Download paper

Theories of Motivation in Psychology

In psychology, motivation is a mechanism that propels individuals toward some goal or destination. Motivation also has types which determine the path and the goal that can be achieved by that certain type of motivation. There are three different types of motivation: intrinsic, extrinsic, and biological.

Intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something without any clear outside rewards. You do it because it is fun and interesting, not because of an outside motivation or obligation to do something, like a reward or a deadline.

An example of intrinsic motivation would be to read a book because you like reading and have an interest in the story or subject, rather than reading to pass a test you have to write a paper about. Intrinsic motivation can be extended to all facets of your life, and it has proven to be an efficient way to boost results.

Extrinsic motivation may also be called secondary motivation, because these motives are not a desperate need but have been created by the construct of society.

Extrinsic motivation is behavior that is reward-driven. It is a form of conditioning to the operant. Operating conditioning is a type of behavior modification that uses incentives or punishments to increase or decrease the probability of reoccurrence of certain behaviors. Earning money to do a job is an example of extrinsic motivation. You may enjoy spending your day doing something other than work, but since you need a paycheck to pay for your bills, you are motivated to go to work.

Top Experts
Verified expert
4.7 (657)
Doctor Jennifer
Verified expert
5 (893)
Bella Hamilton
Verified expert
5 (234)
hire verified expert

In this case you are driven extrinsically by the opportunity to cover your everyday expenses. In return, you are doing a fixed number of hours a week to get pay. Extrinsic motivation can be effective in encouraging others to complete a task. It is important to know, before performing an incentive-based assignment, if the person doing the assignment is motivated by the incentive that is offered. Extrinsic motivators can be a valuable method when used in moderation, to help children develop new skills.

Biological motives are named as physiological motives. These motivations are important to the organism’s survival. These motivations are caused when body imbalances occur. In several of its internal physiological processes the body still appears to maintain a state of equilibrium, called homeostasis. That balance is very important to normal life. Hunger motive, thirst motive, and need for oxygen are just a few examples of physiological motives. We eat to survive. The food we take is digested and is consumed by nutrients. The biochemical processes obtain their energy from the food to sustain life. To preserve homeostasis, we establish motives for hunger. The thirst motive explains that fluids are necessary for normal functioning of our body tissues. When our body’s water level decreases, we acquire a motive to drink more water. The thirst motive is typically caused by mouth dryness. Need for oxygen is another physiological motive. Our body needs oxygen continuously. We get it through constant respiration. We cannot survive without daily oxygen supply. Lack of oxygen may result in brain injury or even death.

Cognitive perspective is the theoretical viewpoint focused on how people interpret, recall, think, communicate, and solve problems. This perspective view varies in two different ways from the behavioral perspective. First, the cognitive psychology accepts that behaviorists overlook internal mental states. Secondly, cognitive psychologists believe that memory mechanisms determine how information is interpreted, processed, stored, retrieved, and forgotten. Behavioral Perspective is the theoretical perspective which describes and explains learning and behavior in terms of the relationships between stimulus and response. Behaviorists concentrate on visible events rather than things happening within the mind of an individual such as: thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the perfect example of how a ladder is driven and how the completion of each level helps us move on to the next level. In order to achieve that particular level, we achieve the last and highest level of self-actualization. The first is the basic needs of life, the second is protection and shelter, the third is affection and acceptance, the fourth is self-esteem and ego, and the sixth is self-actualization. Personally, I am motivated by Hierarchy’s self-esteem wrung. Until now, my main aim has been to gain as much respect from others as I can to raise my confidence and reputation, which is a benefit from making things happen. That motivates me to keep working.

Cite this page

Theories of Motivation in Psychology. (2016, Jun 10). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7