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    Behavior is a Product Of Motivation

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    Motivation is the desire for change from either external (extrinsic) or personal (intrinsic) forces guiding human behavior to accomplish set goals. In order to better understand behavior and help to correct problems that may arise, psychologists have set forth several different theories. The best-known theory explaining the principle motivators driving human behavior is the physiological Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which describe motivations as instincts governing behavior. McClelland’s need theory, states that behaviors are shaped by the desires of achievement, affiliation, or power. The Drive Reduction Theory by Clark Hull, states that motivations are driven by needs and once the need is met, the drive, or motivation, is diminished. These are all very similar concepts, stating that our behavior is a product of motivation, but the key details make each one unique.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places human needs in ascending levels from basic survival to the pinnacle of our existence, and our needs for one are realized when the lower level needs are met. The lowest level is needs to survive like food, shelter, and water. The second level is about security needs, having a job, and feeling safe. The third level has to deal with love and belonging, including family, friends, and trust. The next tier is esteem, including self-confidence and the longing for respect from others. Finally, the last tier is the pinnacle of the hierarchy: self-actualization, this involves fulfillment, realizing your capabilities, and personal evolution. This is something I believe we all do no matter what stage we are facing. Going through these levels teaches you more about yourself and what you are capable of, so while it may not always be the immediate goal, it is the long-term goal we are all striving to achieve.

    McClelland’s need theory is much less structured, stating that needs of achievement, affiliation, and power, are realized over time, and formed by the individual’s life circumstance and experiences. Needs can clinically be determined with the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) where the subject is shown a random picture and asked to create a story explaining it. During the explanation, we expect they will reveal their own goals and motivations. When achievement is the motivator, people strive to surpass their peers, need steady feedback on their work, and tend to go after modest risk where they have to work hard, but the achievement is a result of their efforts more than that of luck. If affiliation is the motivator, they strive to make friends and gain acceptance, so they conform to their peers and prefer to have more interaction with people. Power, the last motivator, can either be described as personal power, having power over others, or social power, pulling power from others together to advance the goals of the group. These are usually presented as work related motivations, but individuals may experience them in their personal lives, at school, and socially as well.

    Clark Hull is the founder of the Drive Reduction Theory, describing our behavior is a result of our drives (motivation) by our needs, and once that need is satisfied, the behavior is reduced. For example, a person is experiencing hunger; the need is food, and hunger is the driving force which motivates their behavior. This behavior may be cooking a meal or going out to eat but any action they take leads to the hunger, or drive, being satisfied. When the driving force behind the behavior has been reduced, there is no longer a reason for them to cook more, order more, or eat more and is therefore discontinued. It is the most basic of the 3 need theories presented here, deals only with physiological needs, and is rarely used today. However McClelland was one of his Yale students and therefore had significant influence in the development of his and possibly more theories; when you understand history it provides a more complete picture of the present and may help to achieve goals in the future.

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    Behavior is a Product Of Motivation. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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