Motivation, Thought, and Action

Motivation, Thought, and Action

Motivation, Thought, and Action

Motivation, Thought, and Action

Excerpt

The title Motivation, Thought, and Action better describes our level of aspiration than something we can claim to have accomplished within the covers of this book. We focus on the integrative problem and describe a few steps toward the solution.

When we began our dialogue and collaborative work at Michigan in 1976, one of us was more tuned than the other to the cognitive psychology of our time; the other had more experience with the kind of methodological and conceptual difficulties that arise in trying to deal with the issue of how conscious thought is implicated in motivation and action. At the beginning of our work together, the strength of one's contribution to the dialogue compensated for the weakness of the other's. Now, each of us, having listened and learned, realizes more fully than before how incomplete are contemporary conceptual schemes that purport to illuminate this sequence of events: situation, cognition, motivation, action.

Our work began as an extension of the treatment of thought and action in The Dynamics of Action (Atkinson &Birch, 1970), an excerpt of which is included in this volume as Chapter 11, and the analysis of cognitive control of action that Birch,Atkinson, andBongort (1974) had contributed to a symposium on cognitive views of motivation (Weiner, 1974). The latter is included here as Chapter 12. We considered how the principles of the dynamics of action apply in analysis of decision time, particularly when the decision is mediated by conscious thought (Chapter 13). These and other recent studies of problems in motivational psychology, all considered in terms of the dynamics of action, are now presented together as a report of recent progress, particularly in the use of computer simulation to enhance theoretical analysis and to guide empirical research and as a reminder of the unfinished business.

Seven of the substantive chapters are republications of related works that would otherwise remain scattered among journals and . . .

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