The Bio-Social Theory of Motivation

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I was fascinated this week with the biosocial theory of motivation. I had never before considered that sex differences concerned with strength, side, and reproductive capability could so heavily leverage social behavior. I was particularly interested in the obvious yet profound observation that women are limited in the number of children they can have, but men are not (Deckers, 2005). I never thought of sexual reproduction in those terms. Then further to hypothesize that due to this discretion men are more jealous of sexual infidelity and women more concerned with emotional infidelity. This makes complete sense after reading the chapter. Since men can never be completely sure that their children are theirs, and women are always sure, men are more concerned with their women having someone else’s children and women are more concerned with losing the emotional, financial, and child-rearing support of their men. The biosocial outlook of sexual differentiation can also account for opposite-sex preferences for both males and females. Women prefer industrious and resourceful men, as mediated by societally determined social roles, and men prefer younger women. The text seems to postulate that men want younger women to ensure fertility and women prefer older, more industrious men because this type of man offers more stability for her children. Also, I was quite unimpressed with the set-point and boundary model theory of hunger. If they were true, then why are so many people over-weight? The book claimed some type of genetic predisposition towards obesity, but that seems a little simplistic. After all, there exists a biological predisposition towards homosexuality in some transsexuals and intersexuals, but that does not explain homosexual at large. In the same way, a genetic predisposition in some severely obese people does not explain the “American” tendency to become overweight, at least not in the context of set-point theory. The energy reservoir model of hunger or I have heard it called the settling-point theory of hunger, better accommodates severe obesity and anorexia nervosa. The great miracle of our bodies is that they can adapt to their surroundings. Surely the body adapts to a 6000 calorie a day diet, which presents itself as obesity. 

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

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