduction of individual episodes into his narrative may be motivated by personal reminiscences, dreams, the adventures of the main characters, and other devices.
(2) The rationale for the characters and situations depicted in literary works. The inner world of literary characters, as well as their behavior and actions, may be motivated by one or more factors: social, cultural and historical, psychological, or everyday experiences. In this sense, the motivations determine the writer’s creative method.