What Motivates Human Behavior

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Truth be told, being able to state strong claims about the motivations of all human beings may be out of the league for any so-called professional and this topic is one of the most complicated argumentative questions to have an answer. But when we learn about the different needs and the urges to satisfy those motivations, then we can understand the driving factors behind human behavior. Humans are motivated to do certain acts in virtue of three key components: activation, persistence, and intensity. Not only does it initiate goal-oriented behavior, it also sustains it., But There are also three main theories to support the driving forces of our motivations: the instincts theory, the theory of drives and needs, and the arousal theory, and simply having an abiding goal that you aspire to achieve isn’t enough. Achieving such goals require the ability to persist through obstacles and the endurance to keep your head above the waters in spite of difficulties.

Anyone who has ever had a certain goal that they wanted to achieve ( like a new years resolution or wanting to lose a certain amount of weight through exercise) recognize that simply having the desire to accomplish that goal isn’t enough. In order to achieve a goal, one must have the ability to persist through all challenges that come one’s way and one must endure through those difficulties. In the article on Psychology Today, the author provides claims intended to make the reader not only to agree or question her proclamations, but she is also insisting that the reader thoroughly thinks about the theories she inputs into her argument. Based on the author’s statements towards human motives, there are three exceeding peripherals to a human’s motivation: activation, persistence, and intensity. Activation involves the ability to initiate a certain action, such as wanting to enroll in a certain class to discover something that resides in you or just to answer an everlasting question based on that specific topic. Persistency is the prolong push to accomplish a goal, knowing that many trails lye ahead. An example of persistence is taking more classes medically related in order to attain the information required of becoming the best doctor possible. Intensity can be observed through the concentration and vitality that goes into achieving a goal. A situated example can be shown through two classmates that take the same course; one student cruises through the course without inputting even the slightest bit of energy, while the other student studies daily and considers going to facilities for research opportunities that go beyond the class. The difference between the two is that one student seeks his or her educational goals with much more intensity than the other.

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There are many valued experiments conducted by the most innovative minds the philosophy field has seen. In the book Drive by the respected Daniel H. Pink, the author provides valuable information towards the type of motivations that humans can have, while also providing empowering and relevant experiments to support each of his claims. Mark Lepper and David Greene are examples of those minds shown in the book, having one of their studies together held among the most cited articles in the motivation literature. In their case, they conducted their studies in a preschool classroom. The research’s essential focus was to reveal how many children chose to spend their “free time” drawing during a certain period of time. Then they fashioned the experiment to assess the effects of rewarding an activity that the children clearly enjoyed. In order to uncover the best results, the researchers divided the experimented children into three groups. The first group, named the “expected-award” group, would be embellished with a blue ribbon which features the child’s name and was later asked if they wanted to draw to receive the award. The second group, named the “unexpected-award” group, were asked by the researchers if they wanted to draw; if so, after the session is complete, they will be given the same award which also features the child’s name. The third group, named the “no-award” group, was just asked if they wanted to draw, neither mentioning nor giving an award throughout the session. Two weeks later, back in school, the teachers set out paper and markers during the preschool’s free time period while the researchers clandestinely observed the students. The data showed that children previously in the “unexpected-award” and “no-award” groups drew just as much, with the “no-award” group having a slightly higher value; but the children in the first group, the ones who were expected an award, showed less enthusiasm towards drawing. As the author explained, “To be clear, it wasn’t necessarily the rewards themselves that dampened the children’s interest… “If-then” rewards require people to forfeit some of their autonomy.”.This experiment was also held on multiple groups of adults, producing the same results as of the preschoolers. This experiment was one of the most robust findings in all of social science, as well as one of the most ignored. But the intended results show and exhibit what we should acknowledge as our first steps towards understanding the motives of human behavior.

Although most of my argument was materialized from experienced psychologist and other major names that provide information on the keen thinking of a human before performing an action, human motives can be shown even in small fiction novels that we read from school. Maybe not to an extent where it can completely answer the question of what really motivates human behavior, but the book All American Boys by Jason Reynolds Reynolds, Jason, and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys. Atheneum, 2017.) indulges into this topic through the racist background given in the story. In the novel, one of the main protagonist, Quinn, was walking the late night with his friends when he saw a police officer pin a black kid named Rashad (another main protagonist of the story) to the ground, accusing him of stealing from an old lady. The truth was that Rashad never took anything from the lady and it was a misunderstanding with the cop, but the damage had already been dealt by then. The interesting point to take from this was that the cop was actually a childhood friend of Quinn, making Quinn feel very puzzled whether to take side with his friend or take the side of Rashad. You may be curious as to how this all ties up with the main argument I have provided to you. You see, the story goes on to explain that Quinn believed in Rashad and his innocence and decided to take action by proposing a school march against police brutality in the hope of preventing such an action to occur to someone like Rashad again. Quinn never knew who Rashad before this march, so what motivated him to march against someone as empowering to his life as his old childhood friend? The actions that Quinn took supported the theory of Instinct; the theory that a human will perform a certain task through the belief of “rightness” and the interest of the human’s “positive outcome” through their actions. By marching, Quinn believed he’s doing a rightful service to all people and believed that his actions are correct, neglecting not knowing the person he’s marching for. 


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