Motivation Theories In Psychology analysis



Introduction. 1

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Theories of motivation. 2

Conclusion. 8




Motivation is the application of a positive factor so as to get a positive result form an individual. All people are prone to undergo a stressful period where they need a push to the next level. This push determines the success or failure of the receiver of the motivational instrument. The theories of motivation were introduced to the world though psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, Sigmund Freud, Fredrick Herzberg andFredrick Taylor(Miner, 2008). These psychologists spent the better part of their career coming up with the theories. There are several theories of motivation that can be applied to motivate a person in different situations. The application of these theories is essential to the sustainability of the success of the future generation. Being an aspiring psychologist, I have received motivation from different people. These people have direct or indirect contact with me. This showcases motivation as a factor that does not have boundaries. Motivation has been a vital part of my life from the early stages of my life to my current point in life. Some of these influences are unconscious sources or conscious. Unconscious motivation plays a significant role due to the manifestation that it encourages. These motivational theories are have impacted significantly on my choice to pursue psychology as my career. The analysis of motivational influences is thus ideal in that it showcases the reasons for my actions in the past and present day (Beck, 2004).

The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis of motivational theories in psychology. The paper uses examples of psychologists such as Maslow by providing their take on motivation influences. The paper uses this information to explain what motivates me to take on psychology as a career. The paper finally offers a concluding paragraph that summarizes its contents.

Motivation involves encouraging an individual to pursue a certain goal or objective. The fulfillment of this objective acts as a source of happiness and achievement which in turn adds meaning to a person’s life. A person can be motivated consciously or unconsciously depending on their surrounding environments. Most individuals are influenced at an early stage in their life making this a crucial time of there. Motivation entails using the positive aspects in the environment so as to derive a positive result. There are different types of motivational method that are classified into theories. These theories are used to date by the general public in various industries making them an essential aspect in the world of psychology (Beck, 2004).

Theories of motivation

Motivational theories are theories that explain different motivational techniques and their role in the influencing of behavior. There are several motivational theories that exist in present day. These theories are inspired by different situations and thus reflect on different individuals. One of the psychologists who has played a significant role in the determining these theories is Abraham Maslow (Beck, 2004).

Maslow is known for his motivational theory that talks on the hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, human beings are motivated by items that they do not have direct possession or contact. These needs are not satisfied due to a variety of features that are determined by the internal and external environment (Miner, 2008). The hierarchy in this case consists of needs and wants that human beings experience at one point in their life. The first category consists of physiological needs; these needs consist of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and education. Theseneeds are essential for the proper growth and development of all the human beings. Lack of physiological needs creates a vacuum that puts a strain on their progress of an individual’s life. People who experience this situation rely on factors such as family, friends and faith so that they can improve their life (Miner, 2008).

Exposure to these needs is ideal in that it improves the self worth of an individual. People who fall under this category are said to be less fortunate in that they lack the essential resources to ease their life. The second category in the pyramid is the safety needs; safety needs comprise of security in all aspects of life. Beings able to live in a safe environment increase the confidence of a person. Safety creates the provision for investment which in turn, yields more progress in the life. The third stage is social needs; social needs comprise of family, friends, social status, and lifestyle. This stage is a pivotal part of life due to the aspect of communication. People strive to perfect their social needs so that they can elevate their position in life (Miner, 2008). This stage is alsosignificant because people need comfort from their friends and family when experiencing different hardships. The fourth stage is the esteem needs; these needs are essential due to the fact that they help human beings accomplish the goals and objectives they have. Self esteem is ideal for the success of any person. Self esteem is initiated right from the time of an individual’s childhood. Through self esteem a person is able to control all the challenges that come with life. Lack of self esteemreduces the motivation of an individual making it harder for them to survive in life. This stage is required to go through all the stages in life with ease. The last and final stage is self actualization; self actualization is a state of superiority. At this stage an individual has achieved all the objectives that they have set. These objectives constitute to the overall happiness and success of a human being (Beck, 2004).

Very few people manage to reach the self actualization stage. Belonging to a certain stage determines the amount of motivation one has. If a person is born into a family that does not have a lot in terms of financial resources, they are likely to work harder so that they canfill this vacuum. This situation can however take a different turn in that some people may accept their state and choose not to improve it. Motivation involves adding a positive factor to the life of a person so that they can use it to improve on their situation. The lack of a certain commodity influences a person to strive so that they can acquire the commodity. This is brought about by manifesting in an item until one achieves their goal or objective (Miner, 2008).

A close look at Maslow’s theory of motivation indicates that he is one of the sources of inspiration for my choice of psychology as a subject. The theory mentions that a person cannot be motivated if they do not have a motivating factor. This simply means that an individual has to have something that to look forward to before they can set their goal(Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006). The United States has the most successful economy in the world. Despite this, the country is experiencing high levels of poverty due to the rate of employment. Over fifty percent of the economies population is living on government welfare and do not have an adequate healthcare plan. These statistics display that the economy is not in a good place. The fact that a country like the United States is not able to provide for its citizens adequate living standards increases the rate of uncertainty of the future generation (Hoffmann, 2007).

As a young member of the population, it is essential for me to get an education so that I can compete with the more than capable job seekers. My choice get a college degree is thus motivated by the fact that a college education is essential for the sustainability of the society. My choice to take on psychology as a major as opposed to engineering or education is determined by the social ills that occur in today’s society. Today’s society cannot be compared with the society that the older generation grew up. The rate of insecurity, evil and poverty continues to increase on a daily basis. Majority of the crimes that are committed are as a result of people who are mentally or emotionally scared. One of the ways that people can make the country safer to live in is by investing in careers that eradicate these occurrences. Psychology is a significant contributor in the safety of the community due to the ability to communicate with social deviants (Hoffmann, 2007). Some of the most disturbing cases committed in the country over the years have been solved with the aid of psychologists. Having psychology as my major is not only a personal objective but a community objective. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, each individual is placed in one of the categories of the pyramid(Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006). As a student, there are some achievements that I am yet to achieve in the future. This places me in the fourth and fifth category because achieving my dream would be a driving force for the start of my career. The ability to kick start my career will validate my existence in the self actualization stage. This is due to the satisfaction that comes with the achievement of my goal. The probability of having a positive future without a college education is low. The fact that I am yet to achieve a degree motivates me to work hard so that I can graduate. This is reflective of Maslow’s theory that states that the lack of a commodity makes a person motivated to work toward achieving that goal (Miner, 2008).

As stated earlier, motivation is influenced unconsciously and consciously by the surrounding environment. One of the factors that the society continues to face is the high rate of divorce. This is created by the change of the society in terms of social roles, education and globalization. One does not have to be a product of a broken home to experience the impact it has on children. Being a physiologist is ideal in that it a person identifies with children who are having hard times coping with divorce. This is source of motivation is unconscious in that there is not particular person that has geared me towards helping such children. The events in the society make me want to take a stand so that I can be of help to people who are in need (Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006).

Motivation starts at an early stage; most of the individuals derive motivation without even being aware. This is known as unconscious motivation due to the lack of knowledge of the impact of a positive factor. One of the physiologists who placed emphasis on unconscious motivation is Sigmund Freud (Miner, 2008). He mentions a human beings behavior is comprises of desires, thoughts and memories. These factors are represented by the unconscious state making them unconscious forms of motivation. These unconscious actions influence the conscious actions of an individual. Most of the actions that people perform are triggered by the unconscious thoughts that they relay. This is one of the theories that give credit to positive thinking and positive actions. A person who thinks of negative thoughts and desires creates negative situations. This is because negative thoughts give rise to negative actions(Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006). This applies to the application of positive thoughts as a source of motivation. This source of motivation has played a significant role in my decision to get a college education by studying psychology. Both unconscious and conscious motivation work hand in hand making them complement each other. Thinking about being a psychologist in future influences me to apply all my talents so that I can achieve my goals. Applying my talents is performed by positive actions such as hard work, studying for exams and concentrating in all things psychology.

Motivation is used in places such as the workplaces, schools and sports. My choice to take on psychology is inspired by my family. Through my family, I am able to align myself with positive features so that I can get positive results. My choice to take on psychology as a course is inspired by the needs to understand people better. Psychology is the study of the mind of a human being(Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006). Human beings have the same characteristics which makes them similar in nature. Despite this, they possess different qualities that set different people apart from each other. Having different personalities creates different character traits that make each individual unique. Being unique gives rise to different social groups that people use to identify with each other. Human beings cannot be contained in a particular group due to the different personalities they portray.  It is thus ideal to have the ability communicate with different sorts of people in different social classes and creeds. As stated earlier, psychology aids a person understand the thoughts, feelings, qualities and character traits of their peers (Hoffmann, 2007). Understanding different people encourages communication which in turn, gives rise to respect. When people respect each other, they are able to maintain peaceful situations where war would be the obvious choice. Choosing to study psychology is thus motivated by my need to understand the different character traits that people have. This form of motivation portrays conscious motivation due to influence by the surrounding environment. Unconscious motivation cannot be ruled out because positive thoughts determine the actions and performance that I choose to take.

Another theory of motivation is Frederick Winslow Taylor’s theory of motivation.  Taylor takes a different route by breaking down goals and objectives in small portions. Taylor states that people generally have a hard time achieving their objectives (Miner, 2008). This is credited to the fact that most of the objectives are long term oriented. It is much more difficult to achieve long term objectives due to the monotony and boredom that may come with the trade. Choosing to get a degree in psychology takes a period of three to four years. This type of goal is thus classified under a long term goal making it harder to achieve. There are a number of factors that make students drop out of college. Taylor mentions that people have an easier time performing their tasks when there divided into sub tasks(Forgas& Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, 2006). This form of motivation is ideal for someone in my position and thus acts as a source of reference. Since it is not advised to take a break from college, a student can concentrate on the selected semester courses that are of interest to them. As a psychologist student, I have chosen to focus on each course keenly so that I can maximize on my score. This acts as a source of motivation in that I can concentrate on three months as opposed to four years. Motivation should be applied by a person who portrays features that an individual aspires to be like(Hoffmann, 2007). Agents of motivation can come in different forms depending on the surrounding environment. Some of the people I get motivation from are my parents, teachers, influential figures and pioneer psychologists. This type of motivation is ideal in that I am able to live by the principles that are set by my mentors.


Motivating factors improve the performance of people who receive motivation on a regular basis. It is difficult to be motivated by factors that do not portray positive outcomes. People require motivation on a regular basis due to the challenges that are experienced on a daily basis. A majority of people around the world apply the motivation theories without even knowing about their existence. This provides evidence of the effectiveness of the motivational theories. As a student, I face a number of hardships that may distract me from achieving my goals. The use of unconscious motivation puts me back on track by acting as a source of inspiration for me. My choice to acquire a psychology degree is one of the most significant choices of my life. This is categorized under the long term goals and requires an immense amount of motivation so that I graduate with honors. Being able to use my degree will impact not only on my life but on the lives of the entire society.Through my degree I will be able to give back to the community by using my talent to help others. One of the advantages that come with this is the idea that I will one day become a source of motivation for the younger generation to come.


Beck, R. C. R. C. (2004).Motivation: Theories and principles. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education.

Forgas, J. P., & Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology. (2006). Social motivation: Conscious and unconscious processes ; [the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, volume 6]. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press

Hoffmann, S. (2007). Classical Motivation Theories – Similarities and Differences between them. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Miner, J. B. (2008).Organizational behavior 5: From unconscious motivation to role-motivated leadership. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.


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