Motivation. How it Works?

A person can do many activities: eating, playing, learning, collecting works of art, assaulting her peers, help, etc. A common feature of these activities is motivation, being their first chronological element.

Knowing a person’s motivation is equivalent with finding the answer to the question “why”. The answer is difficult, because the causes are multiple and can’t be reduced to external stimuli. Activity, reactions are triggered by internal causes; whole motivation was named from the Latin motivus (that moves).

For some psychologists, reason is the generic name of any component of motivation is defined as a psychological phenomenon that triggers, directs and supports the activity. Motivational components are numerous, vary in origin, mode of meeting and function, classification and their explanation is controversial. Most psychologists today accept that human motivation include needs, trends, intentions, desires, motives, interests, aspirations, beliefs.

To describe the motivation was used in psychology metaphors built on concepts borrowed from physics.

Motivation acts as a force field (Kurt Lewin) where are subject, objects, people and activities. To characterize a component of motivation was used the concept of vector possessing: size, direction and purpose. Analog physical vectors, motivational vectors are characterized by intensity, direction and purpose, properties that can be measured by certain psychological methods. Direction and meaning of a vector expresses attraction, approach or avoidance. Intensity is found in force of approach or rejection. Among active motivations can be different relations, but much more complex.

The role of motivation

Motivation is essential in physical activity and personal development:

-          is the first chronological element of any activity, its internal cause;

-          It signals physiological and psychological deficits (ex: Hunger signals decrease of blood sugar, while the need of affiliation is indicated by the feeling of loneliness).

-          Selects and activates the appropriate activities to support their own satisfaction and energy (need of affirmation of a student who starts learning activities, participation in contests).

-          Contributes by avoiding duplication of activities and altmotiora to the formation and strengthening of personal traits (the interest for music favors the capacity of melody execution).

Personality acts as a filter for some reasons: the consistent orientation are retained, the contrary are rejected.

Motivational System

Motivational components are numerous, vary as origin, way of satisfaction and functions. As stated, human motivation include needs, purposes, interests, beliefs, trends, intentions, desires and aspirations.

1. Tends are components of motivation that signal a state of psychological or physiological imbalance. They are experienced as agitation, inner alert and tension. From numerous classifications of needs most useful in explaining the behavior differences between individuals, seems to be one of A. Maslow, a American psychologist, called the pyramid of needs.(1954)

Later in 1970 he added three steps:

-          Cognitive needs: to know, understand, learn, to discover;

-          Aesthetic necessities: of order, symmetry, purity, beauty, rejection;

-          Needs of concordance: agreement between knowledge, affection and action.

American psychologist classifies needs as follows:

  1. Low needs that are present at human and animals, but satisfied by the first different and high needs specific for human and places on the top of the pyramid.
  2. Homeostasis needs and growth needs. Homeostasis is a concept borrowed from physiology and body that names tend of body to maintain constant internal environment parameters, such as a thermostat keeps the temperature in a freezer. By extension, it was used the thermometer and the relationship between person and environment. Homeostasis explains only the needs of adaptation. The needs of growth don’t follow to maintain a certain state, but reaching higher parameters, involving perfection.

Knowing the hierarchy of needs is useful in explaining behaviors because:

-          Different levels appear depending on mental development the first encompasses needs from childhood or adolescence.

-          Intensity of needs decreases from bottom;

-          A high need is not satisfied only when low needs aren’t satisfied (is hard for a professor to activate the need of knowing for his student, if necessities of food and shelter aren’t satisfied);

-          As a need is higher than more feature is proper for man.

By genesis criterion, psychologists differentiate the primary needs, innate, which tend to occur at all individuals, in all times and secondary needs gained only by some people. It was assumed that the secondary needs come from primary ones, but as form they function independent. Satisfaction of physiological needs of an infant is associated with mother’s approval. Gradually, adults’ approval is used to support the learning or walking and speaking. Child became student learns from the beginning to please parents then is absorbed by the study. The pre-teens are smoking or alcohol consumption which are activities to satisfy the necessity of peer group affiliation and then become habits. For example car was originally mean to meet the need of comfort, but has gradually become a reason for work supplements to earn more. Thus, the range of needs is in constantly expanding and differentiation, causing the appearance of previous behaviors. The unsatisfied needs lead to their extinction.

It is also possible the appearance of anomalies in the satisfaction of primary needs, so people with neurotic bulimia (excessive appetite) continue to eat, although they satisfy the need of food; it was observed that this behavior accompanies emotional deficiencies by overeating the subject compensates the need of love. In contrast, mental anorexia (lack of appetite) is supposed to be a conflict with entourage, especially with mother.

If there is any obstacle to satisfy a need, than appears a state of frustration. Responses to frustration are different, the most common being aggressive. Frustration is an inevitable phenomenon in mental life; when is moderate, it has beneficial effects on personality development. Thus the impossibility to fulfill love according to status differences can determine a hard work to climb in social hierarchy. Due to inevitable character of frustration, balanced personalities have tolerance to frustration, supporting, in certain limits, states of tension without developing pathological behaviors. There are undefined concepts relating to need.

Desire is conscious need

Trend (impulse or propensity) is a need in an excited state that causes a portion to move, spontaneous action.

Intention is tend with a higher degree of mental elaboration, oriented toward a goal.

Valence is the force of attraction or rejection exercised by things, people, activities (psychological objects) on a subject, results from interaction of object’s proprieties and needs of subject; is positive when proportions of object correspond to a need; is negative otherwise, determining the rejection.

2. Reasons are necessities so strong that cause and trigger actions that satisfy them. It has two segments corresponding to the motivation’s functions:

- Energizing segment, the force that triggers and sustains the activity (indicative-directional aspect). Vectors-reasons aren’t isolated, but form groups of reasons. In a constellation of reasons relationships are similar to those of natural forces:

- Different reasons can have the same direction and the same sense: a student studies to get high grade, because he want to establish himself in his group or he is interested in some area;

- Reasons can have different orientations, each is aimed to realize another activity; you may want to watch a show or to go in camping. Sometimes these activities are gradually when is not experienced in a subjective plan as a state of tension, and needs to be removed.

The best systematization of conflicts it is of Kurt Lewin (1931). He distinguishes:

    1. conflicts of approach – approach;
    2. conflicts of avoidance – avoidance
    3. conflicts of approach – rejection
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