What Is Motivation?


What is motivation? Does perception affect motivation? Why or why not? What are the major sources of motivation? What is motivation? Does perception affect motivation? Why or why not? What is the relationship between motivation and behavior? How is motivation demonstrated by behavior?

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Motivation, as seen as a determinate of behavior, is the induction or causation to act (Deckers, 2005). Motivation can come from many avenues including: internal, external, psychological, and neurophysiological sources. In the discussion of free will and determines in the text Deckers seems to make it clear that “acts” do not exist apart from motivation. I have always thought that free will meant the ability to choose our motives, rather than the ability to act motive-less. Of course, we cannot act without motive. There is always a motive, whether conscious or unconscious. Furthermore, perception seems to play a mediating role between behavior-relevant intention and actual behavior. In this way, perception is a part of the autonomic processes that bring about unconscious intention, and therefore the motivation to act, albeit below awareness. 

In the simplest terms, motivation is the “why” and behavior is the “what”. Motivation explains why we do things and behavior explains what we are doing. Motivation also acts as the repository of potential energy, which can then be released in the form of kinetic energy by behavior. As to the illustration of the archer and the arrow in the book, motivation is the mental equivalent of pulling back the string on the bow…motivation is the act of releasing the arrow. Through the analysis of our actions, we can identify the underlying incentives and motivations that bring about behavior. In this way, motivational psychology is the study of means, rather than the study of ends. For the end of the means of motivation is behavior; and even though behavior plays a substantial role in motivational psychology, motivation is the cardo duplex (the hinge) of the matter. 

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Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental, Second Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 

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