Psychologists have divided motives into three types—Biological motives, social motives and personal motives!
The goal here may be fulfillment of a want or a need. Whenever a need arises the organism is driven to fulfil that want or need. If there is no need in the organism, there will be no behaviour. For example, Horse and water. Horse does not drink water unless it has thirst or if it is not motivated. Unlike the external stimuli, the motives are limited.
The behaviour to fulfil such needs is mechanical and alike in all the organisms. Hunger is a motive which stimulates the organism to have food. We develop hunger when the food that was taken earlier is exhausted.
The need for food drives us to go in search of food and to have it. Here the hunger motive not only initiated the action, but also continued until the goal (having food) is reached. The motives are powerful forces.
They do not allow us to stop our action or behaviour until the need is satisfied. Hence, they are called the ‘dynamos’ of behaviour.
Types of Motives:
Biological Motivation and Homeostasis:
Biological motives are called as physiological motives. These motives are essential for the survival of the organism. Such motives are triggered when there is imbalancement in the body. The body always tends to maintain a state of equilibrium called “Homeostasis”- in many of its internal physiological processes.
This balance is very essential for the normal life. Homeostasis helps to maintain internal physiological processes at optimal levels. The nutritional level, fluid level, temperature level, etc., are maintained at certain optimal level or homeostasis levels. When there is some variation in these levels the individual is motivated for restoring the state of equilibrium.
I) Physiological Motives:
a. Hunger motive:
We eat to live. The food we take is digested and nutritional substances are absorbed. The biochemical processes get their energy from the food in order to sustain life. When these substances are exhausted, some imbalancement exists.
We develop hunger motive in order to maintain homeostasis. This is indicated by contraction of stomach muscles causing some pain or discomfort called hunger pangs. Psychologists have demonstrated this phenomenon by experiments.
b. Thirst motive:
In our daily life regularly we take fluids in the form of water and other beverages. These fluids are essential for our body tissues for normal functioning. When the water level in the body decreases we develop motive to drink water.
Usually thirst motive is indicated by dryness of mouth. Experiments by psychologists have shown that just dried mouth getting wetted is not enough. We need to drink sufficient quantity of water to satiate our thirst.
c. Need for oxygen:
Our body needs oxygen continuously. We get it through continuous respiration. Oxygen is necessary for the purification of blood. We cannot survive without regular supply of oxygen. Lack of oxygen supply may lead to serious consequences like damage to brain or death.
d. Motive for regulation of body temperature:
Maintenance of normal body temperature (98.6°F or 37.0°C) is necessary. Rise or fall in the body temperature causes many problems. There are some automatic mechanisms to regulate body temperature, like sweating when the temperature rises above normal or, shivering when it falls below normal.
These changes motivate us to take necessary steps. For example, opening of windows, put on fans, take cool drinks, remove clothes, etc., when the temperature increases to above normal level; and closing doors and windows, wear sweaters, take hot beverages when temperature falls down. In this way we try to regulate the body temperature.
e. Need for sleep:
Sleep is an essential process for normal functioning of body and mind. When our body and mind are tired they need rest for rejuvenation of energy. It is observed that there is excess accumulation of a toxin called ‘Lactic acid’ when tired.
After sleep it disappears and the person becomes active. Sleep deprivation also leads to psychological problems like confusion, inability to concentrate, droopy eyelids, muscle tremors, etc.
f. Need for avoidance of pain:
No organism can continue to bear pain. Whenever we experience pain we try to avoid it. We are motivated to escape from painful stimulus. For example, when we are under hot sun we go to shade. When something is pinching we avoid it.
g. Drive for elimination of waste:
Our body cannot bear anything excess or anything waste. Excess water is sent out in the form of urine or sweat. So also digested food particles after absorption of nutritional substances are sent out in the form of stools. We experience discomfort until these wastes are eliminated.
h. Sex motive:
This is a biological motive, arises in the organism as a result of secretion of sex hormones-like androgens and estrogens. Sex need is not essential for the survival of the individual, but it is essential for the survival of the species. However, fulfillment of the sex need is not like satisfying hunger or thirst.
The society and the law exercise certain codes of conduct. Human being has to adhere to these rules. Usually this need is fulfilled through marriage.
i. Maternal drive:
This is an instinct or an inborn tendency. Every normal woman aspires to become a mother. Psychologists have
Motivation, Emotion and Attitudinal Processes 123 learnt from related studies that, this is a most powerful drive. That is why in many cases the women who cannot bear children of their own, will sublimate that motive and satisfy it through socially acceptable ways, like working in orphan schools, baby sittings or adopting other’s children.
II) Social Motives:
Physiological motives discussed above pertain to both animals as well as human beings, but the social motives are specific only to human beings. These are called social motives, because they are learnt in social groups as a result of interaction with the family and society. That is why their strength differs from one individual to another. Many social motives are recognised by psychologists. Some of the common social motives are:
a. Achievement motive:
Achievement motivation refers to a desire to achieve some goal. This motive is developed in the individual who has seen some people in the society attaining high success, reaching high positions and standards.
He/she develops a concern to do better, to improve performance. David C Mc Clelland who conducted a longitudinal study on characteristics of high and low achievers found that the high achievers choose and perform better at challenging tasks, prefers personal responsibility, seeks and utilizes feedback about the performance standard, having innovative ideas to improve performance.
On the other hand, low achievers do not accept challenges, puts on average standards and accepts failures easily. Parents must try to inculcate leadership qualities in children for better achievement in their future life.
They must allow children to take decisions independently, and guide them for higher achievement from the childhood, so that the children develop high achievement motivation.
b. Aggressive motive:
It is a motive to react aggressively when faced frustrations. Frustration may occur when a person is obstructed from reaching a goal or when he is insulted by others. Even in a fearful and dangerous do or die situation the individual may resort to aggressive behaviour. Individual expresses such behaviour to overcome opposition forcefully, which may be physical or verbal aggression.
c. Power motive:
People with power motive will be concerned with having an impact on others. They try to influence people by their reputation. They expect people to bow their heads and obey their instructions.
Usually people with high power motive choose jobs, where they can exert their powers. They want people as followers. They expect high prestige and recognition from others. For example, a person may aspire to go for jobs like Police Officer, Politician, Deputy Commissioner, etc.
d. Acquisitive motive:
This motive directs the individual for the acquisition of material property. It may be money or other property. This motive arises as we come across different people who have earned a lot of money and leading a good life. It is a human tendency to acquire all those things which appear attractive to him.
e. Curiosity motive:
This is otherwise called stimulus and exploration motive. Curiosity is a tendency to explore and know new things. We see people indulge in a travelling to look at new places, new things and new developments taking place outside their environment.
People want to extend their knowledge and experiences by exploring new things. Curiosity motive will be very powerful during childhood. That is why they do not accept any toy or other articles unless they examine them from different angles, even at the cost of spoiling or breaking the objects.
This is also known as affiliation need. Gregariousness is a tendency to associate oneself with other members of the group or same species. The individual will be interested in establishing, maintaining and repairing friendly relationships and will be interested in participating in group activities.
Individual will conform to social norms, mores and other ethical codes of the groups in which he/she is interested. To the greater extent gregariousness is developed because many of the needs like basic needs, safety and security needs are fulfilled.
In addition to the above there are some other social motives like need for self-esteem, social approval, self-actualization, autonomy, master motive, combat, defense, abasement, etc.
III) Personal Motives:
In addition to the above said physiological and social motives, there are some other motives which are allied with both of the above said motives. These are highly personalized and very much individualized motives. The most important among them are:
a. Force of habits:
We see different people having formed different habits like chewing tobacco, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. There may be good habits also like regular exercising, reading newspapers, prayers, meditations, etc. Once these habits are formed, they act as drivers and compel the person to perform the act. The specialty of habits is that, they motivate the individual to indulge in that action automatically.
b. Goals of life:
Every normal individual will have some goals in the life. They may be related to education, occupation, income, sports, acquisition of property, public service, social service, etc. Once a goal is set, he will be motivated to fulfil that goal. The goals people set, depend upon various factors like knowledge, information, guidance, support, personality, facilities available, aspirations, family and social background, etc.
c. Levels of aspirations:
Aspiration is aspiring to achieve or to get something or a goal. But such achievement depends upon the level of motivation the individual has. Every individual will have a goal in his life and strive to reach that goal. But the effort to attain that goal varies from one individual to another. The amount of satisfaction he gains depends upon his level of aspiration.
For example, if a student is expecting 80% of marks in examination, gets only 75%, he may be unhappy. On the other hand, a student expecting failure may feel very happy if he gets just 35% passing marks, because, the student with high level of aspiration works hard, whereas the student with low level may not.
Hence, always higher level of aspiration is advisable. However, it should be on par with his abilities also. Because, if an individual aspires for higher level of achievement without possessing required ability, he will have to face frustration and disappointment.
d. Attitudes and interests:
Our attitudes and interests determine our motivation. These are specific to individual. For example, a person within the family, may have positive attitude towards family planning and all others having negative attitudes.
So also, interests differ from one individual to another. Example, interest in sports, T.V, etc. Whenever we have a positive attitude, we will have motivation to attain. In negative attitude, we will be motivated to avoid. If a person is interested in music, he will be motivated to learn it. In this way, our personal motives determine our behaviour.
Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist has explained elaborately about unconscious motivation. According to him, there are certain motives of which we are unaware, because they operate from our unconscious.
These motives or desires which are repressed by our conscious remain in our unconscious and will be influencing our behaviour.
Our irrational behaviour, the slip of tongue, slip of pen, amnesia, multiple personality, somnambulism, etc., are some examples of such behaviours for which we do not have answers apparently.
These motives can be delineated only by psychoanalysis. Many times psychosomatic disorders like paralysis, headaches, gastric ulcers, etc., also may be due to unconscious motivation.