A person’s achievement may fall far short of his ability. The college teacher will readily think of students with A-grade ability but C-grade achievement, and it is also true in athletics or dramatics that some persons who seem to have plenty of ability are very disappointing in actual performance. They are not interested in an activity, or they have taken a personal dislike to the teacher or director or to their fellow performers, or perhaps they simply have not the energy to carry all the activities they have undertaken. What they lack is not the ability, but ‘motivation’. And so this discipline of psychology deals with everything about the motives, (origin, development, types etc), how they are classified and how motivation of work is exercised amongst individuals.
Motive, is a set which predisposes the individual for certain activities and for seeking certain goals and they develop within an individual through maturation, exercise and learning. The organism is so equipped as to guarantee the learning and carrying out of certain activities essential for survival of the individual and the race. The equipment includes a persistent stimulus, increased general activity, and reinforcement of successful acts. The unlearned motives, for which our motor nerves are responsible for taking the prompt necessary action, can become more shaped and specific due to:
• A persistent stimulus which we feel as the sensation of hunger, thirst, pain etc. These sensations have an impulsive or motivating quality.
• An increase in the amount and vigor of general activity. The more active the individual, the more likely he is to discover some way to satisfy the motive and terminate the unpleasant stimulus.
• Reinforcement of any act which brings satisfaction if the motive. By this means the successful activity is confirmed and on future occasion will be aroused by the motivating stimulus.
In the following list of outstanding human motives, the attempt is made to discover the fundamental aims and to show how each one is modified through learning. The motives are divided into three main classes. There are (1) motives which depend on internal bodily states; these are the ‘organic needs’. Other motives depend on the individual’s relations to the environment, and are subdivided into two classes. There are (2) the emergency motives, aroused when the environmental situation requires quick and vigorous action. And there are (3) the objective motives, directed towards effective dealing with the objects and persons in the environment.
Specific suggestions for improving motivation in practical situations of work and play are:
a) Avoid negative and disparaging suggestions.
b) Arrange competitive situations.
c) Establish intermediate goals in tasks that have only distant goals.
d) Encourage self-competition by making available the results of each trial.
e) Get the individual or group to discuss and set their level of aspiration themselves.