Children with Handicaps: A Review of Behavioral Research

By Gershon Berkson | Go to book overview

8
Motivation and Personality

The cognitive processes reviewed in the last three chapters are not a complete description of how information is received, processed, stored, and applied. Perhaps they represent the machine. However, what factors determine whether this machine operates at all? What drives it? Psychology points to motivation and personality variables to explain this dynamic aspect of behavior.

It is possible to overemphasize the distinction between the dynamic principles of motivation and those that describe cognition. In fact, ability and motivational variables interact constantly to determine competent performance. However, at the levels of common sense and of formal science, the separation of cognition and motivation has been useful.

In this chapter, we also review deviations of personality that are so great as to be regarded as pathological. In doing so, the mainly philosophical question of the relationship between personality and psychopathology is considered. Also, we review recent studies of the more empirically based question of the nature of personality structure and its deviations.

As in other chapters, we ask about the extent to which categories of disorders of development account for motivation, personality, and psychopathology. We show that much of the literature about children with handicaps is devoted to comparisons of groups of children having various categories of handicapping condition but that, although useful in describing personality differences, the conventional categories provide only incomplete prediction.

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