Motivation of Behavior: The Fundamental Determinants of Human and Animal Activity

Motivation of Behavior: The Fundamental Determinants of Human and Animal Activity

Motivation of Behavior: The Fundamental Determinants of Human and Animal Activity

Motivation of Behavior: The Fundamental Determinants of Human and Animal Activity

Excerpt

Throughout the preparation of this volume I have been guided by a central purpose rather than by any fixed and predetermined point of view. This purpose is to examine the determination of human and animal behavior in its varied aspects. From one standpoint the study of motivation is concerned with energetics, i.e., with those conditions which evoke specific bodily movements and which regulate the general level of activity. From another standpoint the study is an investigation of the factors which regulate and control the course of activity. This includes all those activities designated by psychologists as purposive behavior. From still another point of view our problem relates to the development of motivating factors: it is a genetic study of the change and interplay of interests, desires, habit organizations, and similar determiners of behavior.

The stream of contemporary psychological thought has many cross currents. The impartial observer can readily detect these trends of opinion in the varied researches upon motivation. Some psychologists stress the conscious experiences of individuals and are concerned with the rôle in human behavior of desire, goal-awareness, pleasant and unpleasant feeling. Others rely upon the objective facts of human and animal behavior, which they explain by reference to bodily processes, thus resolving the study of motives to a branch of physiological psychology. Again, some currents in the stream of thought move toward a biological explanation of behavior; others toward interpretation in terms of social factors. Some move toward environmentalism; others toward explanation in terms of heredity.

I have tried to assume the role of an impartial onlooker, that of the proverbial man from Mars. An investigation of motivation presents so many aspects of the subject to the student that a single description would be misleading; the strict adherence to any fixed viewpoint would give a badly distorted impression. In so far as I have a bias, that has been expressed at the close of Chapter X.

The book is intended for students who have taken an introductory . . .

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