Studies in Motivation

Studies in Motivation

Studies in Motivation

Studies in Motivation

Excerpt

The psychology of motivation is in its infancy. In fact, it can hardly be said to exist as a separate discipline or field of study within psychology today. It is discussed a little in the elementary course, again in courses in abnormal psychology and personality, and finally in theory courses as it relates to the psychology of learning. The result is that it is difficult for the student and the psychologist to focus on motivation as such, rather than as a topic which serves only to clarify some other problem. So the primary purpose of this book of readings is to meet the distinct need for bringing together for study in one course the various aspects of motivation now treated in a number of different courses, varying all the way from physiological to social psychology.

In selecting the readings I have been guided primarily by the conviction that psychology as a science is interested in the facts--in all the facts. Thus, if anything, the selections are weighted somewhat on the empirical side, as opposed to the theoretical. There is a historical reason for this. Until recently the psychology of motivation has been dominated by the simple theoretical view that there are a few basic, primary drives like hunger on which the whole structure of complex secondary, or social, motives is built. This view may or may not prove to be correct in the long run, but its unquestioned acceptance by many psychologists has tended to restrict unnecessarily the kinds of facts which are considered relevant to understanding the problems of motivation. This book of readings represents a conscious effort to break out of this traditional framework, partly because it is usually adequately presented in the elementary psychology course and partly because the many things we know about motivation seem to overflow this simple theoretical scheme. In short, the book represents an attempt to gather together a sampling of all the facts about motivation, rather than just those facts which are relevant to a particular theoretical position. In many ways our knowledge seems too imperfect to allow for any very elaborate theorizing until we have more to go on. The readings are, therefore, eclectic in character. They have been contributed by biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists--in fact, by anyone who has anything important to say about the springs of human action, whether they are conceived as motives or values. The number of readings is probably sufficiently great so that those who want to restrict themselves, for example, to the biological-experimental approach can construct a reason-

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