Motivation and behavior relationship

Motivation | behaviour |

motivation and behavior relationship

Motivation refers to the dynamics of our behavior, which involves our needs, desires, to the need for love and the establishment of mature sexual relationships. Br J Clin Psychol. Jun;41(Pt 2) The relationship between behaviour motivation and social functioning in persons with intellectual impairment. The Relationship Between Behavior and Motivation. Separating motivation problems and behavior management problems can present a challenge for teachers.

Most research is still unable to determine whether these different types of motivation would result in different behaviors in the same environment. The Hierarchal Model of Achievement Motivation Achievement motivation has been conceptualized in many different ways.

Our understanding of achievement-relevant effects, cognition, and behavior has improved. Despite being similar in nature, many achievement motivation approaches have been developed separately, suggesting that most achievement motivation theories are in concordance with one another instead of competing.

Motivational researchers have sought to promote a hierarchal model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation by incorporating the two prominent theories: Achievement motives include the need for achievement and the fear of failure. These are the more predominant motives that direct our behavior toward positive and negative outcomes. Achievement goals are viewed as more solid cognitive representations pointing individuals toward a specific end.

There are three types of these achievement goals: A performance-approach goal is focused on attaining competence relative to others, a performance-avoidance goal is focused on avoiding incompetence relative to others, and a mastery goal is focused on the development of competence itself and of task mastery. Achievement motives can be seen as direct predictors of achievement-relevant circumstances. These motives and goals are viewed as working together to regulate achievement behavior. The hierarchal model presents achievement goals as predictors for performance outcomes.

The model is being further conceptualized to include more approaches to achievement motivation. One weakness of the model is that it does not provide an account of the processes responsible for the link between achievement goals and performance. Achievement Goals and Information Seeking Theorists have proposed that people's achievement goals affect their achievement-related attitudes and behaviors.

Two different types of achievement-related attitudes include task-involvement and ego-involvement. Task-involvement is a motivational state in which a person's main goal is to acquire skills and understanding whereas the main goal in ego-involvement is to demonstrate superior abilities Butler, One example of an activity where someone strives to attain mastery and demonstrate superior ability is schoolwork. However situational cues, such as the person's environment or surroundings, can affect the success of achieving a goal at any time.

Studies confirm that a task-involvement activity more often results in challenging attributions and increasing effort typically in activities providing an opportunity to learn and develop competence than in an ego-involvement activity.


Intrinsic motivation, which is defined as striving to engage in activity because of self-satisfaction, is more prevalent when a person is engaged in task-involved activities.

When people are more ego-involved, they tend to take on a different conception of their ability, where differences in ability limit the effectiveness of effort. Ego-involved individuals are driven to succeed by outperforming others, and their feelings of success depend on maintaining self-worth and avoiding failure.

On the other hand, task-involved individuals tend to adopt their conception of ability as learning through applied effort Butler, Therefore less able individuals will feel more successful as long as they can satisfy an effort to learn and improve. Ego-invoking conditions tend to produce less favorable responses to failure and difficulty.

Competence moderated attitudes and behaviors are more prevalent in ego-involved activities than task-involved. Achievement does not moderate intrinsic motivation in task-involving conditions, in which people of all levels of ability could learn to improve. In ego-involving conditions, intrinsic motivation was higher among higher achievers who demonstrated superior ability than in low achievers who could not demonstrate such ability Butler, These different attitudes toward achievement can also be compared in information seeking.

Task- and ego-involving settings bring about different goals, conceptions of ability, and responses to difficulty. They also promote different patterns of information seeking. People of all levels of ability will seek information relevant to attaining their goal of improving mastery in task-involving conditions. However they need to seek information regarding self-appraisal to gain a better understanding of their self-capacity Butler, On the other hand people in ego-involving settings are more interested in information about social comparisons, assessing their ability relative to others.

Self-Worth Theory in Achievement Motivation Self-worth theory states that in certain situations students stand to gain by not trying and deliberately withholding effort. If poor performance is a threat to a person's sense of self-esteem, this lack of effort is likely to occur. This most often occurs after an experience of failure.

Failure threatens self-estimates of ability and creates uncertainty about an individual's capability to perform well on a subsequent basis. If the following performance turns out to be poor, then doubts concerning ability are confirmed. Self-worth theory states that one way to avoid threat to self-esteem is by withdrawing effort. Withdrawing effort allows failure to be attributed to lack of effort rather than low ability which reduces overall risk to the value of one's self-esteem.

When poor performance is likely to reflect poor ability, a situation of high threat is created to the individual's intellect. A study was conducted on students involving unsolvable problems to test some assumptions of the self-worth theory regarding motivation and effort.

motivation and behavior relationship

The results showed that there was no evidence of reported reduction of effort despite poorer performance when the tasks were described as moderately difficult as compared with tasks much higher in difficulty. The possibility was raised that low effort may not be responsible for the poor performance of students in situations which create threats to self-esteem. Two suggestions were made, one being that students might unconsciously withdraw effort, and the other stating that students may reduce effort as a result of withdrawing commitment from the problem.

Avoidance Achievement Motivation In everyday life, individuals strive to be competent in their activities. In the past decade, many theorists have utilized a social-cognitive achievement goal approach in accounting for individuals striving for competence. An achievement goal is commonly defined as the purpose for engaging in a task, and the specific type of goal taken on creates a framework for how individuals experience their achievement pursuits.

Achievement goal theorists commonly identify two distinct ideas toward competence: Performance goals are hypothesized to produce vulnerability to certain response patterns in achievement settings such as preferences for easy tasks, withdrawal of effort in the face of failure, and decreased task enjoyment.

Most achievement goal theorists conceptualize both performance and mastery goals as the "approach" forms of motivation. Existing classical achievement motivation theorists claimed that activities are emphasized and oriented toward attaining success or avoiding failure, while the achievement goal theorists focused on their approach aspect.

More recently, an integrated achievement goal conceptualization was proposed that includes both modern performance and mastery theories with the standard approach and avoidance features. In this basis for motivation, the performance goal is separated into an independent approach component and avoidance component, and three achievement orientations are conceived: The mastery and performance-approach goals are characterized as self-regulating to promote potential positive outcomes and processes to absorb an individual in their task or to create excitement leading to a mastery pattern of achievement results.

Performance-avoidance goals, however, are characterized as promoting negative circumstances. This avoidance orientation creates anxiety, task distraction, and a pattern of helpless achievement outcomes. Intrinsic motivation, which is the enjoyment of and interest in an activity for its own sake, plays a role in achievement outcomes as well.

Most achievement theorists and philosophers also identify task-specific competence expectancies as an important variable in achievement settings. Achievement goals are created in order to obtain competence and avoid failure. These goals are viewed as implicit non-conscious or self-attributed conscious and direct achievement behavior. Approach and Avoidance Goals Achievement motivation theorists focus their research attention on behaviors involving competence.

Individuals aspire to attain competence or may strive to avoid incompetence, based on the earlier approach-avoidance research and theories. The desire for success and the desire to avoid failure were identified as critical determinants of aspiration and behavior by a theorist named Lewin.

In his achievement motivation theory, McClelland proposed that there are two kinds of achievement motivation, one oriented around avoiding failure and the other around the more positive goal of attaining success. Theorists introduced an achievement goal approach to achievement motivation more recently. These theorists defined achievement goals as the reason for activities related to competence.

Initially, these theorists followed in the footsteps of Lewin, McClelland, and Atkinson by including the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation into the structure of their assumptions. The theory argued, for example, that experiencing a dangerous event such as an automobile accident leads to bodily changes such as increased breathing and heart rate, increased adrenaline output, and so forth.

These changes are detected by the brain and the emotion appropriate to the situation is experienced. In the example of the automobile accident, fear might be experienced as a result of these bodily changes. The Cannon-Bard theory Walter B. Cannona Harvard physiologist, questioned the James-Lange theory on the basis of a number of observations; he noted that the feedback from bodily changes can be eliminated without eliminating emotion; that the bodily changes associated with many quite different emotional states are similar, making it unlikely that these changes serve to produce particular emotions; that the organs supposedly providing the feedback to the brain concerning these bodily changes are not very sensitive; and that these bodily changes occur too slowly to account for experienced emotions.

Cannon and a colleague, Philip Bard, proposed an alternative arousal theory, subsequently known as the Cannon-Bard theory. According to this approach, the experience of an event, such as the automobile accident mentioned earlier, leads to the simultaneous determination of emotion and changes to the body. The brain, upon receiving information from the senses, interprets an event as emotional while at the same time preparing the body to deal with the new situation.

Thus, emotional responses and changes in the body are proposed to be preparations for dealing with a potentially dangerous emergency situation.

The Schachter-Singer model In the American psychologists Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer performed an experiment that suggested to them that elements of both the James-Lange and Cannon-Bard theories are factors in the experience of emotion. Their cognitive-physiological theory of emotion proposed that both bodily changes and a cognitive label are needed to experience emotion completely. The bodily changes are assumed to occur as a result of situations that are experienced, while the cognitive label is considered to be the interpretation the brain makes about those experiences.

According to this view, one experiences anger as a result of perceiving the bodily changes increased heart rate and breathing, adrenaline production, and so forth and interpreting the situation as one in which anger is appropriate or would be expected. The Schachter-Singer model of emotional arousal has proved to be popular although the evidence for it remains modest.

Other researchers have suggested that bodily changes are unnecessary for the experience of emotional arousal and that the cognitive label alone is sufficient.

motivation and behavior relationship

The inverted-U function The relationship between changes in arousal and motivation is often expressed as an inverted-U function also known as the Yerkes-Dodson law. The basic concept is that, as arousal level increases, performance improves, but only to a point, beyond which increases in arousal lead to a deterioration in performance.

Thus some arousal is thought to be necessary for efficient performance, but too much arousal leads to anxiety or stress, which degrades performance. The search for a biological mechanism capable of altering the arousal level of an individual led to the discovery of a group of neurons nerve cells in the brain stem named the reticular activating systemor reticular formation. These cells, which are found along the center of the brain stem, run from the medulla to the thalamus and are responsible for changes in arousal that move a person from sleeping to waking.

Sleep processes and stress reactions Research on arousal mechanisms of motivation has furthered understanding of both sleep processes and stress reactions. In the case of sleep, arousal levels generally seem lower than during waking; however, during one stage of sleep arousal levels appear highly similar to those in the waking state.

Sleep itself may be considered a motivational state. The biological motivation to sleep can become so overpowering that individuals can fall asleep while driving an automobile or while engaged in dangerous tasks. Five stages of sleep have been defined using the electroencephalograph EEG. The EEG records the electrical activity of neurons in the outermost portion of the brain known as the cerebral cortex.

According to EEG-based findings, everyone cycles through five stages during sleep. A complete cycle averages approximately 90 minutes. The two most interesting stages of sleep from a motivational point of view are stages 4 and 5.

Stage 4 represents the deepest sleep in that the brain-wave activity as measured by the EEG is farthest from the activity seen when a person is awake. The brain-wave pattern is characterized by delta waves, which are large, irregular, and slow; breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure are also reduced.

Because the overall activity of the individual in stage 4 is greatly reduced, it has been suggested by some researchers that stage 4 and perhaps also stage 3 sleep serves a restorative function. However, a potential problem with such an explanation is that stage 4 sleep drops dramatically after age 30 and may be entirely absent in some people aged 50 or over who nevertheless appear to be perfectly healthy.

Additionally, studies have shown that in the typical individual physical exhaustion does not lead to increases in stage 4 sleep as might be expected if it were serving a restorative function. The purpose of stage 4 sleep remains unknown.

motivation and behavior relationship

Stage 5 sleep is also known as rapid eye movement REM sleep because during this stage the eyes begin to move rapidly under the eyelids. Interest in stage 5 sleep has been considerable since it was discovered that most, if not all, dreaming occurs during this stage. During stage 5 sleep the EEG pattern of brain-wave activity appears very similar to the brain-wave activity of an awake, alert person.

Breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure rise from the low levels observed during stage 4 and can fluctuate rapidly. In addition to eye movements, fast, small, and irregular brain waves, and autonomic changes indicative of an aroused state, individuals in stage 5 sleep display a large loss in skeletal muscle tone that amounts to a temporary paralysis.

Another aspect of arousal processes concerns the high levels of arousal leading to a triggering of the stress reaction. The stress reaction can be triggered by a challenge to the physical integrity of the body, or it can occur as a result of some psychological challenge.

Furthermore, the body appears to react in a similar fashion regardless of whether the demands made upon it are physical or psychological. Hans Selyea Viennese-born Canadian medical researcher, showed that stressors trigger a chain of processes that begins with what is called the alarm reaction, may proceed to a second stage called the stage of resistance, and, if the stressor has still not been removed, may lead to a final stage called exhaustion.

The alarm reaction occurs when a stressor is first detected and activates a brain structure called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus, in turn, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and also produces a substance called corticotropin-releasing hormone that activates the pituitary to produce adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH. Both ACTH and activation of the sympathetic nervous system stimulate the adrenal gland s. ACTH stimulates the adrenals to produce hydrocortisone, or cortisolan anti-inflammatory substance, while the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the centre portion of the adrenals to produce epinephrine and norepinephrine adrenaline and noradrenaline.

All these hormone s are secreted into the bloodstream and have the effect of mobilizing the body to deal with the stressor. This initial mobilization is a whole-body response and leads to increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration and other responses associated with high arousal.

The person so aroused is, in effect, in a high state of readiness. The alarm reaction often succeeds in changing the situation so that the stressor is no longer present, as would be the case, for example, if one were to run away from a physical threat. During this stage the ability to fight off the stressor is high and may remain so for considerable periods of time. If these localized responses to a stressor prove to be inadequate, eventually the third stage of stress, that of exhaustion, will be triggered, during which hormonal levels rise once more and the whole body becomes mobilized again.

Selye proposed that if the stressor is not quickly defeated during this last stage, the individual can become withdrawn, maladjusted, and even die. This three-part mechanism for coping with a stressor is called the general adaptation syndrome and appears to have evolved primarily to deal with systemic stressors.

As noted earlier, however, this same set of processes is also triggered by psychological stressors and is often inappropriate to the situation. For example, the stress of an important upcoming test can trigger the alarm reaction, yet it is not apparent how increased levels of hydrocortisone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine would facilitate removing the stress-provoking test. It has been suggested that overstimulation of the stress response, in which psychological stressors produce physical changes in the body, can lead to psychosomatic illness.

When the stress response, especially the alarm reaction, is triggered too often, it can lead to physical deterioration. The relationship between stress and illness has been investigated most thoroughly in regard to the effect life changes have on the likelihood of subsequent illness. The pioneer in the field was Adolph Meyera Swiss-born American psychiatrist.

Several life-change scales have been developed that measure the number and severity of various life changes, such as the death of a spouse, divorce, retirement, change in living conditions, and so forth.

High scores on these scales have been found to be consistently associated with an increased probability of future illness, although the relationship is not especially strong. Presumably the life changes lead to increased stress, which in turn promotes an increased likelihood of illness. Some research has also been conducted on the ways in which the negative effects of stressors can be reduced.

A personality characteristic called hardiness has been associated with the ability to better withstand the effects of stress. People who score high in hardiness appear to have high levels of commitment toward the things they do, a strong need to control the events around them, and a willingness to accept challenges.

These characteristics may serve to protect individuals from the effects of stress related to major life changes. Exercise, especially in conjunction with hardiness, was reported to relieve stress stemming from physiological and psychological causes.

Other factors unrelated to hardiness, such as social support from others, optimism, and humour in the face of difficulty, also have been reported to reduce the stressful effects of life changes.

The Relationship Between Behavior and Motivation

Biological monitoring systems For some basic motives such as hunger, thirst, and sex, a biological approach emphasizing regulatory mechanisms has dominated the thinking of researchers. The fundamental premise has been that such basic motives are homeostatically regulated—that is, the nervous system monitors levels of energy, fluid balance, and hormone production in the case of sex and alters motivation when these levels deviate too far from some optimum level.

Hunger The question of why we eat when we do appears to involve two separate mechanisms. The first mechanism, typically called short-term regulation, attempts to take in sufficient energy to balance what is being expended. It is usually assumed that time between meals and meal size are determined by this short-term mechanism. A second mechanism, called long-term regulation, is directed toward storing away sufficient energy for possible later use should the short-term mechanism fail to adequately replenish energy expended.

Chapter 11. The Relationship Between Behavior and Motivation

Energy for long-term use is stored in the form of fat within the fat cells of the body. Short-term regulation processes have generally been assumed to monitor the blood glucose blood sugar level and to initiate eating when this level falls below some predetermined optimum. Long-term regulation processes appear to monitor fat levels and to initiate eating when fat stores fall below some optimal level.

Explanations of short-term regulation of hunger motivation have revolved around two basic ideas. The earlier of these two, known as the local theory of hunger, suggested that the hunger signals that initiate eating originate in the gastrointestinal tractspecifically the stomach.

Hunger pangs were thought to be the result of stomach contractions. Considerable research has shown that such an analysis is inadequate to explain hunger motivation. For example, it is known that much of the stomach can be removed without the loss of hunger motivation. Similarly, it is known that severing the vagus nervewhich causes stomach contractions to cease, does not eliminate the experience of hunger.

When it became apparent that the local theory of hunger was incomplete, researchers began to look for the hunger-initiating mechanism in the brain. It was quickly discovered that the hypothalamusa small structure lying below the thalamus of the brain, is involved in the regulation of eating.

Damage to the ventromedial lower, middle area of the hypothalamus produces a condition known as hyperphagiain which animals overeat and gain enormous amounts of weight.

Damage to a different area known as the lateral hypothalamus located on the sides of the hypothalamus produces a total lack of eating known as aphagiaas well as a lack of drinking, or adipsia. It was assumed that these two areas share in the control of hunger motivation by activating and deactivating hunger as glucose levels within the blood change. It was further assumed that the specialized cells glucoreceptors monitoring the levels of blood glucose reside in these two hypothalamic areas.

This belief was weakened, however, when these glucoreceptors could not definitely be located in the brain. Additional research suggests that such glucoreceptors may reside in the liver, where new arrivals of glucose are first received and whence signals about glucose content are sent to these hypothalamic areas.

Less is known about the long-term regulation of hunger motivation, but one suggestion has been that there exists in each individual a genetically programmed body-weight set point that determines how much energy is stored away as fat within the fat cells. According to this theory, hunger motivation would serve to keep individuals close to this set point, even though the fat level maintained may not be what the individual desires nor what society dictates as beautiful or healthy.

Such a system would help to explain why weight loss is so hard to maintain in many persons. Thirst Processes similar to the physiological control mechanisms of hunger are thought to regulate thirst motivation and sexual behaviour. In the case of thirst, the desire to drink appears to be initiated by fluid loss from within specialized brain cells known as osmoreceptor s and also from fluid loss from the area outside of cells, such as from bleeding.

motivation and behavior relationship

Thirst, therefore, would seem to be triggered by mechanisms controlling the fluid integrity both within and around the cells of the body. Cells within the hypothalamus also seem to be involved in the control of thirst motivation. Sexual motivation In most animals sexual motivation is under stricter hormonal control than is the case in humans.

The female of most species is not interested in sexual behaviour until cyclic hormonal changes produce estrus.

The male, however, is usually sexually ready but is prevented from engaging in sexual behaviour by the female until estrus occurs. Research indicates that the anterior front portion of the hypothalamus is involved with the estrous cycle of female mammals; it has been demonstrated that destruction of these hypothalamus cells eliminates estrus.

Similarly, destruction of the anterior region of the hypothalamus reduces or eliminates sexual behaviour in male rats. Since hormone replacement therapy in both males and females is ineffective in reestablishing sexual behaviours reduced by anterior hypothalamic damage, it has been suggested that this region contains receptors sensitive to changes in the levels of circulating sex hormones.