1. Motivation refers to states within the organism that drive behaviour towards some goals. It has three aspects: (a) the driving state, (b) the behaviour aroused and directed by the driving state, and (c) the goal towards which the behaviour is directed.
2. Motives are very powerful tools to explain our behaviour. They are never observed directly; they are inferred from behaviours. Motives enable to make predictions about an individual’s future actions.
3. Very often, motivation is considered to be cyclical. Drive state is the first stage of the motivational cycle. The second stage is the behaviour triggered by the drive state. This instrumental behaviour may lead to a goal, which is the third stage of the motivational cycle. Reaching the goal completes the cycle.
4. There are subtle differences between needs, drives, and incentive Needs are physiological and environmental imbalances that give rise drives. Drives are the tendencies to act in specific ways to reach a goal Incentive means the value or effectiveness of the goal as a motive for behavior.
5. There are several types of motives, such as biological (physiologies motives, social motives, and psychological (personal) motives. The biological motives consist of physiological needs such as hunger, sex, thirst, sleep, and need for sensory stimulation, and need for postural changes.
6. The hypothalamus plays a vital role in controlling hunger drive. Different studies revealed that thirst and drinking result from dehydration of eel called osmoreceptors in the hypothalamus. The sex drive in human beings as well as in higher species is generally triggered by sensory stimuli. Further, the expression of sex motive in higher species depends on learning.
7. Social motives are acquired or learned. Most of these motives stem fro the organized social life. Since social motives depend upon learning their strength varies from person to person. These motives can give us some insight into an individual’s social behaviour and make up an important part of the description of personality. The need for affiliation is a motive to be with other people.
8. The need of power and competitiveness are also social motives which are expressed by seeking to have personal influence over other people or influencing others through the organizations to which one belongs.
9. Psychological motives or personal motives include curiosity, exploration, achievement, and self-actualization. Motives to explore the environment, competence and self-actualization are also powerful and persistent human motives. Self-actualization refers to people’s need to go up to the highest level through several hierarchical upliftment of motives.
10. The psychoanalytic interpretation of motivation is different from that of the behaviorists. Behaviorists look upon human motives as habit systems. But Freud was the first person to demonstrate the powerful influences of sub-conscious motives on human behaviour.
11. A physiologist, Bernard, coined the word “homeostasis” to explain the stability of inner environment or physiological equilibrium. When the internal state is disturbed, the conditions propel the organism to seek activity. Such activity continues until the equilibrium is restored and this state is known as homeostasis.
12. Two main approaches for measuring motives are: (i) direct and (ii) indirect. Direct approach includes measures by objective observation, conscious self-reports, questionnaires and inventories. The indirect measures include projective techniques where the stimuli are deliberately made somewhat ambiguous in nature. The most popular projective technique in motivational research is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). It consists of a series of pictures about which the person is asked to write stories. Later on, these stories are analyzed and coded as motives, needs, desires.