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Introduction to motivation and emotion

Introduces the unit and the philosophical, theoretical and historical context of psychological understanding and investigation of motivation and emotion.

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Introduction to motivation and emotion

  1. 1. 1 Motivation & Emotion Introduction to motivation and emotion James Neill Centre for Applied Psychology University of Canberra 2017 Image source
  2. 2. 2 Introduction to motivation and emotion Reading: Reeve (2015) Ch 1 (pp. 1-25) Image source:
  3. 3. 3 Outline Based on Reeve (2015, Ch 1, p. 1)  Motivation & emotion ● Definitions ● Key questions  Motivation theory & science  Framework  Unifying themes  Solving practical problems
  4. 4. 4 Motivation and emotion: Key questions Theory Why do we do what we do? + Why do we feel the way we feel? Practice How can we change what we do? + How can we change what we feel?
  5. 5. 5 Motivation and emotion: Etymology Image source: "motivation" and “emotion” have a common root in the Latin verb: movere (to move)
  6. 6. 6 Motivation and emotion: Scientific process Reality (In all its complexity) Applications; Recommendations (How to support and enhance motivation and emotion in applied settings) Theory (Created by psychologists) Hypo- theses (Derived from theory) Data (To test the adequacy of each hypothesis) Based on Reeve (2015), Figure 1.1 Representation Application
  7. 7. 7 Motivation: Pink blobs Image source:, CC-by-A 4.0 Pink blob Pink blob Why aren't we just pink blobs? Why do we ever do anything at all?
  8. 8. 8 Motivation: Energy + Direction Motivation = processes that give behaviour energy and direction.  Energy (Strength): Behaviour's strength, intensity, and persistence.  Direction (Purpose): Behaviours aim to achieve particular purposes or goals.
  9. 9. 9 Motivational theory example: Reasons to exercise Based on Reeve (2015), Table 1.1 Why exercise? Source of motivation Fun, enjoyment Intrinsic motivation Personal challenge Flow Forced to do so External regulation Accomplish a goal Goal Health benefits Value Inspired to do so Possible self Pursuit of a standard of excellence Achievement strivings Satisfaction from a job well done Perceived competence An emotion kick Opponent process Good mood Positive afffect Alleviate guilt Introjection Relieve stress Personal control Hang out with friends Relatedness
  10. 10. 10 Motivation: Perennial questions Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 6-9) What causes behaviour? “Why did she do that?” “Why do people do what they do?” ? Why does behaviour vary in its intensity? “Why does a person behave one way in a particular situation at one time yet behave in a different way at another time?” “What are the motivational differences among individuals, and how do such differences arise?”
  11. 11. 11 Motivation: Specific questions that constitute the core problems to be solved in motivation study Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 6-7) Image source:, CC-by-SA 3.0 1.What starts behaviour? 2.Why is behaviour sustained over time? 3.Why is behaviour directed towards some goals yet away from others? 4.Why does behaviour change its direction? 5.Why does behaviour stop?
  12. 12. 12 Motivation: Sources Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 1.2, p. 9) Antecedent conditions • External events • Social contexts Internal motives Needs Cognitions Emotions Energised, goal-directed, and persistent (motivated) action
  13. 13. 13 Expressions of motivation Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 12-15) Behaviour Physiology & brain activations Engage- ment Self-report Motivation cannot be directly measured; but expressions of motivation can be measured.
  14. 14. 14 Expressions of motivation: Behaviour Based on Reeve (2015, Table 1.2, p. 13) Probability of response Choice Latency Persistence Effort Facial expressions Bodily gestures
  15. 15. 15 Expressions of motivation: Engagement Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 1.3, p. 13) . Extent of engagement Behaviour Emotion Cognition Agency • On-task behaviour • Effort • Persistence • Presence of interest, enjoyment, enthusiasm • Absence of distress, anger, anxiety, frustration ● Using sophisticated learning strategies ● Seeking conceptual understanding rather than surface knowledge ● Self-regulation, such as planning • Contributing constructively into and changing the environment for the better • Asking questions • Expressing preferences
  16. 16. 16 Expressions of motivation: Physiological & brain activity Based on Reeve (2015, Table 1.3, p. 14) Brain Hormonal Cardiovascular Ocular Electrodermal Skeletal
  17. 17. 17 Expressions of motivation: Self-report Based on Reeve (2015, p. 15)  People can typically self-report the nature of their motivation (e.g., via interview or questionnaire).  But there can be a lack of correspondence between what people say their motivations are and their behavioural and physiological expressions (unconscious motivation).
  18. 18. 18 Framework for understanding and studying motivation Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 1.4, p. 16) Antecedent conditions ● Environmental events ● Social contexts Motive status Energising, directing, and sustaining: • Behaviour • Enagement • Brain activity • Psychophysiology • Self-report Changes in life outcomes: • Performance • Achievement • Learning • Adjustment • Skill, talent • Well-being Needs Cognitions Emotions
  19. 19. 19 Motivation themes Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 16-25) Motivation benefits adaptation. Motives direct attention. Motive strengths vary over time and influence the stream of behaviour. Types of motivation exist. Motivating others requires effort to be successful. To flourish, motivation needs supportive conditions. There is nothing so practical as a good theory. Motives are intervening variables. We are not always consciously aware of motives. Motivation study reveals what people want.
  20. 20. 20 Motives vary over time & influence the ongoing stream of behaviour Based on Reeve (2009, Table 1.4, p. 15) Motivation is a dynamic process (always changing, always rising and falling) rather than a discrete event or static condition. e.g., motives influencing behaviour of a student sitting at a desk Note: The number of asterisks in column 4 represents the intensity of the aroused motive. One asterisk denotes the lowest intensity level, while five asterisks denote the highest intensity level.
  21. 21. 21 Stream of behaviour and changes in the strength of its underlying motives Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 1.6, p. 20)
  22. 22. 22 Using motivational theories to solve practical problems Based on Reeve (2009, p. 22) Practical problem Given what I know about human motivation & emotion Proposed solution/ intervention, if any a e.g., • Student dropout • Mediocre performance • Theories • Empirical findings • Practical experience • How likely is it that an intervention will have positive benefits? • Do no harm
  23. 23. 23 Understanding the motivational agent Based on Reeve (2009, Ch 1) • What is the behavioural phenomena? • What is its opposite? • Where does it come from? • Is it malleable or fixed? • What does it related to, or predict? Identifying the motivational agent underlying the practical problem (e.g., goals, efficacy, or helplessness)
  24. 24. 24 Theoretical understanding of the problem to be solved Based on Reeve (2009, Ch 1) • What is the model? (theory) • How does it work? (diagram?) • What causes the behavioural phenomena to change? Under what conditions? • What causes high and low levels of the behaviour?
  25. 25. 25 Some ways to get a better overview of motivation and emotion  Read the 17 Reeve (2015) chapter summaries.  Look through other motivation and emotion textbooks in the library.  Check out articles in the peer reviewed journal, “Motivation and Emotion”.  Explore the previous (2010-2015) books on Wikiversity.
  26. 26. 26 Summary  Key questions: Why do we do what we do, feel what we feel, and how can this be changed?  Motivation and emotion have a common etymological and theoretical root – to move  Motivation is a dynamic process which combines the external environmental context and interval motive status (needs, cognitions, and emotions) to give energy and direction to motivation as indicated by behaviour, engagement, neurological and physiological activations, and self-report.
  27. 27. 27 References  Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding motivation and emotion (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding motivation and emotion (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  28. 28. 28 Open Office Impress  This presentation was made using Open Office Impress.  Free and open source software.   This presentation was made using Open Office Impress.  Free and open source software. 