Psych 314 - Psych 314 Motivation Tuesday Why is motivation...

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Psych 314 – Motivation Tuesday, May 15, 2007 Why is motivation important? To develop an understanding of why behavior occurs; a model for explaining and predicting behavior. Controlling and influencing behavior. Interventions are based on ideas about motivation---drug treatment, parenting, weight loss. Defining motivation. Motivation is the CAUSE of behavior. Motivation is the process of activating, maintaining and directing behavior toward a given goal. Approach causes: Engage in behavior to get something we want. (you want a degree, so you go to class) Avoidant Causes: Engage in behavior to avoid something we don’t want. (you fear flunking out, so you go to class to avoid that.) Motivation is a construct : a hypothesized internal event that is not directly observed, but is tied to observable, external events. (someone is hungry, so you see how many slices of pizza they eat to measure how hungry they were) Definding Motivation—Motivation is an intervening variable : it links a stimulus and a response. Stimulus Intervening Variable Response Food deprivation Hunger Speed to McDonald’s Fundamental Concepts Activation: Behavior occurs (the effect of motivation) Direction: Which behavior is chosen from alternatives (choosing a salad or pizza) Latency: How long before a behavior is initiated (how long before you know you are hungry before you eat) Persistence: How long the individual will continue the behavior. (How likely are we willing to keep up that good behavior, if it gives us these good feelings) Feelings: Emotional reaction associated with the event. (support from a romantic partner) Individual Differences: everyone varies on how social, and their self control. The need for theory A theory is a conceptual framework that shows how variables are assumed to relate to one another. To explain an event involves applying general principles to a specific situation. Theory guides research in specific directions. Theory provides hypotheses and questions concerning behavior: Why is a student not performing well in class? Theory suggests effective methods for altering behavior: How can we enhance school performance? Characteristics of good theory Predictive ability: Provides accurate predictions of behavior. Comprehensiveness: Explains numerous observations. Simplicity: Explain in as few concepts as possible. Testability/ Falsifiability: Can be proven incorrect.
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Studying Motivation Intervening variables, such as motivation, happen within an organism. How do we study internal processes? We can directly ask people their motivations. (Why did you eat that whole pizza?) But these self reports may not reflect one’s true motivations: Internal distortion Lack of awareness of true motivation ---Want to make himself look good Researchers almost never measure motivation directly (intervening variable) Motivation is often inferred from behavior using the experimental method. (most common) The Experimental Method Derive hypotheses from theory Manipulate independent variables – 1 or 8 hours studying Measure dependent variables - % on test
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