Human Motivation Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 February 2017

Human Motivation

  1. On page 227 of your text you will find Figure 8-6. Provide two scenarios for two different hypothetical people showing the two possible outcomes, two possible paths for the same frustrated need. Summarize the two, comparing and contrasting the experiences in the scenarios. Create a box table for each with summaries for each. Then, provide, in paragraph format, an explicit explanation of similarities and differences. Each table should have two explanations along with descriptions and references to your text and/or other readings. Cite all references following correct APA style (5th edition).

            In explaining the behavior of people, we start our description with reference to some kind of active driving force: the individual seeks, the individual wants, the individual fears. Various psychologists describe motivation, in other words, as the driving force behind our behavior (Atkinson, et al. 1983). Smith, et al. labels their discussion on motivation as the “Why” of behavior (1982). Why does the tardy student in mathematics spend the rest of the period outside instead of inside the mathematics classroom? Emotions or strong feelings usually accompany motivated behavior.  Often, emotions direct behavior toward goals (Atkinson, et al. 1983). This paper briefly describes and explains the origin/causes, and distinction of motivation and different scenarios linking motivation and other concepts.

            Motives, according to Marx, originate either from a biological or a physiological source, or from an environmental influence. A motive may arise from a biological need for food or water which will drive an individual to seek food when hungry or drink when thirsty. The tissues of the human body need these to function continuously. It will cease to live without sufficient nourishment. The hormonal substances in the blood which activate certain parts of the nervous system are other biological sources, for instance, the sex drive which is due to the presence of hormones secreted by the reproductive glands, the ovaries (in the female), and the testes present in the male (1976).

            Moreover, motives may also be caused by environmental influence. We react strongly to social acceptance so we want to acquire an appliance or any other thing that we see in others especially if we can afford them. Companies offering high salaries attract employees from other firms that give low wages (Atkinson, et al. 1983).

            A predominant view is that human motivation comes from either a small number of basic urges or even one basic urge and that all aspire for family prestige, social status, and security (Morris and Maisto, 1999, p. 315).

~Internal and External Classification of Motivation

            Psychology recognizes different perspectives of motivation. One of these viewpoints pertains to the idea of “motivational inducements,” otherwise known as incentives. Incentives are referenced from either the vantage point of internal, or that of external motivation. An inducement coming from within the individual is called intrinsic or internal motivation. It is, according to Morris and Maisto, about the “. . . desire to perform a behavior that originates within the individual.” An inducement coming from outside the individual is called external or extrinsic motivation. It is the aspiration to do or achieve a goal in order to acquire a type of incentives or escape or steer clear of punishment (Morris and Maisto, 1999, p.316).

Children are often induced by the presence of external incentives to perform expected tasks or avoid incurring punishment. For motivation experts, however, a person developing the internal type of motivation will reap more lasting and beneficial effects compared with external motivation (1999). To induce a child to do what the parents ask for by way of rewards or threats are at times less constructive or even detrimental to the overall performance of the person or child.

  1. Fear is a strong component of human motivation. Explain the numerous roles of fear in both positive and negative impact situations on human motivation you have studied this term. Be specific and cite all references in correct APA style (5th edition). Create real-life examples for each role of fear to support your position(s). Develop your scenarios to include the application of theory. Thoroughly develop your scenario.

            Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain; a specific instance of or propensity for fear; concern or anxiety, solicitude” (Random House Webster’s Dictionary, 4th Ed.). Where fear is concerned, though it is deemed as a negative emotional state by many, life will become unreal. This paper will try to explain why fear is essential to an individual’s healthy outlook. Weighing on the polarities of this particular affect, one will see the necessity of this kind of emotion which is processed by the body’s amygdala.

Although social psychology literature is extensive, there are yet inconclusive evidences as to how fear actually work towards its positive effect. Volumes of literature attest to both positive and negative effects of fear especially in its role to convince. Because of this, it is very important that one examines the specific instances where fear can be said to be effective in positive manner as well as in a negative way. The following scenarios will, at the least, illustrate where fear is helpful, and where it is detrimental or destructive.

            In the study of anti-nuclear recruiting to raise concern on a possible nuclear holocaust, it is said that the matter about nuclear use is so prevalent these days that common people, when presented with the threat of its use, tend to shrug off the idea and need to be convinced of the danger it poses (Sandman & Valenti, 1986). Why the indifference?  Inspite of the campaigns of nuclear “Armageddon,” the majority of people still seemed to be apathetic about any threat at all. Perhaps, according to studies, people already get beyond fear to numbness. In the study by Sandman and Valenti, the authors said that this has something to do with what they termed as “likely occurrence” versus “horrible consequence.”

They cited as an example the success of drunken driving campaigns due to the likelihood of losing one’s driver’s license rather than losing a life (which is an instance of horrible consequence). How is this so? These authors said that to terrify a person who is already afraid will be of no use to that person. The likelihood of a horrible consequence, probably to most people, is not that immediate. The common response is apathy. So the best approach to this situation according to Sandman and Valenti is reassurance-the reinforcement of what they call the four “antidotes” namely, “anger, hope, love and action.”

This implies simply that fear in this instance is negative in effect. Fear has to be reduced when it comes to scenarios like recruiting people to take up commitment and/or advocacy towards certain important matters of concern like the threat of nuclear war.  To sustain the cause, the four aforementioned agenda will be the likely steps taken rather than inducing fear or “terrorizing the terrorized with more terror” (Sandman & Valenti, 1986).

            It is also maintained that fear is indispensable and a fact of life. If truth be told, more often, studies would show its efficacy in persuading people to action or to some to change their minds on something or someone. This happens to political campaigns where some PR managers become household names also due to their ability to introduce a virtually unknown person and catapult them to notoriety. This may entail a positive or negative implication, depending on the perceptions of people and the motives or machinations of those wanting to be in the limelight. How will fear appeal be very effective and its use in persuasive communication be ethically and morally right or justified? Here is a scenario: a certain school whose graduating class of 29 students filed a complaint on one of its faculty, citing misconduct unbecoming of someone in authority on the basis of corruption.

They submitted a detailed account of what transpired during a semester with this certain professor in their department. When confronted with the dean regarding the response made by the professor, and the possibility of court cases filed against the whole class, the students decided to make a retraction of their complaints. Their lame excuse was that given their naïveté or inexperience, the college and the authorities (including the accused professor) then investigating them, should look into the charges they made against the professor as mere questions in need of answers and not as accusatory gestures that are morally and professionally damaging to the concerned professor. They have decided to retract, corporately, because their adviser enlightened them of the repercussions of their written complaint (i.e., possible non-graduation, and a host of other possible consequences).

This is a picture of an effective fear appeal. Their retraction did not mean they have changed their prejudiced mind against the professor, rather, their immediate concern is their graduation which is barely two months away, and the possibility of a smeared reputation when time comes they will be applying for work. This illustration gives an example of the kind of fear appeal where the Stage model (Das, 2001) is applied. The students in the illustration responded to this appeal positively, although it was only short term. They responded positively because they had their graduation in mind which is upcoming.

            As Enny Das states it, human beings act the way they do because of underlying motivations (Das, 2001). Fear is an important factor in the way people act and decide. In the first scenario, fear is portrayed as negative in effect to certain cases such as anti nuclear campaigns recruitment. According to social scientists, there are behavioral and attitudinal changes that work temporarily and others permanently or in a considerable length of time. Where the first scenario is concerned, advocates for the awareness of anti-nuclear holocaust and recruitment of activists for their cause have this problem before them: how to convince people from their “numbness” to action and stay on with it.

As Sandman and Valenti proposed it, the procedures they advocated, instead of high dose of fear, a good measure of reassurance based on anger, love, hope and action, (“4 antidotes of numbness”) should be followed (Sandman, Valenti, 1986). This makes sense according to the Dual-process model, where it is “postulated that systematic processing of a persuasive message will result in more stable attitudes, intentions, and behavior” (Das, 2001). However, people should perceive a certain degree of possible threat/danger if they are to process the information systematically and hence, maintain a long term coping of that threat/danger.

            The second scenario is best explained based on the Stage model of fear appeals. It assumes that individuals process the information on a “heuristic processing of subsequently presented recommendation” which is predictably less lasting in a period of time (Das, 2001). Considering that the second scenario, referring to their decision to retract from their complaints only because of an impending graduation which is threatened by the case they filed on the alleged professor, is actually a very unstable decision, and understandably will only weaken in the passing of time (Das, 2001).

            The study of fear and its effects continue to arrest curiosity and interest as well as confusion. There needs to be more studies to discover how the occurrence of attitude and behavioral changes where fear appeals are concerned, affects decision making whether positively, to the advantage of the individual, or negatively, to the detriment or disadvantages of the one paralyzed by fear. It is assumed that scenarios like these will continue to attract both enthusiasts and experts alike in the study of behavior.

  1. Explain the role of learning in human motivation. Provide at least three (3) examples that specifically tie learning to human motivation and the reduction of stress, improved happiness, and self-esteem. (Three separate scenarios.) Your explanation should be well developed and the examples should be specific. Cite all references in correct APA style (5th edition).

            Motivation is behind every behavior. The principle of cause-effect is apparent in the study of motivation and behavior: motivation is the cause or the “why”, and behavior is the effect. Thus it is motivation that gives direction and thrust to our behavior. Without motivation, behavior may not occur (Halonen and Santrock, 1999).

            A common family friend one day told me she wanted my advice, whether she’ll break up with her boyfriend or stay on with him and wait for him to change. Her problem was that whenever they disagree or fight, her boyfriend (we’ll call him “Raymond”) ends up pinching her to the point that he was actually physically hurting her. It is something very interesting to think about because of all things that a man would do to his sweetheart, pinching her seems strange and extraordinary. I couldn’t help asking her why “Raymond” is that way. What are the forces behind this seemingly love and hate relationship? What drives Raymond to do this precise act towards his girlfriend? Did he learn it or is it innate?

            Psychology seeks to understand human behavior with the following 4 or 5 goals in mind. These are description, explanation, prediction, control, and improvement (Atkinson et al, 2000). Analyzing the given scenario with my friend, I just was able to describe the event and the occasions that led him to do it. However, it does not suffice to say that just because he is hurt in some ways by his girlfriend that he would resort to doing such a thing as pinching. It would be a lot clearer if we start to examine his behavior in the light of possible reasons basing on the need theory and the learning theory (Halonen and Santrock, 1999).

1.      Need Theory –

            A need is defined as a specific state within the organism that may activate behavior to satisfy the need; they are often related to the depletion of essential body substances; a state or condition which indicates the lack or something vital or desired which the organism will strive to obtain; it can also mean the existence of an unpleasant condition, which has to be relieved or eliminated.

            In the case of “Raymond,” his pinching behavior can be interpreted as his way of relieving or eliminating an unpleasant feeling or condition (i.e. he has anger management problem that he couldn’t guide his emotions to a more benign and less destructive manner), that unless he gets it off his system, a more violent reaction might occur, so the pinching is for him so minor, that he can do it anytime to his girlfriend. Usually, in cases like Raymond’s behavior, the individual does not possess the skills in channeling strong and powerful emotions and communicating such in the right manner.

2.      Learning Theory – Observational or Social Learning

            To explain Raymond’s behavior, I will start by elaborating on the theory by Bandura and alongside illustrating and illuminating the behavior of the pinching individual.

            Social learning theorist Albert Bandura has run experiments that show we acquire operants by observing the behavior of others. We may need some practice to refine the skills we acquire by observation. We may choose to allow these skills to lie latent. For example, we may not imitate aggressive behavior unless we are provoked and believe that we are more likely to be rewarded than punished for it. Observational learning may account for most human learning. It is not mechanically acquired through reinforcement. We can learn by observation without engaging in overt responses at all. It appears sufficient to pay attention to the behavior of others. To explain how this occurs, Bandura suggests that four mental processes must be in operation; these processes are necessary for observation learning (Bandura, 1986).

            “Attention.” The observer must pay attention to what the model says or does.

In all likelihood, “Raymond” may have spent his younger days in the hands and example of a mother who actually specifically would pinch him whenever he misbehaves. Probably, those years were for him troublesome, knowing that a mother oftentimes displays this behavior or act out of sheer frustration, at times not because the child actually misbehaves. He was probably doing what every normal child would do that time. His mother could have been laden with so many things to do and lacked the patience or time to understand the needs of her children (Bandura, 1986).

            “Memory.” The observer must store or remember the information so that it can be retrieved and used later. In Raymond’s case, because he practically grew up in the “apron strings” of his mother, it’s not surprising that he would manifest many characteristics of his mother. Raymond’s memory would necessarily be traced back to the years he had experienced under her (Bandura, 1986).

            “Imitation.” The observer must be able to use the remembered information to guide his or her own actions and thus imitate the model’s behavior. Although Raymond has now a choice over his acts whenever he felt provoked, he seemed “tied” to the responses his mother made years ago, thus displaying the same behavior (Bandura, 1986).

            “Motivation.” The observer must have some reason, reinforcement, or incentive to perform the model’s behaviors. Raymond must probably feel that the “pinching” is justifiable and quite normal because that was what he’d experienced with his mother. When he felt being provoked by the girlfriend, the physical reaction could have been a natural consequence to him (Bandura, 1986).

            The major theories presented here have helped us understand the kind of behavior that the person in the scenario was doing towards the girl. Theories have their way of making us comprehend things, situations and behavior better. Because of this, we are able to make necessary adjustments, and lessen potential conflicts at the very least. It allows us also the opportunity to gain insights on the way people behave, what makes them tick, or what sets them off.

  1. A key element in Human Motivation involves one’s ability apply existing knowledge to a problem. We call this creativity. Your text actually provides a process of creativity. Your task is to:
    1. Delineate a real-life problem associated with your work or something you have experienced. You must define this problem completely. Make yourself a disinterested observer and omit no detail.
    2. Synthesize the data. DeBono (1970, 1987) terms this process “finding redundancies” and calls it lateral thinking. You are going to identify patterns in your scenario. This is the heart of the creative process.
    3. Then, you will suspend judgment; leave your opinions of the situation out of the process. Think of this as a game and devise at least three (3) options for your scenario.
    4. Last, explain how motivation is linked in each of the options.


            The real-life problem that is to be explored here has something to do with two colleagues who play “serious” parts or roles in the dynamics of office work. Their mutual animosity has exceeded civility that it has engulfed us their co-workers, and even each of our respective families. Whenever they are around, all of us have to make sure that no favoritism is shown to any. Nevertheless, it is precisely this stance that further places the rest of us in trouble. One of the antagonists, let’s call him Troy “the Rat”, is the senior of the rest of us who are in this department. His archenemy, whom he name-calls as the “trying-hard to look like tough” guy, we call Bart. Bart is not your typical officemate also. He is not the very outspoken and gregarious, happy-go-lucky person nor the touchy type. But he knows malice if he meets one. Their problem is already more than ten years old. They have had their first series of encounters that ended up in lawsuit. Their relationship didn’t improve, expectedly, after that period. This time around, the matter between them was revived and had escalated with another series of lawsuits. I was caught in the middle of this conflict as much as the others in the department. Troy “the rat” wanted us to take his side to pin Bart down saying that the latter was a malicious person bent on destroying a reputable colleague whose work and influence had made contributions though not as much as that of Troy. Bart, on the other hand, was knowledgeable about the manipulations and tongue wagging unimaginable in the military that Troy had been doing all these years to put Bart outside the “group,” or the inner circle in the institution where he had been “first.” In my judgment, though Bart had lapses of his own, I have not encountered nor observed him as a person who had as much malevolence as Troy. Both had wanted anyone of us in the department to sympathize and rally to either of their “causes,” and overtly, not one of us showed to the rest of the institution that we had taken sides. However, privately, we had our sympathies for Bart because his clout is not that extensive as Troy; Bart’s fight was just almost always to defend himself in the wake of the accusations that Troy had tried to hurl against him.

~Synthesize the data. DeBono (as cited in Franken, 2007) terms this process “finding redundancies” and calls it lateral thinking. You are going to identify patterns in your scenario. This is the heart of the creative process.
            The whole scenario with Troy, Bart and the rest of us in the department embroiled in the dispute reached its peak just a few months ago. Recently, Troy because of his belief that we were not deeply supportive of him, accused the whole department of conspiracy against him. Although he had the appearance of respectability, Troy however, is a very good “actor,” who plays his part well. Because his accusation of conspiracy was not effective, he tried other ways. Through text messages and sarcasm he began to intimidate each of us personally and privately. He somehow managed to know some important details or weaknesses in each of us to weaken us down. Members of our department were at our lowest point in the working relationship and morale within the workplace. It was a very difficult time.

            The problem with these two colleagues did not just start with any one of them as individuals although their idiosyncrasies and even their personal, family or private lives are surely crucial factors in the dynamics of office work. Looking at the whole dilemma from start to the more recent clashes, Troy and Bart’s conflict which now involved us, was firstly, a leadership responsibility. If then, during the early times that those who oversee the department had keen understanding of people’s behavioral inclinations or types, who cared enough to address the early signs of trouble that arises in a specific workplace, and had the decisive facility to impose certain boundaries and discipline either or both of them and those involved then, this was surely a thing of the past. What the person (Troy or Bart) was certainly has bearing in whatever will continue to develop in future relationships, responsibilities, and possible frictions that normally are present in any work setting.

~Then, you will suspend judgment; leave your opinions of the situation out of the process. Think of this as a game and devise at least three (3) options for your scenario.

  • Discipline both Troy and Bart. Impose sanctions for the way the conflict between them had been allowed to escalate. Probably suggest suspension, leave of absence for a definite period of time so the whole office can breathe.
  • Because I am not the department head, a meeting is to occur (or a series of meetings) just for the sole purpose of brainstorming on the viable alternatives to restore the two to a more civil relationship. If they will not acquiesce to what will be decided by the group, then everyone in the department will make a resolution to recommend the two for further investigation by the institution’s disciplinary council and even propose their dismissal should they not accede to the department/institution’s guidelines or decisions.
  • Leave them to fight their battles between them because they are adults and can fend for each of themselves.

~ Last, explain how motivation is linked in each of the options.

  • The implications for option one is that when there is outright or decisive action to make the two answerable for the fiasco will provide a sharp curb to their ongoing hostility. In understanding human nature, when a person’s ego is touched with matters that the case between Troy and Bart will be exposed as behaving like children and needed to be out rightly disciplined, it will unmask their vulnerability to society’s approval and disapproval. This is based on Affiliation motive, and what they will lose is Esprit de corps-the feeling of being part of a sympathetic group, only this time, not just one of them will stand lose it, but the both of them (Morris & Maisto, 1999, p.318)
  • This has something to do with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What will happen here is to make the threat of losing years of hard work and establishment of a career in one institution to end up in disgrace because then, the two should have been dismissed for the trouble they brought to the whole department. In Maslow’s theory, if everything that mattered to any of them is pulled under them, then they will think deep with how they will have to make compromises in order that their source of livelihood (Maslow’s first level Physiological needs) will be at stake. Secondly, when their sense of esteem is also threatened, then they will be pushed to think through with pulling down not only each other, but also the others in the workplace (Morris & Maisto, 1999, p.317)
  • A sense of acceptance for many pervades whenever clashes between people who seemed to be influential, quite strong and resistive to advices, and who have made up their minds as to the recourse they were taking. It is to understand that people have what psychology calls as Aggression motive. Some experts on human behavior look at this particular trait or behavior as an inherent force within people that is intended to be redirected to more positive or beneficial outcomes (Morris & Maisto, 1999, p.319)


            Essentially, the role of motivation in a person’s life is crucial to the understanding of human activities. Motivation is never static because in life, there always presents a dynamic and changing pattern of needs. Internal and external motivation provides in brief, an astute way of explaining the “why’s” of people’s behaviors. No wonder then, that in general, educators handle pupils or learners in the light of this ideation.


Atkinson, Rita L., Richard C. Atkinson, and Ernest R. Hilgard. 1983. Introduction to Psychology. 8th ed., New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Das, Enny Henrica Helena Johanna . 2001. How fear Appeals Work: motivational biases in the processing of fear-arousing health communications.

Franken, Robert E. Human Motivation, 6th ed.

King, N. 1970. Clarification and evaluation of the two-factor theory of job satisfaction. Psychological Bulletin, 74, 18-31.

Lazaro, P. M. Palma, BB. Azcona, P. Cardona, N. Chinchilla, 2000. From individual motivation to organizational compensation: the physician’s perspective. Annu Meet Int Soc Technol Assess Health Care Int Soc Technol Assess Health Care Meet. 2000; 16: 224. Health Services Research Unit, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; International School of Business, Barcelona, Spain. Accessed September 21, 2007

Llewellyn, David J. 2003. The Psychology of Risk Taking. Accessed in

Marx, Melvin H. 1976. Introduction to Psychology: Problems, Procedures, and Principles. Columbia: Collier MacMillan.

Morris, Charles G., Maisto, Albert A., 1999. Understanding Psychology.4th ed., Prentice Hall: New Jersey, pp.315-316.

Random House Webster’s Dictionary. 2001. 4th Ed., Ballantine Books, New York.

Sandman, Peter M., JoAnn M.Valenti. 1986. Scared Stiff – or Scared into Action..    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.New York. P.12-16 accessed in

Smith, Ronald E., Sarason, I.G., and Sarason, B.R. 1982. Psychology: The Frontiers of Behavior.2nd Ed. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.

______ . 2007. Employee motivation, the organizational environment and productivity. ACCEL. Accessed Sept. 21, 2007 <>

_______. 2007. Organizational Motivation. Chapter 4.Accessed Sept. 21, 2007.<>

Free Human Motivation Essay Sample


  • Subject:

  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 17 February 2017

  • Words:

  • Pages:

Let us write you a custom essay sample on Human Motivation

for only $16.38 $13.9/page

your testimonials