Okay. Let’s get into motivation.
What motivates you?
What makes you do the things that you do?
So let’s, right off the top, take
a look at a couple of things
that could potentially
The first is instincts.
So these are things that you do,
behaviors that are innate are
things that are not learned,
and these are present across all
the individuals within a species.
So let’s look at something
simple like humans,
you know, what are some of the
things that all humans do
regardless of where they’re from,
what culture they belong to
So these are innate behaviors
and it represents a
contribution of genetic info,
which predisposes species
to a particular behavior.
So in English, what we’re saying here is
all individuals that belong to that species
are predisposed to doing that thing.
So some examples,
in young babies they come out
and when they enter the world,
one of the first things they
do is the sucking behavior,
whether it’s their thumb or
their mom’s breast or a bottle,
that’s one of the behaviors
that they automatically do.
That’s not something they’re taught,
they just know how to do it.
And the kangaroos, the baby is going into
the little pouch, the kangaroo pouch.
So again, the mother is not telling the
baby kangaroo to get into my pouch,
it just knows to do that.
Imprinting in chicks, the little
baby chicks that follow the mother,
they just know how
to do these things.
So these would be examples
of innate behaviors.
Now, a lot of the things that we do,
the things that motivate us are
linked around levels of arousal.
So what am I talking about there?
So arousal, again, does not refer to the
usual term arousal feeling sexually aroused,
we’re talking about arousal
in terms of brain activity.
So humans have an optimal level
at which of arousal that you want
and that’s unique
for each person.
So what makes me
work at my best,
the optimum level of arousal
might be different for you.
And so we have the spectrum,
so if you look at this graph here we can
see it goes all the way from low to high
in terms of level of arousal on the bottom
axis, and the Y-axis you have performance.
So we’re looking at how well are
you doing at a specific task.
Now, on the low end, you’re
really not aroused at all.
You’re extremely lethargic,
you’re doing nothing,
you’re sitting on the
sofa looking at the sky.
Okay. So that’s pretty boring, you know,
it might make you want to go to sleep
and you’re not going to really perform well
at any task other than just sitting there.
Now, as you increase level of arousal,
you’re going to see as you
move down the spectrum,
we’re going to get to a
point where you’re getting
mildly alerted and your
Then we get to the sweet
spot that we call,
where you’re optimally aroused
and at that point that was
the best that you will do at the
task that’s in front of you.
Anything above and beyond that, you’re now
actually going to cause some detriments,
so you might start getting stressed out,
you just might start feeling anxious.
You might on the far end
be completely panicking
and having a meltdown saying, “This is too
much. I can’t do this, I can’t do this.”
So it’s funny because this motivates
us to modify our behavior
to stimulate and increase arousal.
So if you’re on the low
end of the spectrum,
behaviorally you’re going to do things
that will increase your level of arousal,
and if you’re on the high end where you’re
completely stressed out and anxious,
you’re going to pull back.
“I need to take a break. I
need five minutes to myself,”
or “Let me go into the
room and catch my breath,”
so that you can get back
down to a level that’s
closer to your sweet spot
or the optimum level.
It’s kind of funny you
even see this with babies.
Well, you’d think all of their
needs are taken care of,
they’re fed, they got
a clean diaper on,
so they should just
theoretically stay put.
But what do they do? They get up,
they walk around, they explore.
That’s because they actually don’t
have the appropriate level of arousal
so they want to constantly be
exploring and looking around
to push themselves,
and we do the same.
Sitting at any one place
for a long period of time,
you start to want to explore, look around
and trying to do different things.
Now, overstimulation can lead to some
of the problems that we talked about,
and what I wanted to get
this last point here is that
what that maximum level
is is very individual
and for some people the shape of the
curve is actually skewed in that
the point at which you can actually handle
higher levels of arousal is different.
So I think for most of us the level
of boredom is pretty consistent.
So what bores me is most
likely going to bore you.
But then in terms of how
much arousal can you handle,
that might be quite different
So now we’re going to talk
about something called drive,
and drive refers to a physiological need
that is shifting us away from homeostasis.
So let’s break that down.
Now you’ve heard the term
before drive and people say,
“Well, what drives you
to do what you do?”
and it’s inferring some type of
internal push to do something.
Now, when we talk about drives in
relation to physiological need,
what we’re talking about is a
physiological change that has happened
within you and the drive to reestablish
that physiological balance.
Now, the balance that we’re referring
to is something called homeostasis.
Now, homeostasis is a fancy way of
saying a sweet spot or a balance
and we have our several different
So the example that we have
here is body temperature.
Now, our internal body temperature
is typically around 37 degrees.
So that would be your homeostatic
balance for body temp.
Now, as soon as you deviate from that,
your body realizes that
you’re not at the right place
and there’s a drive to get you
back to that homeostatic level.
And so if you’re really,
really cold for example,
your body will say, “Okay, I’m cold,”
and you will try to modify your behavior
to get yourself indoors, put on a jacket,
you might start shivering,
which increases body temp,
all these things to reestablish
the homeostatic balance.
Now, some of the physiological
drivers that get impacted would be,
say, "Am I hungry? Am I thirsty?
Am I really, really tired?"
So let’s walk through for
example feeling hungry.
When you’re hungry your
blood sugar will drop,
and so as a result, your body is going to
drive you to want to consume some food
to reestablish that
higher blood sugar level,
and by doing so, you’ll reestablish
that homeostatic balance.
Now, it does something interesting
and we’ve seen this in some
of our previous lectures
and that’s the term
of negative feedback.
The process of negative feedback is
it will detect a change and once
that change is reestablished,
it will send a negative signal back to the
assessor saying, “Everything is okay now.”
So in the example of body temp,
when it’s compared to 37 you realize
you are actually at, say, 40,
it will initiate the
drive to cool you down,
and once you’ve reestablished that it will
send a negative signal back to saying,
“Everything is okay. We no longer need to
modulate or reestablish our body temp.”
Now, there’s a higher level drive
that we sometimes refer to as need,
and so need refers to a higher
level driver that motivates
an individual beyond your typical factors.
So in English, what we’re
saying here is drives are good.
They have a physiological
need that makes sense.
But then there are certain
things that can’t
easily be described by
a physiological need.
So for example, you right now
sitting there looking at me
prepping for your MCAT exam,
what is motivating you to sit
there and watch this video?
What is motivating you to give up
your weekends with your friends,
quality time with your significant
to read a book about MCAT prep?
Well, there’s an inherent need or a higher
level drive that is pushing you to do more.
That’s the same type of higher level
drive or need that motivates us to find
love or safety or belonging,
These are needs that we really
can’t put our finger on
in terms of this is for
a physiological need.
This is for something higher, something
that we cannot put our finger on,
sort of atypical.