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Factors that Influence Motivation – Motivation (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:01 Okay. Let’s get into motivation.

    00:04 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 motivate you.

    00:16 The first is instincts.

    00:18 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.

    00:28 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.

    00:45 So in English, what we’re saying here is all individuals that belong to that species are predisposed to doing that thing.

    00:54 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.

    01:10 That’s not something they’re taught, they just know how to do it.

    01:13 And the kangaroos, the baby is going into the little pouch, the kangaroo pouch.

    01:18 So again, the mother is not telling the baby kangaroo to get into my pouch, it just knows to do that.

    01:25 Imprinting in chicks, the little baby chicks that follow the mother, they just know how to do these things.

    01:31 So these would be examples of innate behaviors.

    01:36 Now, a lot of the things that we do, the things that motivate us are linked around levels of arousal.

    01:45 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.

    01:57 So humans have an optimal level at which of arousal that you want and that’s unique for each person.

    02:03 So what makes me work at my best, the optimum level of arousal might be different for you.

    02:11 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.

    02:20 So we’re looking at how well are you doing at a specific task.

    02:24 Now, on the low end, you’re really not aroused at all.

    02:27 You’re extremely lethargic, you’re doing nothing, you’re sitting on the sofa looking at the sky.

    02:32 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.

    02:40 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 performance improves.

    02:48 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.

    02:56 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.

    03:03 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.

    03:15 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.

    03:26 “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.

    03:37 It’s kind of funny you even see this with babies.

    03:39 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.

    03:47 But what do they do? They get up, they walk around, they explore.

    03:50 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.

    03:59 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.

    04:05 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.

    04:26 So I think for most of us the level of boredom is pretty consistent.

    04:30 So what bores me is most likely going to bore you.

    04:32 But then in terms of how much arousal can you handle, that might be quite different between individuals.

    04:41 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.

    04:49 So let’s break that down.

    04:51 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.

    05:01 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.

    05:13 Now, the balance that we’re referring to is something called homeostasis.

    05:17 Now, homeostasis is a fancy way of saying a sweet spot or a balance and we have our several different physiological measures.

    05:25 So the example that we have here is body temperature.

    05:28 Now, our internal body temperature is typically around 37 degrees.

    05:32 So that would be your homeostatic balance for body temp.

    05:36 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.

    05:46 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.

    06:05 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.

    06:17 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.

    06:31 Now, it does something interesting and we’ve seen this in some of our previous lectures and that’s the term of negative feedback.

    06:39 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.

    07:22 So in English, what we’re saying here is drives are good.

    07:26 They have a physiological need that makes sense.

    07:29 But then there are certain things that can’t easily be described by a physiological need.

    07:34 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 other, 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.

    07:57 That’s the same type of higher level drive or need that motivates us to find love or safety or belonging, achievement, companionship.

    08:07 These are needs that we really can’t put our finger on in terms of this is for a physiological need.

    08:11 This is for something higher, something that we cannot put our finger on, something that’s sort of atypical.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Factors that Influence Motivation – Motivation (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Individual Influences on Behavior.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Drive
    2. Motivation
    3. Arousal
    4. Stress
    5. Need
    1. Need
    2. Primary drive
    3. Motive
    4. Incentive
    5. Extrinsic motivation
    1. Achievement
    2. Shelter
    3. Hunger
    4. Thirst
    5. Warmth

    Author of lecture Factors that Influence Motivation – Motivation (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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