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in psychology, the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behavior. Some human activity seems to be best explained by postulating an inner directing drive. While a drive is often considered to be an innate biological mechanism that determines the organism's activity (see instinctinstinct,
term used generally to indicate an innate tendency to action, or pattern of behavior, elicited by specific stimuli and fulfilling vital needs of an organism. Examples of almost purely instinctive behavior are found in the behavior of many lower animals, in which
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), a motive is defined as an innate mechanism modified by learninglearning,
in psychology, the process by which a relatively lasting change in potential behavior occurs as a result of practice or experience. Learning is distinguished from behavioral changes arising from such processes as maturation and illness, but does apply to motor skills,
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. In this view human drives serve to satisfy biological needs, such as hunger, while motives serve to satisfy needs that are not directly tied to the body requirements, such as companionship. Learned motives are sometimes linked with drives; e.g., the motivation to achieve social status is often viewed as a derivitive of the sex drive. Motives are sometimes classed as deficiency motives, such as the need to remove the physiological deficiency of hunger or thirst, or abundancy motives, i.e., motives to attain greater satisfaction and stimulation. American psychologist Abraham MaslowMaslow, Abraham Harold
, 1908–70, American psychologist, b. Brooklyn, New York, Ph.D. Univ. of Wisconsin (1934). He taught at Brooklyn College from 1937, then became head of the psychology department at Brandeis Univ. (1951–69).
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 has classified motives into five developmental levels, with the satisfaction of physiological needs most important and esteem and self-actualization needs least important. According to Maslow, the most basic needs must be satisfied before successively higher needs can emerge. Cognitive psychologists such as Albert Bandura have suggested that individual mental processes, such as beliefs, play an important role in motivation, through the expectation of certain reinforcements for certain behaviors. Studies have shown that humans and other animals are likely to seek sensory stimulation, even where there may be no foreseeable goal. In recent years, the use of various tools for brain scanning has worked toward the discovery of a neurological basis for motivation.
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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).

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The comparatively spontaneous drive, force, or incentive, which partly determines the direction and strength of the response of a higher organism to a given situation; it arises out of the internal state of the organism.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In our study, whether there is a significant difference between the scores of the "Internal Motivation Resources" subscale, "External Motivation Resources" subscale and the "Negative Motivation Resources" subscale in MRPS and the participation to the congress was again evaluated with the Mann Whitney-U Test.
For individuals who have suffered stroke, external motivation was greater than the internal.
Control Group Variables Pre-test Post-test Amotivation 2.18 (1.20) 2.24 (1.28) External Motivation 3.98 (1.09) 3.98 (1.09) Introjected Regulation 4.64 (1.33) 4.60 (1.30) Identified Regulation 5.58 (1.00) 5.54 (.97) Intrinsic Motivation 5.83 (1.14) 5.69 (1.52) Autonomy support Group Variables Pre-test Post-test Amotivation 2.76 (1.56) 2.33 (1.42) External Motivation 3.98 (1.09) 3.95 (1.38) Introjected Regulation 4.50 (1.42) 4.89 (1.28) Identified Regulation 5.43 (1.22) 5.52 (1.11) Intrinsic Motivation 5.62 (1.44) 6.18 (.66)
The main purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of award as an external motivation source on ball throwing talent in athleticism.
Kurita and Kusumi (2009) conducted a study to examine the impact of internal and external motivation to respond without prejudice on implicit (not overtly expressed) and explicit (express externally) attitudes toward people with disabilities among 140 Japanese undergraduate students.
external motivation) analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted, with motivation treated as the within-subjects factor and certificate treated as the between-subjects factor (see Table 1).
The above 5-point bipolar scale was again adopted: -2 = external motivation (e.g., my pressure to win came from my parents), -1 = external primary and internal secondary (e.g., my pressure to win came mainly from my parents, and in some part from myself too), 0 = equal amounts of internal and external motivations (my pressure to win came from both my parents and myself), 1 = internal primary and external secondary (e.g., my pressure to win mainly came from my own needs for distinction and I know my parents will be happy too), and 2 = internal motivation (e.g., I wanted to win).
Finally, the group members decided that meetings should be held once a week to provide some external motivation for accomplishing goals and adhering to timelines.
For the regression explaining eating disorders, three blocks were entered based on the bivariate results using Forward entry: Block 1: race, Block 2: masculinity subscales (Masculinity As Sexual Behavior, Masculinity As Social Behavior), LGB identity subscales (Need For Acceptance, Identity Confusion, Negative Identity, Difficult Process, Superiority), and External Motivation for Working Out, and Block 3: number of workouts in the past week and average length of a workout session.
Additional data gleaned from this survey found that intrinsic motivation, such as working for a cause, was much more powerful than external motivation, such as a financial incentive.
The AMS includes three intrinsic motivation factors (knowledge, accomplishment, and stimulation), three external motivation factors (external, introjected, and identified), and an amotivation factor.

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