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Theories That Explain How Motivation Affects Human Behavior – Motivation (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:01 Now, let’s take a look at a couple of theories here that try to address need and drive and how that’s working.

    00:09 So let’s take a look here of being thirsty.

    00:12 A physiological need creates an aroused state that drives a behavioral change to satisfy the need.

    00:18 So in English, physiologically speaking your body says, “Hey, I’m really, really thirsty,” or “I’m extremely hungry.” There’s the drive.

    00:26 So that physiological need creates the drive.

    00:28 Now that arouses you saying, “Okay, I got to find some water.” Now, think of this situation and I’m sure it’s happened to all of us.

    00:36 It’s the summer, it’s a nice hot day and you’ve been very, very busy.

    00:39 You’re shopping, you had to get some groceries, you have to pick up your mom, and you realize, I’m thirsty, I’m extremely thirsty.

    00:46 And you don’t realize that until your body is initiating that physiological response saying, “Me, thirsty, now.” And all of a sudden your mouth gets really parched and all you can think of is -- "I got to find something to drink," and before your attention was drawn to other things now your attention is drawn to, “Oh my God,” you know, “does that lady over there have some cold drinks? I just saw a big poster for a Coca-Cola.” And you’re aroused to try and find something to deal with this need.

    01:15 So the greater the physiological need, the greater the physiological drive.

    01:19 So the thirstier you get, the stronger the drive to find a solution, the stronger the drive to find a drink.

    01:27 Okay? So if you’re really, really hungry versus just being I’m kind of peckish right now versus I’m starving, you will do anything and everything to find some food.

    01:38 A lot of times you’ll even get to the point where you’re going to eat something that you would not normally eat, or you’re eating something and it taste amazing but it’s really nothing, it’s just that you were so hungry, the drive was so strong and it has satisfied your needs so badly.

    01:52 So that’s a positive relationship, the higher the physiological need, the greater the physiological drive.

    02:00 Now, let’s look at the incentive theory.

    02:02 It’s related but slightly different.

    02:04 So incentives are external stimulus or stimuli, objects and events that help induce or discourage certain behaviors.

    02:11 So now we’re bringing in the differentiating factor of positive incentive versus a negative incentive.

    02:17 So a positive incentive is when you support the behavior with a reward, while a negative incentive is something that you can take away.

    02:27 So the simplest example for a positive behavior would be like you’re getting a reward or a candy, or a negative incentive would be I will no longer beat you or I will no longer shock you, all really, really fun things, right? So let’s take a look at a scenario here and what we’re talking about is the things that you would really want to happen in order to see a behavioral change.

    02:52 So the first thing you’re going to need is a physiological need.

    02:55 So let’s say you’re thirsty.

    02:58 Physiologically speaking, you’re extremely thirsty.

    03:00 That’s one thing accomplished, check.

    03:02 The second thing is, is there a strong positive incentive? So say you’re walking down the street and you see a stall at a restaurant outside with a big tub of ice cold beer sitting there.

    03:17 And that’s a strong positive motivator.

    03:20 You’re saying, “Oh my God, there’s something for me to get. I need that.” And now the icing on the cake would be the lack of a negative incentive.

    03:26 So a negative incentive might be cost, maybe it’s really, really expensive.

    03:31 But in this case it’s actually free today.

    03:33 One day, one day only, you get free beer.

    03:36 So you’re really, really thirsty, you have found something to drink, and it’s free.

    03:40 That is a perfect scenario and this is going to cause a change -- it’s going to motivate you to change your behavior and that is to go, stop, get this free drink, and enjoy yourself.

    03:50 Okay. So that’s an example of things that will change your behavior.

    03:54 Now, let’s take a look at another scenario.

    03:56 Say you get offered a new position.

    03:59 And the positive incentive is you’re going to have tons and tons of money now.

    04:04 Let’s frame it as becoming a doctor and you would like to become a doctor because the strong positive incentive is that you can help others and you want to make lots of money.

    04:15 Let’s just say those are two of your positive reinforcers, positive incentives.

    04:20 The negative incentive is you’re going to have to work crazy hours and there’s a lot of responsibility that is now falling in your lap.

    04:26 So these are two things that you need to balance.

    04:28 So this comes to -- this brings it all together in terms of the incentive theory.

    04:32 So if you want to compare this to -- if you want to compare this to the drive theory, the drive theory is looking at positive reinforcement, whereas this one now layers in the idea of negative reinforcement or the negative incentives.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Theories That Explain How Motivation Affects Human Behavior – Motivation (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Individual Influences on Behavior.


    Author of lecture Theories That Explain How Motivation Affects Human Behavior – Motivation (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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