Motivation and behavior


Motivation is an intervening variable used to account for factors within the organism that arouse, maintain, and channel behavior toward a goal. It incites to action or serves as an incentive or goal.According to Coleman,” Motivation accounts for not only the direction but also the activation of behavior-the energy mobilized in pursuit of our goals.”


It is of utmost importance to understand how motivation works and how does it not work ? What is the meaning to arouse ? Arouse is a verb that means awaken, it causes (individual) to become active, stir (one) up from inactivity, or stimulate for physical relation. Arousal or arousal function is general state of cortical alertness following sensory stimulation. Arousal or alertness does not imply a specific reaction typical of stimulus- response conditions, but a more diffuse and more enduring cortical response. Arousal and alertness are believed to be mediated by corticofugal fibres from the reticular formation. Now, diffuse means lacking in specificity or coordination, such as the diffuse responses in infants that show a lack of goal direction and coordination. Goal direction and coordination depends on motive. Besides, more enduring cortical response means to suffer, undergo pain, or hardship, etc. lasting until or unless one does not achieve one’s goal. Motivation is an intervening variable that maintains it and cause to go through a channel to activate behavior toward a goal.

On the other side, It is reflex, a simple stimulus-response sequence that is unlearned, common to all members of a species, and relatively unmodifiable by motivational factors, as it is a simple mechanical act that appears not to involve volition or choice, it does mean a thoughtless, impulsive act. In this way, there remains no motivation or motive in an individual’s mind but a specific reaction typical of stimulus-response conditions due to abnormal behavior or unconscious reflexes. It is called an autonomic motive state (regressive condition) or unconscious material that paves the way for reflex or reaction. As a matter of fact, it occurs autonomously in a leisure because of some tense moments in the past.


One of my clients, Mr. RP got clairvoyance because of some tense moments of some badness in behavior of individuals who looked like anti-social elements. For some time, the incident that was occurred at noon in winter, remained in the conscious and due to repression or suppression it became an unconscious material or abnormal condition. It started to give rise to unconscious reflexes of specific reaction typical of stimulus- response conditions in a sequence, very often in leisure.

As a result of that fear and suspicion engulfed my client in a desert of miserable conditions. Interpersonal relationship, job situation, financial condition, and behaviour in general were affected adversely. It was the insanity but due to which his interest in religious work, duties, thought processes, and ailment-good health was increased.” Time was elapsed in useless pursuit of knowledge”- the thought came into his mind after twenty years as excitatory and inhibitory phenomena never let him think What he was doing and why in those years.Specific types of a syndrome including dual personality, multiple personality, amnesia and fugue states, dissociative reactions,existentialism and so on entangled him disruptive activities. The onset of motivational aspects of his personality again takes him toward what – time will tell. Mr. RP started to take medicine and counseling sessions. After nine years, he is hale and hearty.

Needs and strivings

How one`s needs and strivings operate within each context, it is very much important to note that what comes before and after a word, phrase, statement etc. helping to fix the meaning can contribute not only to one`s motivational states but also to one`s predispositions to behave in a maladaptive manner. Predisposition is any hereditary characteristic favoring the development of a certain trait as it is a state of mind or body favourable to do something or to something. For instance, a predisposition to find fault or a predisposition to arthritis. Motivation accounts for not only the direction but also the activation of behavior. It occurs in pursuit of our goals. Activation depends on the degree from very low to very high. It depends on the degree of motivation in percentage. In other words, from deep sleep to intense excitement, motivation gives way to behavior in accordance with a wide range of individual and situational factors that influence one’s level of activation. It works in a depressed state of mind or in those individuals who suffer from apathy and many other abnormalities in behavior. Apathy is a lack of feeling or emotion in situations normally arousing such responses.It is an indifference to one`s surroundings, as in severely depressed states. Apathy is absence of sympathy or interest. Maladjustment, the inability of the individual to develop patterns of behavior, making for success in one’s environment, is an abnormality for example to be gone through in a detailed procedure.

A person’s level of activation is affected by the way one perceives the situation and evaluates its potential outcomes, dangers, or frustrations.There are many inner conditions, including biological drives, emotions, habit of intoxicants like liquor, drugs and others, besides fatigue, disease, and pain that affect level of activation. In addition, the environmental factors such as sudden loud noises and strange or novel stimuli also affect level of activation if it is very low in degree. Moderate level of activation is required for efficiency. On the other side, very high level of activation gives rise to lack of coordination in functioning and impaired performance.

Needs and motives

It is to be taken into one’s account that needs and motives influence perceiving, reasoning, learning, and other processes related psychologically. The individual makes attempt to perceive only those aspects of the environment that may be related to the habit of gratifying one`s own desires, etc. The gratification of immediate or long-term needs is an incentive that enables one to search for desired thing and not for other. A person lost in desert, for instance,and suffering from intense thirst would ignore other attractions when one is, in fact, in search of water. Selective vigilance is a tendency of the organism of an individual to single out particular elements that are relevant to its purposes.

The individual is sensitized to particular stimuli by motivation. These particular stimuli may also have the opposite effect. The individuals have a tendency to screen out or distort information that may prove incompatible with expectations, assumptions, and wishes. It occurs as one selectively perceives the desirable outcomes and behaviors of others as well as do the same thing in evaluating oneself. It is called perceptual defense, in that, the individual tends to avoid perceiving unpleasant things or undesired information.

It is also possible that motivation may influence what an individual learn, how rapidly and how much. The thought processes are subverted in helping one justify one`s assumptions and behavior by motivation as it gives way to influence one’s beliefs. The individual makes attempt to be logical but fails. It occurs as one cannot usually be objective judge in those disputes, in which, the individual has a vested interest.

Conscious and unconscious aspects of motivation

Conscious motivation is clear with the interpretation as stated above but the concept of unconscious motivation was given in psychoanalytic perspective. Unconscious motivation is the motivation of which the individual is unaware. For example, the individual may forget an unpleasant appointment, convinced that it was a mere accident. The depth psychologist believes that it is revealing of a wish to forget. The individual is either wholly conscious or wholly unconscious about motives than the motives of which one is “more or less” aware. The biological needs operate on an unconscious level, and one may become aware of some needs-for instance, via feelings of hunger and thirst. It occurs only when these become pressing. Psychological needs, according to psychologists, such as those for security, adequacy, social approval, and self esteem, may operate on relatively unconscious levels. Sometimes, the real reasons lie in the unconscious.

Hierarchy of needs

Maslow states that human needs form a hierarchy from the most basic biological requirements to the needs for self-actualization. Maslow explained the terms deficiency motivation, growth motivation. For hierarchy ( a separate post is given in the blog) concept Maslow might have observations of behavior under extreme conditions.

Motive patterns and life-style

Each and every individual tends to develop a life-style, in that, an essential element is continuing Motive pattern centered around particular strivings and goals. Different individuals have different strivings and goals as some are concerned primarily with love and relatedness, other with material possessions and power, and some others with personal growth and self-actualization. Past rewards and punishments; an outgrowth of reality, possibility, and value assumptions; a reflection of the demands, limitations, and opportunities of the environment are parts of an individual`s motive pattern.

Next post: Early deprivation or trauma.